Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 20th June 2014

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FP1 report from the Red Bull Ring

F1 arrives in the hills

Perez and the penalty – updated 18:00

Project DRS

FIA vows to ease driver penalties (GMM)

Hockenheim looks safe

A bright spark

Karthikeyan – gone but not forgotten

FP2 report from the Red Bull Ring


FP1 report from the Red Bull Ring

Brought to you by on-track reporter Adam Macdonald

Nico RosbregThe colder temperatures meant a slippery return to Spielberg as the drivers struggled for grip around the renovated circuit. The excitement built as grandstands were starting to fill as more Austrian fans poured into the complex anticipating the return of Formula One. They were rewarded for their early start as immediately the two Mercedes drivers took advantage of an empty track to get a few sighter laps in. Starting by setting times in the 1:18s, the times soon tumbled as the tyres came into the correct working temperature range and the drivers found the grip on the track.

Nico Rosberg donned the titanium skid blocks which are being tested this weekend to see if they can help to improve the show. The initial reaction was negative from both commentators and fans on twitter. Perhaps it will be something we are forced to get used to.

The first driver to run wide at turn 3, as Anthony Davidson had predicted would be an area of difficulty, was Felipe Massa as he took to the grass missing his entry point. Track evolution is expected to have a great effect this weekend, as long as there is not strong rain tonight or Saturday to wash away the laid down rubber. Given that the best car on display, the Mercedes, found the conditions challenging it shows how hard it was for the drivers.

After a brief dive into the pits for a reset of the electrical systems Nico Rosberg was able to re-join the session without losing too track time. It was reportedly a problem with his ERS-H cooling system that caused the system shutdown. Due to the altitude of the track – 700m above sea level – there is expected to be less turbo drop-off this weekend (compared to naturally aspirated engines), although cooling for the turbos is expected to be much more difficult – especially if following another car in ‘dirty’ air. On this occasion though for Rosberg, it was a lucky escape with not too much time lost.
There was no such luck for Marcus Ericsson who was forced out of the session with a complete electronics failure after completing just 8 laps. The woes for the green team continued as the Swede leaped from his car, not taking any chances with ERS system failure. More vital setup team lost which the team can ill afford as they look to catch the teams ahead of them. One bit of solace for them is the Marussia cars also struggled during the first hour of the session.

At the 30 minute mark into the session there was the usual lull which follows surrendering your firs tyres of the weekend. Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets with a 1:12.255, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg. All drivers back to 11th position were into the 1 minute 12s, as grip continued to come at a premium at the Red Bull Ring.

Kevin Magnussen, who together with Daniil Kvyat, were the last drivers to go around the Red Bull Ring in race trim last year. It was the Dane who was the first to venture out in the final hour of the session, going second fastest soon after. Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button then proceeded to set times first and second as the Mercedes powertrained cars started to flex their muscles.

As rain threatened to disrupt the session, many took the opportunity to dive into the pits and wait for it all to blow over. One who did not do so was Sebastian Vettel doing a 720 degree spin on the pit straight, exciting the fans with 27 minutes to go in the session. The astroturf into the final corner causing problems for the German World Champion. Amazingly, the car was fine even though some recovery time was needed to get the tyres cleaned up and back up to temperature.

Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjeana and Daniel Ricciardo had interesting moments as they all hunted for the grip around the circuit. Grosjean’s run wide a consequence of picking up dirt which Vettel’s off had deposited on the track.

With 19 minutes to go, all drivers elected to retreat to the safety of the pits as the rain started to come down harder. This had already caught out Rosberg moments before going into turn 2, where he took to then asphalt run off area to avoid flat-spotting the tyres as Valtteri Bottas had done previously.
Hamilton and Alonso both improved to go 2nd and 3rd, but there was little other change throughout the timing sheets. The higher wind speeds – now at 10mph – coupled with a greasy circuit made for some safe driving from all drivers. One area of extreme caution was the final turn where the astroturf had soaked up some of the rain from earlier making it an extremely dangerous traction point. Should the rain come down in the race it could be an area we see many incidents on Sunday.

