Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 18th July 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

The #F1 Bar Exam: 17 July 2014


OTD Lite – 1976 – Hunt wins riotous British Grand Prix

Charlie says….

Williams reserve drivers Felipe Nasr interviewd

McLaren change stirs up Hamilton, Alonso rumours (GMM)

F1 in shock as plane crash piles doubt on Russia GP (GMM)

FRIC Free German GP

German GP: FP1 report

German GP: FP2 report


OTD Lite – 1976 – Hunt wins riotous British Grand Prix

Britain in 1976 was having a heat wave that would become legendary. To this day it is unlikely any other British summer has been comparable. “Gran Bretagne” had won the Eurovision song contest and James Hunt, the caddish darling of the British public was sticking it up ’em to Johnny Foreigner.

The season was proving a titanic struggle between Mclaren and Ferrari with disqualifications causing tension between the two camps. The 1976 British Grand Prix began with a collison between the two scarlet machines that led to a race stoppage but Hunt had been caught in the melee and driven back via a shortcut to the pits.

The rules were unambiguous – he had not completed the lap and would not be allowed to restart. Except the 1,000’s of English supporters made themselves heard, acting like the typical tifosi and throwing rubbish on the track. The organisers had little choice and started the race with Hunt in the field. Lauda led until lap 45 when his transmission began to fail and Hunt passed and took victory from the wily Austrian.

It was in September following a protest from not only Ferrari but also Tyrrell and Copersucar that Hunt was disqualified for contravening red flag rules.

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Charlie says….

Today we conclude the TJ13 series which has sought to bring to F1 fans the mind of FIA Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department.

Lewis Hamilton is the latest driver to express reservations about the proposed standing restart following a safety car period. When asked in a Mercedes Q&A, whether he was in favour of the proposal, Lewis replied, “No not really, we’ll have to wait and see”.

No current F1 driver has come out in favour of this idea, and it appears they’ve not been consulted about it by the FIA.

Charlie is clear on the matter, “The teams pay their drivers and they are employees of the teams. I don’t think we would necessarily consult the drivers. We keep them informed about what’s going on but it’s really up to the teams to make sure that, if they need to engage their drivers in this decision-making process, to actually do so.

Whiting also dismisses the suggestion that the standing restart is unfair or unsafe.

“I have heard some drivers express concerns but I think we can allay those fears. Their first concern was in regard to fairness. They felt that a race leader was more likely to lose his lead from a standing start than he is from a rolling start. Equally, however, if you are in second place you might actually like the idea of being able to take the lead, which you probably wouldn’t do with a rolling start.

There was also some concern about taking a standing start on worn tyres. However, until you get to the point where there is a standing start, the safety car procedure will be exactly the same as before. As happens now any driver on worn tyres is likely to pit. If you’ve just made a pit stop then you probably wouldn’t do it, but anyone else will, as they will want to take the advantage of what is effectively a free stop. I think the chances of any driver resuming the race from a standing start on very badly worn tyres is very low. Those are the only concerns I’ve heard so far”.

Mmm. No mention of the marbles on the dirty side of the starting grid huh?

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Williams reserve drivers Felipe Nasr interviewd

060314---felipe-nasr-e-apresentado-como-piloto-de-testes-da-williams-para-2014-1396537091444_1920x1080Vittorio Alfieri of F1WEB.it conducted a short interview with Felipe Nasr recently. The Brazilian is currently racing in GP2 and lies second in the championship after scoring three victories and a handful of other podiums. In February he was announced as the Williams reserve driver and would be taking part in a few Friday test sessions.

Nasr also won the 2011 British Formula Three championship beating his team-mate – future Mclaren star Kevin Magnussen – by 123 points.

After the initial questions and answers about his GP2 season, Nasr was asked about how his relationship with the Williams drivers was. “It is a very good relationship with all of them. With Massa it’s easy to understand as we are both Brazilians, with Bottas it is also easy to comprehend as we are both young and with Susie we are both in the position of making our dream come true. I have huge respect for all of them and we all have to thanks Williams for the positive atmosphere.”

And what about your future with the team: “I will drive two or three more times during the Friday Practice this year and hopefully in one of the free tests as well. I can’t wait for it”.

