#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Spielberg 2014 – #AustrianGP

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)


[For those who are new to the page; TJ13 attempts to remove certain aspects of the race to give a fairer reflection of the race result.]

Hamilton owned Friday, Massa + Williams owned Saturday and Rosberg took the honours on Sunday when it really mattered.  His Championship lead is now over a race wins worth of points over his teammate as they head to the Briton’s home Grand Prix.  Those who complain about the poor qualifying or slow pit stops costing Hamilton need to re-watch the race.  Rosberg won the race in lap 7-11 where he dropped well over 2 seconds behind Valtteri Bottas, forcing Hamitlon close to 4 seconds behind the Finn.  A shrewd move by Rosberg, who dropped far further back from the Williams pair than necessary, which begs the question; was this on purpose?  To my mind, the answer is an unequivocal yes!

With rumours starting to circle about the future of Sebastian Vettel, the British Grand Prix will be important for so many reasons for the Milton Keynes based team.  While the team was not fancied at the somewhat ironically name ‘Red Bull Ring’, Alain Prost summed it up perfectly when interviewed by Simon Lazenby and TJ13 favourite Johnny Herbert saying, “it’s ok to lose, just not in this manner.”  There are no points handed out for non-finishers – The flares have been seen shooting out from Boulogne-Billancourt.  This is an SOS.

And finally, the weekend for Nico Hulkenberg was summed up perfectly by being passed on the final lap by Daniel Ricciardo.  As if being beaten by his teammate, who started down in 15th place, was not bad enough he was beaten by a Renault powered car who was not allowed to use his ‘overtake button’ boost for the fears of what it would do to the power-train.  The highly rated young German has some soul searching to do as he looks to stop the rot in his results.  He has enjoyed success there previously in GP2 with a 3rd and 5th placed finishes, but has never finished higher than 10th there in Formula One.  Can this be the year he improves on that?

So what really happened?

Sebastian Vettel:Guys, I have no power” are probably the words that every engineer never wants to hear on the second lap of a Grand Prix.  The team had told the German to switch off the engine, and so there would not have been many who were more surprised to hear of the return of the power 75 seconds later.  Renault have some homework to do away from the media frenzy that surrounds them currently.  Vettel is reinstated to 10th place.

Daniil Kvyat: The impressive rookie had been running ahead of Ricciardo for much of his race until his suspension seemed to give way on him before turn 3.  All signs had been looking good for him until that incident, so he is reinstated to 7th place.

The retirement "baffled" the team

The retirement “baffled” the team

Esteban Gutierrez: Peter Sauber must be singing ‘Why does it always rain on me?’ – as the poor finishes continued for the Swiss team.  What had looked to be a better weekend for the team soon turned sour as Gutierrez was compromised in the pit stop and then further penalised with a 10 second stop-and-go penalty. To compound the misery he will take a 10 place grid penalty at Silverstone, which will almost certainly see him start in 22nd place (barring other driver penalties).  It was a weekend of bad luck for the Mexican, who is moved up to 17th place.

Jean-Eric Vergne: Once again the Frenchman retires in unfortunate circumstances with his front left brake overheating.  Even though he is enjoying his best season so far with the Faenza based team, the looming prospect of being replaced, possibly before the season is over, must be weighing heavy on his mind.  Having been running ahead of Adrian Sutil before retiring he is reinstated to 15th place.

Daniel Ricciardo: The man from Perth had caught Nico Hulkenberg and was only 0.54 seconds behind on lap 58 of the 71.  If he had not overtaken, he would have been moved up on here.  On a day where he was permitted to use the overtake button, perhaps he would have caught Magnussen as well, however, this is largely speculative so he remains in position.

The Verdict
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start RevisedPosition
1 Nico Rosberg = 25 = 3 1
2 Lewis Hamilton = 18 = 9 2
3 Valtteri Bottas = 15 = 2 3
4 Felipe Massa = 12 = 1 4
5 Fernando Alonso = 10 = 4 5
6 Sergio Perez = 8 = 15 6
7 Daniil Kvyat RETIRED 6 +6 7 7
8 Kevin Magnussen -1 4 -2 6 8
9 Daniel Ricciardo -1 2 -2 5 9
10 Sebastian Vettel RETIRED 1 +1 12 10
11 Nico Hulkenberg -2 0 -2 10 11
12 Kimi Raikkonen -2 0 = 8 12
13 Jenson Button -2 0 = 11 13
14 Pastor Maldonado -2 0 = 13 14
15 Jean-Eric Vergne RETIRED 0 = 14 15
16 Adrian Sutil -3 0 = 16 16
17 Esteban Gutierrez +2 0 = 17 17
18 Romain Grosjean -4 0 = 22 18
19 Jules Bianchi -4 0 = 20 19
20 Kamui Kobayashi -4 0 = 19 20
21 Max Chilton -4 0 = 21 21
22 Marcus Ericsson -4 0 = 20 22


Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Lewis Hamilton 1 179 +43
Nico Rosberg 2 165 =
Daniel Ricciardo 3 81 -5
Sebastian Vettel 4 73 +13
Fernando Alonso 5 64 -15
Felipe Massa 6 48 +18
Valtteri Bottas 7 42 -13
Nico Hulkenberg 8 39 -20
Kimi Raikkonen 9 29 +11
Sergio Perez 10 26 -2
Jenson Button 11 23 -20
Kevin Magnussen 12 19 -10
Daniil Kvyat 13 10 +6
Jean-Eric Vergne 14 8 =
Romain Grosjean 15 4 -4
Jules Bianchi 16 0 -2
Adrian Sutil 17 0 =
Esteban Gutierrez 18 0 =
Kamui Kobayashi 19 0 =
Max Chilton 20 0 =
Marcus Ericsson 21 0 =
Pastor Maldonado 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

Had there been the predicted 75% chance of a safety car come true then Romain Grosjean’s strategy could have worked and masked some of the blushes of the Renault representatives.  As it was, this was not the case and he enjoyed an afternoon of trundling around at the back of the field.

Both Toro Rosso cars retiring saved JEV from once again being thrust into the spotlight as his young Russian teammate outshone him again this weekend.  The relaxed approach from Kvyat impressed many at the Austin Grand Prix last year as he was immediately quick in a Formula One car.  It appears the confidence was warranted as he is showing why he deserved the second Toro Rosso drive that Antonio Felix da Costa had looked likely to take.

Pastor Maldonado seemed to be a different driver this weekend.  He drove a sensible race to finish in 12th position as he kept his nose clean, even if it was in rather unspectacular circumstances.  Some time away from the limelight will be good for the Venezuelan as he still awaits his first points this year.

Quote of the Day

Richard Branson is a man who needs no introduction.  The business magnate has pushed the limits in both business and record chasing, realising there is more to a business than just profit sheets and bank balances.

The "Screw it, let's do it" attitude could be used more in Formula One

The “Screw it, let’s do it” attitude could be used more in Formula One

He said, “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”  The clear recognition here is of how brand image is essential for continued development and success.

Even if it was not such a successful weekend for his cars on track, Dietrich Mateschitz enjoyed a first return for his investment in the Austrian race track with a record crowd on the race day to highlight how successful the weekend had been.  The Red Bull brand stretches far and wide around the world and this was another example of creativity.

By bringing the race back to Austria under the guise as the ‘Red Bull Ring’ he showed how a Grand Prix weekend can be taken as an advertising opportunity to demonstrate a positive image of a brand.  So where next can this idea be copied around the world?  India, South Korea, New Jersey, Mexico, Argentina and many more all could be potential candidates.

5 responses to “#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Spielberg 2014 – #AustrianGP

  1. Meh, all this what if pondering is useless (but somehow fun). It can go either way and the scenarios presented are equally speculative and do not have much use.

    What if DK had lost controle and stopped on track causing a yellow flag? All this would/could have been blown away. Or what if Kimi hadn’t been told to pit so late? And on and on…

  2. “So where next can this idea be copied around the world?”

    Slow down. Who else has a Didi Mateschitz, who can not only buy, tear down and rebuild a Formula 1 track and then even pay Ecclestone’s fee? He said in a recent interview with an Austrian magazine, that the income from spectators (280,000 tickets were sold for the weekend, I believe) would only cover the organizational fees alone and that anything else would need to come out of his own pocket.

    You mention countries like India, South Korea, New Jersey, Mexico or Argentina in the article, but from those, only Mexico sounds doable. Even Carlos Slim, one of the richest men alive, has acted more as a driver sponsor promoting his telecom company in the process, than anything else. With the kind of wealth the Slim family has access to, the guy could buy, run and finance the whole Formula 1 for a decade or two – but he doesn’t do it, because he’s a) very smart and b) obviously not so big a fan to still recognize reality.

    Frankly, going back to countries with some classic grand prix tracks can only work if the F1 promoters (whether that’s Ecclestone or someone else) start being realistic about it again. The bit about a new contract for the Canada Grand Prix sounds a great first step, but one has to wonder how that will impact the income streams for the teams in the long run. They have only begun to earn so much money in large part because Ecclestone was able to negotiate some amazing deals.

    I’m curious how that will develop in the next couple of years. If the F1 promoters are willing to accept cheaper contracts in the future, we may yet see some amazing tracks come back. I’d love nothing more.

    • I think that FOM may marginally reduced the hosting free but add some more races, I believe the teams all signed up to a maximum of 25 races, so that could allow for at least a 15% reduction of the hosting fee and escalator clauses without harming the total income from this area.

    • Hi Dan,
      I was in Mexico city around 3 weeks ago and they told me at the circuit they would be redeveloping a large proportion of it in the coming months. There is still a lot of work to be done there, but it will be fantastic when it does eventually come back. The only thing I can say in response to the Carlos Slim comment, is having lived over there and seen how he operates all his businesses, he will want to run the race as near to (or at) a profit as possible. This is same reason many people feel Gutierrez’s days in Formula One are numbered as Slim needs to see a return for the investment. (Gutierrez comes from Monterrey, which is already by far the richest city in Mexico needing less promotion. Checo Perez is from Guadalajara which requires further investment to keep pace with other parts of the country, which is why you will often see his caps sporting the word ‘Jalisco’, which is his home state in the Republic.)

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