Almost the entirety of the field got out in the final minutes to test the tyre wear in the lower temperatures, apart from one notable exception. Rosberg was forced to stay in as a change of cooling pump was required before FP2. Is this a consequence of the troubles the Mercedes cars experienced in Canada?

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:11.295 19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.435 0.140 32
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:11.606 0.311 23
4 Felipe Massa Williams 1:11.756 0.461 27
5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:11.839 0.544 33
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1:12.009 0.714 33
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:12.072 0.777 20
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:12.114 0.819 21
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:12.313 1.018 36
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:12.364 1.069 30
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:12.365 1.070 21
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:12.372 1.077 35
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:12.570 1.275 28
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:12.984 1.689 29
15 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:12.988 1.693 25
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.168 1.873 28
17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:13.642 2.347 27
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:13.738 2.443 26
19 Max Chilton Marussia 1:13.857 2.562 28
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:14.611 3.316 24
21 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:14.691 3.396 9
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:17.501 6.206 8

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So there is not too much to decipher from the first session here. The Mercs were predictably on top, with an extremely tight midfield lending itself to a tightly contested Grand Prix on Sunday (hopefully). Sutil and Ericsson ran into trouble, but for the rest, there is all to play for!

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F1 arrives in the hills

The F1 steam train arrived in town, and here are a few pictures from Thursday…

Here is what the Lotus twitter had to say for itself…

The support for the Grand Prix return is strong…

First signs from Spielberg are good!

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Perez and the penalty

As TJ13 predicted last week, the controversy surrounding Checo Perez and his penalty for causing a collision in Canada has continued. The last lap incident which saw the Force India man and Felipe Massa of Williams skid into the barriers has been dragged to the surface once more as ‘new evidence’ has come to the surface.

We will update the page should his grid penalty be changed or revoked!

What do you think TJ13 readers? Was the penalty just?

Update:

While Force India submitted telemetry to prove Perez did not change his steering angle  and the driver stated he took the same line as the previous lap he will have to serve his 5 place grid penalty.

That was the decision after Austrian stewards listened to Perez give his side of the story. While Perez maintained he was within his rights to defend his position and use the whole track to do so, stewards dismissed his claim as the defence occurred in the breaking area which was against regulations.

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Project DRS

Now into it’s 4th year of existence, the DRS (Drag Reduction System) has by most accounts been a success with a only a few minor glitches or teething issues where it has been either too useful or not useful enough. These places have since been adjusted (or are still being perfected – read Canada) to optimise the DRS zones.

It seems that common sense is often forgotten in Formula One as many will remember how when DRS was first introduced, there was only ever 1 zone at races, which allowed for time to see how much of a need there was at a circuit. So it really begs the question as to why there are 2 DRS zones this weekend at a track where overtaking did not come at a premium in an era when it was much more rare occurrence?

Was there really such a need for 2 DRS zones?

Was there really such a need for 2 DRS zones?

The FIA had the opportunity to take the brave, and arguably more sensible option to only have 1 DRS zone this year and see how that affected the race. They could have been even more brave and totally prohibited it at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.

Sunday will be the time we see if that would have been the correct decision, but it seems the opportunity to do something bold has been passed on.

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FIA vows to ease driver penalties (GMM)

A big talking point in Austria on Thursday was the continuing feud between Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. The pair crashed and ended their Canadian grand prix in hospital, where the real dispute began.

I said that it was dangerous,” recalled Massa, “and that he needs to learn, but he just turned and left. I will not trust him anymore, definitely not.

The FIA, however, has agreed to revisit the issue of Perez’s five-place grid penalty for the Austrian grand prix, because the Mexican was still in hospital when he should have been interviewed by the Montreal stewards.

But it is on the very issue of driver penalties that F1 is about to turn a sharp corner. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the FIA has acknowledged that the readiness with which penalties are given to drivers is beginning to affect their motivation to battle wheel-to-wheel.

The plan,” confirmed race director Charlie Whiting in Austria, “is that only serious and unequivocal violations will be punished from now.

He clarified, however, that F1 is not making actual rule changes.