The fans from your country are famous for the support they give to the Brazilian drivers. How much support do you receive?: “The Brazilian are treating me very, very well. The support back home is enormous and sincere and that gives you an extra push. Even being far away they are very important”.

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McLaren change stirs up Hamilton, Alonso rumours (GMM)

Deep into a second consecutive bad season for the grandee team, the changes at McLaren have begun. The most noticeable sign of the restructuring process at the Woking based team in Hockenheim is that Jenson Button – whose own future in grey is also under review – is working with a new race engineer. If Tom Stallard’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he won a silver medal rowing for Britain in the 2008 olympics. He replaces Dave Robson, who is heading for a factory-based job.

“It’s not about getting rid of people,” Button insists, “it’s moving people to better suited roles or making them feel refreshed. There are people who are being employed as well, because I think we need that.” The experienced British driver, however, hopes he is not involved in the McLaren reshuffles, as the team prepares for its works Honda era beginning next year.

Among the highest profile names linked with Button’s seat have been his former McLaren teammate, Lewis Hamilton, and another 2007 McLaren driver, Fernando Alonso. According to the Hamilton rumour, the highly-rated Briton might not want to stay at Mercedes in 2015 if his newly re-signed and now highly paid teammate Nico Rosberg is wearing the number ‘1’ on the silver car. Hamilton played a straight bat to the rumour at Hockenheim. “I’m very happy in the team and naturally I assume I’ll sit down with the bosses,” he said. “It’s very difficult for me to see myself anywhere else but you never know what the future may hold,” Hamilton added.

As for the Alonso rumour, the Spaniard is famous for being central to F1’s driver mill rumours, particularly since he began to show signs of frustration with his continuing struggle to win a title wearing Ferrari red. Alonso was at Maranello last week for simulator tests, but perhaps he also sat down with Marco Mattiacci and Luca di Montezemolo to talk about the future.

“I talk to the president and Mattiacci every day,” he said on Thursday. “There is no news in that regard. The same thing has always happened to me in July, probably since 2003. These questions about contracts, signings and extensions,” said Alonso. “I haven’t talked to any team, or anything of the sort. It’s not the priority.

TJ13 Comment: Martin Whitmarsh was running a Mclaren that enticed Honda back to Formula One. He was also leading a team that changed what was arguably the fastest car of 2012 into the donkey that failed so gloriously in 2013. Ron Dennis garnered support and came charging back to save the damsel in distress – except, unlike in the movies, teams don’t turn around in a matter of weeks.

It was inevitable that Mercedes would not entertain Japanese eyes pouring over their power unit and talk from Japan is that they are taking a steady approach to the new engine design. But whilst teams are ‘bigger’ than the drivers, the drivers only have a short career span and cannot afford to make mistakes in their search for glory.

Alonso is in a similar team-restructuring that Mclaren is under-going and would know well what Ferrari has planned. He would remember the problems he had with Dennis previously but he would also know that other than a fortuitous driver’s title in 2008 with Hamilton, they have not won anything of significance since Adrian Newey and Mika Hakkinen teamed up.

Hamilton? Whilst he would know the Mclaren team intimately, he’s in a dominant car and whatever his head is suggesting this week, he’s changeable and will be musing something different next week. Any driver of note will never run from a team because he can’t beat his team-mate, these competitive animals instinctively believe they are the best. Hamilton didn’t leave Mclaren because Button had beaten him in 2011, he left because he saw more potential elsewhere.

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F1 in shock as plane crash piles doubt on Russia GP (GMM)

The F1 paddock in Hockenheim has joined the rest of the world in shock at the terrible news emerging from violence-torn Ukraine. Almost 300 people are dead after a Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed, apparently after the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a missile fired by pro-Moscow Russian separatists.

The news has really got to me,” Sauber reserve driver Giedo van der Garde, a Dutchman, said on Twitter. “I’ve been on a MH flight from Amsterdam to KL often. Thoughts go out to everyone involved.” The shocking development will put more pressure on organisers of October’s inaugural Russian grand prix, who were already fending off rumours the deepening Crimean crisis could force the race’s cancellation.

At least 27 Australians were on the doomed flight MH17, and Australian federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has described their deaths as “murder”. Prime minister Tony Abbott, meanwhile, called on Russia to “fully cooperation in this investigation”, even though his counterpart Vladimir Putin is clearly blaming Ukraine.

