#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday, April 21st 2015


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

Viewership Numbers stabilize in Germany

Mercedes’ Wolff Explains Brake Issues

Oh the irony of it Giedo

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

Brembo 2

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.

When questioned about the brake problems after the race, Lewis Hamilton commented: “I think my brakes just got a bit warm when I was behind a few back markers. When you’re behind them there’s no cool air coming into the brakes, so they got a bit warm. But it wasn’t really a problem.”
With the need to react to Ferrari’s long run pace during Friday practice, Mercedes had discovered that running the tyres too cool was costing them performance. In an attempt to rectify this problem, significant setup changes were made to the WO6 overnight, however some of these changes compromised on brake cooling.
Further light has since been shed on the matter by team principle Toto Wolff: “It was a good race and the changes we put on the car after a hard Friday into qualifying proved to be the right ones. The car was the quickest car today on both tyres. We certainly have to be happy with one and three, no doubt about it, but losing second place with Nico – everybody who ever doubted in Nico saw him at his best, fighting hard, overtaking, and losing that position because of a brake failure was a bit of a pity.

“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


26 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday, April 21st 2015

  1. Ok. Next race we all watch together on Ustream . Every time we see Pastor pull off a clean overtake we take a shot . Every time you see a Manor car on track… shot. Every time Rosberg overtakes Hamilton on track we take a ….

    …. hmm worst drinking game ever?

    • Basically Red Bull is disliked as a marketing machine. They also own a football club and Germans are anal about the tradition of football clubs. The Red Bull club has none, which is why it is called a ‘plastic club’. A couple of weeks ago the was quite a scandal when during a match against RB Leipzig Erzgebirge Aue fans showed large banners showing Mateschitz as Hitler.

      And just like the football club, the F1 team was seen as a ‘plastic team’.

    • Hi Spanners & team, why not do a live audio commentary of the race. I am sure you will do so much better then the local TV commentators…

      • Well wouldn’t that be a thing. well on Ustream there would be a slight delay but I think that would be a lot of fun. We row and bitch over whatsapp during the races so it could be fun. Sometimes gets very emotional. 😕

        • Alternative commentary would be tremendous. Standard practice in this household is to put football or cricket commentary from the radio over the live TV video.

          Delay probs with the audio stream can be fixed if punters have an ability to pause live TV and then run it slightly delayed by hitting “play” at the right point.

    • To be fair (sigh), I saw plenty of clean overtakes from Pastor in China, and given his habit of under-performing in qualifying see potential for more. There were a good few shots of the Manor in Bahrain as well to be fair, doesn’t sound like a bad drinking game at all, if only you could update that bit about Nico…maybe every time Nico asks not to hear bad news on the radio?

  2. Mr. Hippo wrote, “The wide-spread hatred of Germans toward Red Bull…”

    Alright, I’ll ask the dumb question… Is that true about the hatred (aka strong dislike)?

    Do Germans hate Red Bull, the fizzy caffeinated sugar drink; or do they hate Red Bull’s little English F1 team?

    • Basically Red Bull is disliked as a marketing machine. They also own a football club and Germans are anal about the tradition of football clubs. The Red Bull club has none, which is why it is called a ‘plastic club’. A couple of weeks ago the was quite a scandal when during a match against RB Leipzig Erzgebirge Aue fans showed large banners showing Mateschitz as Hitler.

      And just like the football club, the F1 team was seen as a ‘plastic team’.

    • And that’s quite amazing because the coverage on German telly tells the story, exclusively, of all German things. They don’t care about anything else. So for many years all revolved round a guy in a red bull. With sidesteps to a guy in a mercedes ( no not the one you like fortis, he’s not the face of f1 in germany) and to have such a biased show and yet so much hate against them, that’s quite amazing in my opinion

  3. Interesting snippet from James Allen:

    …what is perhaps less well known is that Ferrari has an ace up its sleeve in races this year on the ERS and turbo sides of the power unit. In particular they have a very strong battery and a small compressor, which is very efficient and rival engineers say that this means they can run at a reasonably aggressive preset mode for the whole race, whereas Mercedes has a lower regime in its race mode, to which it sometimes need to descend in races.

    Bit vague on the technical details, but… interesting.

    • I read that as well and I’m somewhat confused as to what the benefits are. Based on the FIA regs, there’s a limit on the amount of energy that the ERS unit is allowed to produce (120 KW max) and the batteries can only store 4MJ and release 2MJ per lap or is that the other way round?

      Also, don’t they all pretty much use the same lithium ion type batteries?

      Wish he had gone into more details as to how it works.


      • It’s the other way round – therefore you can use more than 2 MJ during a particular lap, as you can start the lap with 2MJ, and use all of that plus any additions energy (up to the 2MJ limit) you manage to store during the braking phase.
        Of course you suffer during the preceding and following laps, so you might only see the extremes during qualifying.

        One thing you didn’t consider is this:
        an unlimited amount of energy can be exchanged between the MGU-K and the MGU-H or the MGU-H and the Energy Store. In other words, the energy recovered from the turbocharger is ‘free’…
        IOW, if you have a particularly efficient turbo you can feed any excess power generated directly to the drive wheels without ‘cost’.

        The other factor is fuel usage – the more energy you can recover and use, the less fuel you require, and as we know, many tracks are fuel limited (ie 100kg isn’t enough to run the ICE at full chat throughout the race).

        Another complication is probably heating/cooling, and that’s possibly/probably a factor in Merc having to compromise its power output every so often (similarly its braking, as we saw in the last GP).

        Bottom line, it’s really complicated. Every component is is limited by the performance of all the other components – and thus an improvement in one might well mean improvements elsewhere (one of the reasons McLaren is likely to improve dramatically when they sort out their cooling issues).

    • @taperooSD

      “If scarbs is correct,……” Not everything!

      5.1.6 Pressure charging may only be effected by the use of a sole single stage compressor linked to a sole single stage exhaust turbine by a shaft assembly parallel to the engine crankshaft and within 25mm of the car centre line. The shaft must be designed so as to ensure that the shaft assembly, the compressor and the turbine always rotate about a common axis and at the same angular velocity, an electrical motor generator (MGU-H) may be directly coupled to it.

      • It’s already been picked apart by people over on the f1technical.net forum that exact regulation was bought up. I’m sure Scarbs is aware of it.

      • Unless I’m mistaken, it says in the autosport article that the turbine and compressor run on the same axis with the shaft running through all 2 elements. The posh compressor they have used still only utilises 1 shaft. It’s just a longer shaft and has smaller fins, instead of a short shaft and tall fins. Almost like an impeller rather than a propeller, but for air not water.

  4. RE: Oh the irony of it Giedo

    Whatever your opinion of the guy might be there is no one who can deny Giedo doesn’t know how to make fun of himself. A couple weeks ago he also tweeted something similar (I think it was the picture of him finding a new job as a forklift driver)

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