It’s just a different approach,” said Whiting. “The teams have promised not to bombard us with every little thing during the race. And we will take the liberty to close cases (before they are investigated by the stewards) on the basis of how serious we regard it to be. And if we do initiate an investigation, there will be a clear culprit.

So there will be significantly more cases that could be judged as a ‘normal racing incident‘.”

Whiting said that the case of Perez and Massa’s heavy crash in Montreal, for example, would most certainly still be sent to the stewards for investigation.

But we want to issue a penalty only when the question of guilt is absolutely clear. In this case, we might conclude that it was a racing incident, because the guilt of one of the drivers is not 100 per cent,” he said.

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Hockenheim looks safe

This week we’ve seen the machinations of Ecclestone’s wheeler dealer antics in full view. Divide and conquer is the master plan.

Nurburgring/Ecclestone leak that they are in negotiations to hold the German GP for 5 years starting in 2015 – this despite the Nurburgring officials being unable to contract to F1 before January 2015.

Hockenheim are horrified as they have a contract for 2016 and 2018. Circuit boss Georg Seiler is adamant, “We have a contract. And it has no exit clause.” Yet 2 days ago Ecclestone was publicaly quoted as suggesting he was prepared to breach the agreement with Hockenheim.

TJ13 commented at the time that as part of Mr. E’s current dash to sign race promoter’s, the most likely scenario was that at least every other year – there may be 2 races in Germany, albeit only one called the German GP.

Having suggested that FOM may terminate Hockenheim’s deal, Ecclestone has now withdrawn from this position telling Rhein Zeitung, “We respect the contract with Hockenheim. We will comply with the agreements we have.”

Is it any wonder the large manufacturers don’t want to play F1 games? Ecclestone is in the news every week for one thing or another – and mostly never good news stories. The persistent double dealing and seedy image he brings to the sport is enough to turn off any global automotive brand thinking of climbing into the same bed.

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A bright spark

Some of the most creative minds on planet earth work in Formula 1 and the quest to entice the viewers back to the sport continues.

Following their “megaphone” exhaust offering to increase the volume of the cars, Mercedes are now to demonstrate another solution to the fan engagement perceived problem in Free Practice today, along with Ferrari.

Some of the iconic F1 photograph’s, (Mansell Senna Adelaide) and video footage see the F1 cars of yesteryear showering sparks across the track as the bottom out. This all ended when the metal plates underneath the car were replaced by wooden ones as per the regulations.

Well today, Rosberg and Raikkonen will have titanium plates fitted to the floor of their cars so we can assess the thrill factor of the showers of sparks returning to F1.

Oh, and by the way… Ferrari have a suggestion for improved exhaust sounds too which they will run at the Silverstone test. It is a “two pipe” solution, though little about the sonic manipulations has been revealed.

It could in fact be one of those boy racer two tone horns in disguise – you never know in F1 these days…

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Karthikeyan – gone but not forgotten

Thanks to some comments by Anthony Davidson earlier in the session, on the SKYF1 coverage, the moving traffic cone Narain Karthikeyan took to twitter to demonstrate his view in a comical manner. It says a lot that someone who left the sport so long ago is so publicly damning of the Venezuelan’s race craft.

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FP2 report from the Red Bull Ring

The first man out on track for the warmer 18 degree Free Practice 2 session was Marcus Ericsson, to set a 1:18.198. He wasn’t taking any risks given the lost time earlier in the day and neither was Adrian Sutil, who had also spent most of the morning in the Sauber hospitality tent. The lap times soon tumbled as the drivers once again got used to track conditions getting down towards the times we had seen earlier 10 minutes into the session.

The higher wind speeds seemed to be causing the drivers problems as well as the new for 2013 brake-by-wire systems. As the wind speeds lowered, Alonso set the fastest time of the day to become the first driver into the 1:10s, soon followed by Rosberg and Hamilton, with the Briton going 0.06 slower than his German teammate. Hamilton then followed that up with a 1:10.460 to go 0.375 quicker than Rosberg in third and Bottas who had stuck himself in second. Rosberg had then been on a faster lap until he dived into the pits just before the hour mark.