Undoubtedly,” he said, “the state on whose territory this happened is responsible for this awful tragedy.”

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FRIC Free German GP

The FIA has confirmed that none of the teams will run the controversial FRIC [Front and Rear Interconnected] suspension system this weekend at the German Grand Prix.

The teams were issued with a technical directive from Charlie Whiting warning them that in his opinion the FRIC systems were illegal which raised the prospect of one or more teams being excluded from racing this weekend.

However, all the cars faced scrutineering yesterday and Jo Bauer, the FIA technical delegate confirmed, “For information purposes, I can confirm that no car is fitted with a front to rear linked suspension system of any sort,” in his technical report to the stewards.

When asked how he thought the removal of the FRIC systems would affect matters, a grinning Daniel Riciardo quipped, “We’ll fricking see.’

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German GP: FP1 report

This much anticipated weekend finally begins. The battle between the Mercedes drivers is closer than ever, the sun is scorching the Hockenheim asphalt and torturing the tyres, rumours abound in the driver market and there may just be some technical controversies coming our way as an aside.

Marcus Ericsson who was the first to venture out on track, with a car that was reminiscent of days gone by, as the new look Caterham was conspicuous by its lack of sponsors.

Following her disappointing outing in Silverstone FP1, which saw Susie Wolff complete just 4 laps before her Williams ground to a halt, Susie returned to pilot the resurgent Williams car and was out early on track – looking keen to go.

There was a calm after the installation laps until about 20 past the hour when K Magnussen set the fastest lap and simultaneously had a fairly big moment as the back end or the car snapped round on him. Yet with the aplomb reminiscent of any of the great Scandinavian rally drivers, Magnussen collected it up with ease and blasted on his way.

For the techies out there, Scarbs reported that Magnussen was sporting a new rear wing and explained the thinking behind it. “Rather than the gap between the two rear wing elements (in between Johnny and Walker) being straight, it is instead a wavy line. Also the wing’s endplate features two rows of strakes rising up their sides.

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The wavy slot gap forms serrated edges, and each creates a break in the airflow and the wings wake is broken into smaller vortices for less drag and lower pressure. The strakes at the side of the wing also create vortices to create lower pressure for more down force.

Teams have used serrated gurney flaps on rear wings before and Le Mans cars have exploited serrated slot gaps for similar reasons.”

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25 minutes gone and the first signs that Mercedes may be hurting from the loss of their FRIC system were evident. Within a minute of each other Rosberg was into the run-off area at turn 8, whilst a scrappy looking Lewis Hamilton locked up at Turn 2 and then took to some off circuit exploration the next lap at turn 6.

Hamilton then set 2 purple sectors on the next lap, but appears to quit on it. News emerged from the Ferrari garage that the increasingly unfortunate ‘Iceman’ hadn’t graced the track during the first 40 minutes, due to a leaking water pump.

With the first runs completed on the soft tyres, the order was Rosberg, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Button, Sutil, Vergne, Massa, Perez, Hulkenberg, Wolff, van der Garde, Kvyat, Grosjean, Maldonado, Hamilton, Kobayashi, Bianchi and Ericsson. Chilton and Raikkonen had yet to set a time.

Just short of the hour, Rosberg put in the fastest lap of the session, Jenson was second quickest – though some 8 tenth’s down – and Kimi emerges from the Ferrari garage. Lewis was languishing in 19th spot.

Many of the non-Mercedes cars were struggling to get the power down on the exit of the 180 degree Sach’s Kurve, but Alonso looked mighty there, lining it up the corner before and hanging out the rear end in an exhibition of high speed prototype car drifting.

With about 20 minutes of the session left, Hamilton’s engineer emphasised the recent problems Lewis has been having on the pit to car radio. “You have purple sectors in one and two, we just have to put the lap together.” Hamilton closed to within 0.065 seconds of team mate Nico Rosberg’s best effort.

Ricciardo once again popped in a time quicker than 4 time world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel, When asked earlier why he thought Seb’s car had been more troublesome than his own, the Aussie grinned telling the assembled masses, “I give mine a kiss every night……with tongues [pause]…………err I don’t really.”

