#F1 Daily News an Comment: Thursday, 23rd April 2015


A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,

Forget the Virtual Safety Car

The dreaded Vorführeffekt

Forget the Virtual Safety Car

bernie-dedo-medio-middle-fingerTo reign in driver misbehaviour under double-waved yellow flag conditions, the powers that be developed the idea of the virtual safety car. However, we’ve not see it yet and the man we have to thank for that is – unsurprisingly – Bernard Ecclestone.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, the self-proclaimed Zampano has pressured Whiting to prefer the proper safety car in order to bunch up the field and create artificial drama. When the race had to be neutralized for Verstappen’s barbecued Toro Rosso, it would have been a model situation to deploy the VSC, but the Dwarven Council decided it would look bad on TV to have the cars trickle in with big gaps between them.

Basically, the whole idea looks like a token effort, sacrificed on the Altar of artificial entertainment.


The dreaded Vorführeffekt

80596Vorführeffekt is a German word that, literally translated, means ‘demonstration effect’. It describes the situation that something that has always worked goes immediately wrong the moment you show it to someone else.

A second use of the term is described in English by the term ‘commentator’s curse’. Those old enough to shave will remember those classical situations when Murray Walker would praise a driver during a race and five minutes later said driver would crash through the pearly gates backwards with his hair on fire.

And of course there’s the case of saying something and five minutes later it turns out to be wrong;

I don’t make mistakes. I make prophecies which immediately turn out to be wrong.
— Murray Walker

And so it appears that I have turned into a fat version of Murray Walker minus the talent for classical quotes. In my defense it shall be pointed out that I didn’t write my recent waterhole article the night it was published but a few moons ago, but the fact of the matter is, my writing about the fortunes (or lack thereof) of Danica Patrick, arguably the highest-profile female racer world-wide at the moment, have been partially invalidated by something that is preposterously named ‘reality’.

Meanwhile the young lady has doubled the number of top-10 finishes from three to six, two of which were achieved in the last three weeks. Now, you might say, a top ten isn’t much – Saubers and Force Indias manage to achieve that. And you would be correct until you realize that NASCAR has something we’ve not seen in F1 since 1992 – pre-qualifying. And even after the sick and the weak have been weeded out, a whopping fourty-two cars start the race, and all of them weigh more than Belgium and take up more space than Jarno Trulli.

The thirty-three year old, who came close to being groomed for F1 in the early noughts, but got caught in Ford-internal politics, drives for Stewart-Haas, and yes that’s the same Gene Haas who’s coming to F1 with a Ferrari B-spec car next year. There have been rumours that she might be drafted to F1, but Patrick has insisted for years that she is not interested in F1, which is too bad, as she definitely has more racing credentials than, let’s say, Carmen Jorda.

As it stands now, the lady seems to get the hang of this tin-top malarkey and lying currently at 13th in the championship she would even come close to be the first female to qualify for ‘The Chase’. That and the first NASCAR win by a woman are about the last records left for her to break. She’s done so with all the others by now.


20 responses to “#F1 Daily News an Comment: Thursday, 23rd April 2015

  1. Phuck D. Patrick! Literally. Sure, i’ve been known to dabble in hyperbole, but, when it comes to to D. Patrick and the PR that has followed her………….

    I like reading here, I really do……………But Danica Patrick couldn’t hold Shirley Muldowney’ water bottle.

  2. A Virtual Safety car lacks the opportunity to advertise Mercedes Benz sedans they way an actual safety car does. Not that surprised Bernie’s not keen on it.

    • You’re probably right about this. It may backfire on them, however. The VSC was a response to the hideous crash of Jules Bianchi. It was recommended by the ‘select committee’ empowered with the responsibility of examining the cause(s) of the crash and injury, and to make recommendations for solutions to prevent a tragedy such as this from reoccurring. You can bet that, should FOM and FIA *not* make use of the VSC, the lawyers for Jules’ family will surely take note, and press the failure to enact the VSC as further proof of FOM/FIAs’ callousness and culpability in his crash. This is a dumb but highly predictable move on the part of the munchkin.

      • Mark Jones: Mercedes and Bernie’s deal most definitely has impact on why the VSC has not been used, but there is at least one other reason. At least one of the teams (I think it is Force India, might be Lotus, and/or Manor too) is NOT running the “new” steering wheel display yet.
        I believe the rules said that all teams had to be running the new display by 2015, so I am not sure why:
        a) it hasn’t been fully implemented
        b) It hasn’t been talked about by anyone
        c) the FIA hasn’t done anything about it.

        The only way to fairly and safely implement the VSC is for the drivers to have the info they need on the wheel. I am not trying to make excuses, just something I noticed this last race when I saw some on-boards.

        Michael: The FIA not having implemented VSC, after their own “blue ribbon committee” recommended it, is going to bite them hard in the ass in court. If the exact same thing happens again, (a second driver hitting the recovery vehicle from the first accident) that could end it all.

        I hope the Bianchi Lawyers are working hard already. I wonder what venue will be the best. Will they have to sue the track in Japan, the FIA in France, Bernie in Monaco, etc etc? This is going to be really messy.

  3. Think Simona might get a shot at the Haas Ferrari next year ? Even if she doesn’t get the drive, she could still do a few testing sessions and/or FP1s. Or heck, even stand around in the garage during races, give interviews and show her face on TV.

  4. I think if Simona goes well with her IndyCar drives this season, Haas might consider her for a development/test driver position. I expect Rossi to get consideration for the Haas seat. A bit off topic, does Hulkenberg get a full time drive with Porsche in WEC next season thus opening up a seat at Force India or are Force India’s days in Formula 1 numbered? It will be interesting to see how much of an increase in performance Force India’s new car has when it’s rolled out in Austria assuming there are no more delays.

    • More like “What new car”……. I am starting to doubt that there is a new car and the team are just spending 2years of time and budget to hit the ground running in 2016. Let’s face it, what is the pint of bringing in a new car half way through a season, just to build yet another for the following January.

      • maybe FI plot to introduce 2016s ‘new car’ in august 2016, then 2018s new car in dec2017 (on time for once)…a novel way to shave a third off the budget without having to pick Manor’s pockets!! feel the (lack of) force!!

    • As much as I like Simona, it’s a bit of a stretch right now. Her race deal with Andretti Autosport has been pretty much race-to-race so it’s pretty hard to extrapolate about a season’s performance when a season’s funding has yet to be found.

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