A late arrival from the Red Bulls was all part of the run plan as they slotted into 6th and 7th positions on the timing board. Only the backmarking cars were out on track during the half hour mark, as the track continued to evolve as the dark clouds loomed large over the track. They soon passed in time for the other cars to strap the ‘option’ tyre for the weekend, the supersofts, as Hamilton was the first man down to 1:09.652 as Rosberg seemed to make an error with his flying lap.

Lewis Hamilton - AustrianGP 2014Hamilton’s second flying lap was even faster as once again Rosberg made an error, going off the track in the final sector with a lack of balance seemingly. In a rather comical radio transmission, Daniel Ricciardo was reminded of the importance to breathe between turns. With a fairly predictable top 10, with the McLarens having shown signs of improvement to both be in there, all pitted to refuel, rest and get ready for the long runs.

Nothing too major came in from the long-runs apart from Jenson Button struggled with “the same problem experienced in Canada.” The rain that had threatened for so long never came with around 15 minutes to go in the session. Vettel switched, as others followed him onto the soft ‘prime’ tyre, wanting to gain confidence on the other compound.

Overall, the Mercedes pair looked ominous as the Williams pair chewed through their rear tyres. For most this will be a two-stop race, with only the extremely brave risking a one-stop. Rosberg was frustrated by the team not telling him about a test item on the car – with an uncharacteristic radio message from him. The day has provided a fairly mixed field and not the noah’s ark grid we have seen previously. All signs from Austria so far are positive!

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:09.542 37
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:09.919 0.377 50
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:10.470 0.928 40
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:10.519 0.977 44
5 Felipe Massa Williams 1:10.521 0.979 39
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:10.807 1.265 39
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:10.813 1.271 44
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:10.920 1.378 36
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:10.936 1.394 45
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:10.972 1.430 39
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:10.974 1.432 45
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:11.261 1.719 45
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:11.296 1.754 36
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:11.491 1.949 42
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:11.765 2.223 30
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:11.806 2.264 42
17 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:11.935 2.393 39
18 Max Chilton Marussia 1:12.229 2.687 43
19 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:12.262 2.720 46
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:12.279 2.737 36
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:12.937 3.395 24
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:13.596 4.054 48

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27 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 20th June 2014

  1. Common sense and F1 doesn’t seem to go hand in hand. I’m here watching free practice and this talk about adding skid blocks to the cars so as to increase the show, is just ridiculous. Do they really think that seeing sparks will make everyone happy? While they’re at it, why not just put Christmas lights on the cars as well.

  2. “Was the penalty just?”
    No – it was a racing incident, two charges fighting for position. Unless there is more I have not seen, one tries to cover the inside, the other overtakes. Isn’t this what racing is all about, the risk is that sometimes they will touch. Just thankful the cars and tracks are much safer than they used to be.

  3. It impresses me the way Toto Wolff always tries to fool the viewers in interviews that Mercedes aren’t just skipping their way to the constructors title.

  4. The management of Formula One is a total joke. The double points rule and now they’re on about standing starts after a SC period from 2015….Someone get these total and utter w******s out of control of this sport. Preferably you Judge…

  5. * MORE F1 LUNACY ……. *

    Formula 1 is set for standing starts from the grid following safety cars in 2015, AUTOSPORT can reveal.

    Following discussions between teams about ways to improve the show, one idea that has gained momentum in recent weeks is to overhaul the way that races resume after caution periods.

    There is a consensus that the current rolling restarts with the leader dictating the pace do not provide enough excitement.

    Sources have revealed that during this week’s F1 Commission meeting at Biggin Hill, a proposal to scrap the current format for 2015 and change it to grid starts after safety cars was approved.

    The idea is that from next year, once lapped cars have been allowed to unlap themselves, cars will form up on the grid once a safety car period has ended.

    There will then be the same procedure of a standing start as happens at the beginning of races.

    The hope is that there will be more chance of positions changing, with the spectacle of a standing start producing more drama than rolling starts do.