The spectre of the Mercedes duo sandbagging each other emerged as Hamilton set a sector 2 time 6 tenths quicker than Rosberg’s best – on an in lap.

The Force India car is running the slimmed down bodywork tested at Silverstone. Scarbs noted, “This set-up creates a shark fin above the engine cover, as the coolers previously mounted above the gearbox have been repackaged into the sidepods.

Both the gearbox and ERS coolers previously filled a bulge in the engine cover, necessitating a rounded outlet to vent their heat. With the area above the engine and gearbox now clear of ducting and coolers, the bodywork can be slimmed for less drag and a better airflow to the rear wing”.

10 minutes to go and Hamilton reports a power problem and returns to the pits, just as the team had announced they would be doing some practice starts to calibrate the launch systems.

Button climbed out of his car with 5 minutes to go, 5th quickest and 7 tenths of a second behind the leading time. Having qualified third in the Silverstone rain, but managed fourth in the dry race – McLaren and Jenson are hoping they’ve turned the long dark corner.

With minutes to go, ex driver and BBC analysts, Allan McNish commented, “I don’t think the regulation change, with the FIA taking off the FRIC suspension, has shaken the order up. The Red Bull looks nice and neat, Mercedes still have the advantage. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will be the one to lead charge and I’m surprised Williams haven’t got much pace, but we’ll have to wait for second practice for a clearer picture.”

When the chequered flag fell, the order at the top looked familiar with Ricciardo again quicker than Vettel and a content Sutil in an elevated 10th spot.

The big question is, has the FRIC ‘ban’ given the non Mercedes work teams an advantage? Alonso was also third in FP1 in Silverstone, but some 8 tenths off the leading silver arrow.

Despite collecting 2 speeding in the pit lane fines of 1000 euros each, Susie Wolff put in an admirable effort, clocking up 20. Her best time was just over 2 tenths slower than veteran team mate, Felipe Massa.

That said, this is a circuit she knows well from her DTM days, and at times she appeared to be using a DTM through the Sachs Kurve – running wide and using the banking – then straightening the car early for the exit.

FP1 Chart

FP 1 Chart

Final Result

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:19.131 29
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.196 0.065 25
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:19.423 0.292 21
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:19.697 0.566 27
5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:19.833 0.702 24
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:20.097 0.966 28
7 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:20.105 0.974 32
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.210 1.079 21
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:20.337 1.206 28
10 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:20.505 1.374 18
11 Felipe Massa Williams 1:20.542 1.411 19
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:20.586 1.455 23
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:20.592 1.461 22
14 Sergio Perez Force India 1:20.598 1.467 24
15 Susie Wolff Williams 1:20.769 1.638 22
16 Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1:20.782 1.651 23
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:21.603 2.472 20
18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:21.854 2.723 30
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:22.572 3.441 31
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:22.982 3.851 24
21 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:23.256 4.125 35
22 Max Chilton Marussia 1:23.299 4.168 22

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German GP: FP2 report

The temperatures soared for the start of FP2 as track temperatures reached a scorching 56C!  That did not stop Daniel Ricciardo from doing some questionable dance moves to warm up in the garage.  Marcus Ericsson once again was the first to venture out on circuit on the prime, soft tyre. They are two teams that could not be further apart in their attitudes, with the Red Bull Aussie’s free spirited dancing an ode to how positive they are at the moment.  Marcus Ericsson soon stopped out on track as a sensor showed something on his car was overheating – the woes continue.

Once again, cars struggled with braking into many of the corners, with turn 1 in particular proving problematic. With 16 minutes gone, Nico Rosberg emerged and set the fastest lap with his car seemingly glued to the circuit – a 1:19.729.  A setup change from earlier in the day helping immensely, as well as the removal of the sandbags they were carrying around earlier.  He then improved by 0.305 seconds as the car seemed to come more and more to him, as the car stretched its muscles.  Lewis Hamilton twice backed out in the middle sector as he kept his lap time potential shrouded in mystery for the moment (on the soft tyres).

