UPDATED 16:14 GMT A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
He’s not stupid, he just reads very little
These immortal words of Bavarian comedian Herbert Hiesl is an apt way to describe the season of the craziest Venezuelan since Hugo Chavez. The sole victory of Pastor Maldonado in Barcelona 2012 starts looking more and more surreal in light of the crazy antics of the reverend. Flipping other cars over, piling into just about everything – stationary or not – stalling the car in the pits; you name it, he’s done it recently.
As of Sunday we can also add starting from too far back to the mix of his eclectic list of funnies, for which he was slapped with a five second pit penalty after which he stalled the car and subsequently cooked the brakes. You can’t make such stuff up.
If anyone at Lotus has a modicum of common sense, they should put Jolyon Palmer in that car or, if money is needed, it is said that Giedo van der Gaarde has received a rather large refund on a broken contract recently.
Viewership Numbers stabilize in Germany
Sebastian Vettel has won four consecutive championships, Nico Rosberg has occasionally won the odd race, Nico Hülkenberg has again and again shown he can run great races in cars that were hopeless and Adrian Sutil was … um… hopeless.
Despite plenty for the Germans to root for, TV viewers ran from their screens screaming year after year – to the point that broadcaster RTL has reduced its coverage; abandoned the free live stream and after twenty-four years of continuous F1 coverage has yet to decide whether to renew its contract.
A major factor in that was Sebastian Vettel, but not his domination of 2011 and 2013, but whom he drove for. The wide-spread dislike of Red Bull by Germans left the Fatherland with less supporters than Idi Amin.
But something has changed, now that the man from Heppenheim is driving for Ferrari and fostering memories of the Schumacher era, the falling numbers have started to stabilize. Only 170.000 less viewers than in 2014 watched the Bahrain GP, while the Malaysia GP even surpassed the numbers of 2012 and 2013.
It sounds ridiculous to be positive about a reduction in the rate of the rats abandoning ship, yet this topic is big time being debated in the UK general election – as the parties vie to present their annual overspending budgets which have seen the UK national debt rise by some 1 trillion euros in the past five years.
But the rate of overspend is falling 😉
Mercedes’ Wolff Explains Brake Issues
During Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, both Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg suffered problems with their cars BBW (brake by wire) system, that almost brought back memories of Canada 2014. Hamilton however, was able to hold position and take the win, but team mate Nico Rosberg was not so lucky and lost second place to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap, denying the might Merc’s another 1-2 finish and maximum points.
“We saw very hot brakes on Nico’s car in traffic, following Kimi and Sebastian first, and then lots of fighting and hard braking. So we monitored that. Then at the end with the backmarkers and lapping cars those brake temperatures went through the roof, and we had a brake by wire failure on both cars, in the same corner. It was on the hard braking on the straight, the temperatures went sky high, and when that happens the brake by wire switches into the conventional system, and then you are without weapons to defend with.
“You can’t do anything if the brake-by-wire collapses or fails and it goes to conventional, the pedal becomes long and the car doesn’t stop any more. This what happened to Nico.
“It’s set-up issues. We knew the changes we made on the car were compromising a little bit brake temperatures, so we knew what we were doing. But then it was a hard race, we had lots of overtaking, especially on Nico’s side. And then both cars struggled to make it through some of the backmarkers at the end of the race. You follow another car or you follow a couple of cars – the air stream collapses, and this is why he made the brakes hot.
“On Nico’s car the brake failure didn’t come as a surprise, we saw high temperatures. On Lewis’s car it was a bit of a surprise, and it must have been linked to the fact that he gave it a gentle push seeing Kimi, and making his way through back marker traffic”.
More worrying for Mercedes is that this was not just an incorrect set-up problem and the team may need to redesign significant elements of the BBW and energy harvesting systems. Wolff concludes, “It is never one single solution so you try to tackle a problem, which we had on Friday, with a couple of adjustments. And one of them was linked to the capability of brake cooling. So in hindsight, knowing that this caused us the problem and nearly lost us the race, and it lost us P2. We will probably look at things again and do it differently in the future.”
If the Ferrari’s continue to apply further pressure, could we see the team make further risky decisions, that could potentially cost both drivers and the team dearly
Next up is Barcelona, which is not a brake critical circuit. This buys Mercedes some time to create and implement a solution for the brake destroyer that is the Giles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal.
Oh the irony of it Giedo