    The rule change still needs to be ratified at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Munich next week, but this will be a formality now that the F1 Commission has backed it.

    WTF ??????

    • I read that earlier as well….

      So isn’t there also the chance that there’ll be more accidents with a standing restart?…this is just getting from bad to worse now with all this artificial ideas.

        • They’ve got to be. Because if they think the public, the very same public they’re trying to bring back to the sport, will just sit and accept being spoon feed all this nonsense, then they’re not very smart people.

  6. More overtaking, yet more penalties for collisions.
    It seems to me that DRS zones are not enough in F1 any more. It now appears that unless you let any driver pass you at any time you run the risk of “causing a collision” and being penalised in the next race for it.
    Yes there are safety concerns withing the sport, but these drivers are human and the real beauty of human beings is that they are prone to mistakes. Isn’t this what makes F1 thrilling? Watching drivers pressuring one another until someone makes a mistake and the other capitalises, rather than fabricated overtaking zones that only result in a predetermined outcome?
    Over the past few years I have seen the stewards turn racing incidents into punishments far too often and I honestly believe it is spoiling F1. Just three questions needed, for me, to judge the outcome of that particular incident:
    1) Was it an unecessary gamble that resulted in the incident (ie nothing to gain or very unlikely to pay off)
    2) Anything to gain from the incident (win a world championship etc)
    3) Repeat offense (it looks like it has become a habit)
    For me the answer to all three is “no” and this should equate to no penalty.

  7. THE SOUND OF F1

    ” Oh, and by the way… Ferrari have a suggestion for improved exhaust sounds too which they will run at the Silverstone test. It is a “two pipe” solution, though little about the sonic manipulations has been revealed. ”

    On Sky – Martin Brundle said from behind the cars sounded great, and that if FOM ” capture ” this sound, there would be no complaints …..

    So instead of Ferrari’s ludicrous twin pipe idea – which I’m sure has more to do with them gaining performance, than improving things for the spectators / viewers –

    Why don’t they just fit microphones under the rear wing ?

    Simples 😀

      • Deffo on the side exits. I saw some tin top racing recently and was struck by the directionality of the exhaust noise. Side pipes would amplify the noise for spectators and TV microphones.

      • ” side exit exhausts ”

        which of course no one is going to try and use as blown diffusers …..

        eh ?

        • Didn’t Lotus try something like that a few seasons ago and it failed miserably?

          I’m not 100% sure it was Lotus or Sauber, maybe you’ll remember which team it was.

          • Lotus

            with the forward exhausts exiting at the front of the sidepods …..

            maybe r.bartlett & RogerD don’t want Ade to leave F1 ?

          • Worked well at the start of the season – it got Petrov onto the podium, so imagine what Kubica could have done… he was topping testing times before his accident. But where it fell down was in that it could not be developed much further throughout the year, so it looked like Renault/Lotus went backwards.

  8. Martin Brundle’s interview with Helmut Marko this weekend, should make for some very entertaining viewing, it might be more exciting than the race itself.

  9. Looks like Narain is driving in the old Japanese F3000 this year, now called Super Formula (fan poll renaming).

    Bring on the European GP with Hockenheim backed with Magny Cours… Nurb laughing all the way to the bank at reclaiming the ‘German GP’ title.. unless we have German/European and French/European each year..

  10. I somehow have very few memories of the old course. I know it has been emasculated, but it surely provided a very entertaining FP1 and FP2 ! one of the very few current F1 circuits I would love to have a proper go on. and the setting is about as good as it gets…
    I don’t know whether it is the World feed or Sky, but they finally got the TV sound right on! I cannot attest to the live sound, but the tele was great. it pretty much would have been a total non-issue had the broadcasts been done like this since Australia.

  11. Does anyone know how much boost the cars arerunning this year? I don’t think it’s limited by the regs, but the max fuel flow and chemistry / stoichiometry would set a limit of sorts.

    • Boost is unlimited by the regs but effectively is limited to 3.0 – 3.5 bar by fuel flow.

    • Mid 80’s turbo engines were using, especially during qualifying, near 6.0 bar.

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