With around half an hour gone only a handful of drivers were left out on track, as Alonso had charged around left nothing in the garage driving his flying lap right on the ragged edge, slotting into 5th fastest ahead of Felipe Massa.  Eric ‘the believable’ Boullier mumbled his way through some direct questioning from David Croft of SKYF1 to fill the gap of racing cars out on track. The favourite quote being we will be “some tenths slower” without the FRIC system on the McLaren this weekend.

Nico Hulkenberg then ventured onto the track on the option, supersoft tyre.  He went 2nd at the same time Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham caught fire.  Despite the best efforts of the Japanese driver with the extinguisher in hand, the smouldering green mess took a long while to come to rest which will almost certainly mean a big repair job is in order.

Following the yellow flag, the Mercedes drivers descended out onto the circuit to set their flying laps.  Sutil, Massa and Ricciardo had all gone faster before being told to cool the tyres.  This will make qualifying a very interesting spectacle tomorrow.  Rosberg, then Hamilton, went faster even with the German setting the lap on his second lap on the tyres, after running wide on his first lap. Most importantly for him, he went faster in the final sector than Hamilton.  Hamilton’s second flying lap was 6 tenths down on his first, a 1:18.341, showing just how extreme the degradation of the supersoft tyre is.

Before the long runs started, we were treated to many replays in a highlight reel fashion, of cars running wide at various points on the circuit.  Various drivers circulated in the 1:22s which is a good time for a high fuel run, although much of the data gathered today will be of diminished use if the forecasted rain does come on Sunday. Only Felipe Massa elected to start his long run on the soft tyre, opening the window for the team to run a reverse strategy.

More interesting watching was the amount of work drivers were putting into practice starts as they repeatedly stopped to try them at the end of the pit lane.  Both Mercedes drivers and Fernando Alonso reported issues as they perfected the clutch points, paying homage to the paramount role your race start can play to your weekend (especially here).

The Hockenheimring is known to be a fuel hungry circuit which will require careful management if the race is a dry one.  Sergio Perez continued to work on ‘lifting and coasting’ to prepare the team as best possible in terms of fuel economy.

Slight confusion occurred when Lewis Hamilton came in to change his tyres and the soft tyres were not ready.  Rosberg followed closely behind, running into problems as his brakes started to overheat as they were grilled under the sun.  He was soon able to change his rubber boots and be on his way, but not before a brief moment of panic over the team radio.

The session slowly trundled on to the finish with little of great significance happening before the chequered flag fell.  Lewis Hamilton had managed to lap slightly faster than his teammate on the long runs, as well as Bottas to Massa, and Vettel to Ricciardo.

Allan McNish said, “The circuit has been very slippery and greasy with high track temperatures. It’s nip and tuck between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. I’m interested to see who will be best of Red Bulls tomorrow in qualifying.

All to play for in Germany, with conditions set to change.

FP2 Chart

FP2 Chart

Final Result

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.341 38
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:18.365 0.024 39
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:18.443 0.102 35
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:18.887 0.546 38
5 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:18.960 0.619 40
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:19.024 0.683 36
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:19.221 0.880 40
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:19.248 0.907 35
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:19.329 0.988 32
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:19.385 1.044 34
11 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:19.417 1.076 41
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:19.452 1.111 27
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:19.581 1.240 28
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:19.593 1.252 32
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:19.760 1.419 32
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:20.158 1.817 35
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:20.358 2.017 35
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:20.504 2.163 40
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:21.328 2.987 31
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:21.870 3.529 21
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:21.898 3.557 28
22 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:23.728 5.387 12

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55 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 18th July 2014

  1. As an Australian, that news has really affected our country. I have been trying to be light hearted all say. It’s hard not to feel hate for the criminals involved and the country and cause they stand for.

    In some countries, they lose thousands a year to conflict etc. But here, those 27 deaths hurt as if it’s ones own family. Australians are travellers too, and many have flown similar routes. I hope someone does something of substance.

    • As P.J. O’Rourke had said “If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.”

      That’s where everything starts, greed, that war in Ukraine and the same in Gaza.

      • Greed and religion. I dont understand why anyone feels they have the right to tell me how I should think.

  2. “Yet with all the aplomb of any of the famous rally drivers from his home country, Magnussen collected it up with ease and blasted on his way.”

    Are you implying that the Dane Magnussen comes from Finland? 🙂

  3. “Magnussen was sporting a new rear wing”

    Funny that it is Magnussen who is testing the single, brand new wing for McLaren, and NOT Button. Coupled with Button’s racing engineer being replaced, are we seeing the first hard signs that Button is on his way out?

    • ….turn 2 not 9 …. corrected – he overshot his braking into the hairpin and bailed out of trying to make the corner….

  4. Terrible news about the Malaysian flight. This should fast-track deployment of the Guardian system on all commercial aircraft.

    Hard to see the Russian GP going ahead now.

      • But what’s the chance of Mr E for once do the right thing and call it off? He didn’t do it when there was the unrest in Bahrain a few yrs ago, so why would he now. He’s driven by money and he will only look at the bottom line and he’s not prepared to sacrifice that much money, just so as to send a message to the Russian government.

        Maybe the teams should come together and refuse not to take part in the race. But this is F1 and unity is a concept that’s not apart of their vocabulary.

        • Why you getting so upset about Russia? They didn’t shoot the plane down, it was Ukranian rebels.

          • @tommo

            Agreed. If that’s the thought process, then cancel the British, French, American etc GP’s. They all supply weapons. One persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter.

            http://tinyurl.com/k54goy4

          • Let’s not jump to conclusions about who shot down the airplane. The investigation is just starting. But can you imagine the PR disaster if somehow Russian complicity in shooting down the airplane is proven? For one, who trained those rural rebel hicks to operate a modern SAM system? A fairly prudent action would be to cancel the Russian GP now, until the investigation is complete.

          • I’m sorry, but I don’t know why you’d think I’m upset. All I’m saying is, it is highly unlikely that the Russian GP will get cancelled over this needless act of violence.

            This is Mr E we are talking about and the only think he sees, is the £$€ signs.

          • I get that. I don’t understand why you think a Russian GP shouldn’t happen?

    • Knowing how much money Russia spent and how close Bernie is to the project I doubt it wont be taking place, sadly.

  5. Screw the Russian GP. I would stop watching Formula 1 if there was a way to prevent the deaths of those innocent people.

    However, why did a civilian airliner have to fly through a war zone, where dozens of aircraft have been fired on and often shot down during the last few months? If Russia was involved in shooting down of the Malaysia airliner, then canceling the GP can be more than justified. However, the CNN and BBC news so far report that the aircraft may have been shot down by pro-Russian rebels who thought it was a Ukrainian airplane, possibly using a SAM missile system that they stole from Ukrainian air defense a couple of weeks ago.

      • Plus, I don’t suppose anyone thought for a moment that some idiot would start taking pot-shots at planes without a cursory check that they are actually ‘valid’ targets.

        Civil aircraft fly at a height where they are safe from anything but a very sophisticated missile system. I would suspect that whoever supplied this missile system to the rebels is now very worried as they probably never imagined it would be used with such reckless abandon…

  6. TJ13, you omitted Vettel from the list of fastest early soft tire runners. He was first according to Autosport. Honest error or just tweaking the Hippo?

    • We can’t report everyone who went fastest at some point, would be boring. Wolff was fastest early doors – more newsworthy then Vettel 😉

  7. “Susie Wolff put in an admirable effort,”

    I don’t put any value on FP1. This is when new parts get tested and rarely is anyone going anywhere near true race speed. Wolff’s drive is nothing more than a PR stunt and Williams have the opportunity to milk it. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the car was under-weight and the engine tweeked to deliver more power. Hopefully this is the last we see of her and her delusions of getting an F1 drive.

    • I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the car was under-weight and the engine tweeked to deliver more power

      I would be astonished.

      Your comment wasn’t entirely unpredictable, though.

        • Ha!

          So… my reply was indeed entirely unpredictable – or I’m already known for being irked by casual misogyny.

          Either way, I’ll take it as a compliment.

          🙂

        • Cav your comment wasn’t only predictable. It was also quite offensive and it shows that you know diddly squat about F1. You insinuate that Williams cranked up the engine, completely ignoring that it counts towards the yearly allowance. There is no logic to risking gird penalties later in the season for a one-time PR stunt.
          Also the car cannot be underweight as the cars are weight-checked in FP1 as well. Again, why would williams risk a penalty for a PR stunt.

          The truth of the mater is – you wanted to vent your hate against women. I would hazard a guess that in your world the fact that a woman peers out of the kitchen window means that her tether is too long.

    • Cav, do you dislike her more because she’s British, or because she’s a woman?

  8. Following FP2 it seems that Lewis has the edge on the supersofts but Nico on the softs. Race day will be tasty as it might rain and if it doesn’t those supersofts will most likely just melt away with FRIC-less cars and hot tarmac. Not to mention the brakes…

    • How many times has Lewis been marginally faster in FP only to f*** up in Q3 ? I am waiting to see whether he indeed has done his homework on Q3 and getting pole position. He needs to get it here, especially with this heat, otherwise his brakes will fry just like in Montreal.

    • Just finished looking at FP2 laptimes and honestly, a tossup. Nico started faster on the softs then Lewis, but Lewis sped up where Nico slowed, plus you have the issue of fuel.

      What was interesting was how fast Perez was, and the fact that Vettel was faster on SS and Ricciardo on S (or vice versa, they don’t have tyre info with laptimes, one thing I would absolutely change, along iwth indicated yellow flag laps). Force India look mighty quick and Hulkenberg was almost even with Massa, with Bottas significantly slower.

      McLaren’s new wing did wonders for K-Mag as he crushed Button’s times with the old equipment, but even there he was hanging off the back relative to FI and Williams. If it was Ron to push getting rid of FRIC, wonder how he’s feeling about his scorched earth strategy now, as it doesn’t seem to have helped them at all.

      • I’m seeing a different story:
        http://plus.autosport.com/premium/feature/6112/what-difference-has-the-fric-ban-made/

        Team,Gain (%)
        Red Bull,0.76
        Ferrari,0.286
        McLaren,0.794
        Williams,0.398
        Sauber,1.663
        Toro Rosso,0.488
        Force India,0.319
        Lotus,0.348
        Marussia,0.554
        Caterham,0.669

        The biggest FRIC-less winners seem to be Sauber (they probably never had it in the first place), then Red Bull and McLaren. I suspect it’s either one or both of them behind the push to ban FRIC. We still don’t know what games the Merc lads were playing in FP’s, but sofar it seems that Merc is the biggest loser.

        • Yes but percentage gain is a terrible way to measure, the slower you were the better you’ll look. In terms of absolute time, what I said is roughly how FP2 looked. Mercs are still fastest, followed by RB/Perez and so on.

          Button’s times weren’t the least bit competitive and Magnussen’s were but he was also running a new. scalloped rear wing so you can’t really attribute that to FRICless running alone. Likewise Sauber might have been slightly better, but they aren’t running top 5 times and maybe 9th or 10th if they’re lucky.

          Tyre deg is back in a big way, however and I’m surprised we didn’t hear Pirelli make any statement about this because if you thought they were having to run slow to protect tyres before, it’s liable to be much worse now.
          Still, the pecking order hasn’t really shifted, with the possible exception of FI gaining a march on Williams, though that might also be track related and not suspension related.-

        • Most likely it was Red Bull. When has Formula 1 worried about Red Bull winning too much? How many times have they cheated without consequences? Charlie is in their payroll.

  9. -Disclaimer: This is a vent. Read if you like-

    Fuck the Russian GP, and fuck those pro-Russian assholes, and if connected to their govt., then fuck Russia too. Reports recently show intercepted conversations that are pretty damning. It’s becoming more and more unlikely Putins regime isn’t linked, even if it was a mistaken identity. They shouldn’t be shooting over Ukraine anyway! And the flight course in question is used by many (prior to today) and was authorised by all authorities.

    This will count for nothing, but I’m not watching the Russian GP. I have not missed a race for many, many years. I don’t want to let a choreographed, BS version of Russia, Sochi and it’s sites infect my household.

    • I’m sorry for your pain.

      Its a disgraceful tragedy. I don’t expect much will be done though, about the issue or the race.

      For what its worth, I’ve become a casual viewer since Bahrain 1, as Bernard and the FIA put money over morality. And I can’t abide that, nor will I facilitate it.

      I’ve looked at approx 3 full races and about 6 highlight packages since then.

      I’ve also stopped buying products (in as much as I can avoid it) from companies that sponsor F1.

      My only real link to the sport is reading about it. And that isn’t very inspiring either. Its probably the main reason that TJ13 is my go to site. Its total lack if irreverence is exactly what the sport needs.

      I won’t be looking at Russia, if it takes place, either.

      Considering the darkness of the last few days F1 has been shown up to be the irrelevance that it is.

      I’ll come back to the sport, properly, when Bernard and his sock puppets are gone.

      Be nice if Capo Hysterical jogs on also.

      And Jean T too – how tremendously disappointing has he been. All of his achievements with Peugeot from Group B, Dakar, Sports cars and Ferrari and he runs the FIA the way he currently does.

      Spanky was significantly more effective.

      • Yup, but a Spank Nazi.. Hmm.. I wouldn’t bring up—to paraphrase Charlie Brown—such an *inspirational* example.

        • What spanky gets up to in the privacy of his own, eh, dungeon is none of my business.

          Nor should it have been the public’s, hence his victory in the news of the world (now no more, a Murdock rag of a paper peddling non news for the disintellegentistas who care more about the private life of people the don’t know than they do about their own – vacuous doesn’t even begin to describe it!) Vs Mosley court case.

          A British prince dressed up as a Nazi also, yet this is just brushed away as not relevant – it doesn’t suit the media agenda.

          Now max was more interesting. Not a protected character. Father was Oswald, Nazi connections there also. A nice tip off from a ‘concerned’ source, and we have gold dust.

          Till they lose the court case anyway.

          And the concerned characters are delighted also as he isn’t cracking the whip around cost cutting. And can’t hand out 100 million fines.

          I wouldn’t want him as a friend, but he kept the kindergarten teams in check and had the steel to stand up to Bernard also.

          I stick by my statement that he was a superior performer in his role to Todt. And the gobsheen Ballestre who ran the show before the Bernie and Max show sent him for an early shower.

    • It would make sense to cancel the GP until the investigation is complete. Can’t believe F1 is willing to get involved in this sort of controversy. Likewise, the GP will not do any good for Russia, whose image abroad is already very bad. A Russian GP will not be able to whitewash it.

  10. Lots of fuss about Rosberg calling Hamilton “My dear team-mate” but probably it was taken out of context. For once it’s not Hamilton saying things that get over-hyped by the media.

  11. off topic, but not insignificant IMHO. comparing the perceived crowds for both Fri practices of the German GP and the IndyCar double header at the Expo Center in Toronto…
    for a mere El Cheapo Regional Spec car series where the pundits constantly bemoan the poor crowds and TV viewership, the always awesome Kanuks kicked some serious ass with their attendance and enthusiasm vs the few near brain-dead freaks who mostly slept thru the megatron International yawner of a so-called sporting event…
    and that a Floridian could stream IndyCar in HD vs SKY in clunky, pixillated 144 has to say something, right?

  12. Well, this one is interesting. Brake-disc failure during Qualifying. Not that Rosberg needed any help but good fortune is most definitely siding with him at the moment. Unless it rains tomorrow, and even then : starting on pole makes a hell of a difference. Looks like that’s Rosberg taking a 20+ points lead tomorrow again then.

    Oh, and the Mercedes is looking increasingly dodgy, at least on Hamilton’s side of the garage. The timing is really unfortunate but no driver can do anything about good fortune. Rosberg has it and that’s a great thing to know, for him.

      • Are you truly a fan of Formula1? You don’t like to see exciting races? You are happy because one of the drivers who could provide most of the excitement is at a disadvantage. Through no fault of his own I might add. So it seems you would be happy if all the other cars failed for some reason and Rosberg only wins by default. You don’t seem to have much confidence in Rosberg’s capabilities then. 🙂

    • The interesting bit is that Toto Wolff said on RTL that ROS and HAM use different makes of brakes, because Lewis wants his more aggressive

      • Very astute observation Danilo, and one I’m surprised more aren’t picking up on.

        Considering that this us very likely the reason that Lewis is having more mechanical difficulties in this area (Canada being a prime example), the cars are fragile and brakes are affecting everyone (consistant issues for all teams) this has the potential to be the differentiator between winning and losing the championship.

        It has been touched on here, but not to the level I think its importance warrants.

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