#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday, 25th April 2015

DNandC

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

BMW to write history at Spa Francorchamps

Felipe Nasr: Susie Wolff ready for Grand Prix drive

The sorry state of F1 in Bahrain radio messages

BMW to write history at Spa Francorchamps

There are four big 24h races in Europe. The most famous one is without a doubt the one at Le Mans, but there are three others on no less classical tracks. Every GT car driver worth his salt has driven the 24h race on the Nürburgring Nordschleife and the Britcar event at Silverstone was put on every petrolhead’s radar by TopGear’s entry a couple years back. The fourth one is the 24h of Spa Francorchamps.

Former F1 driver Timo Glock had a chat with a fellow BMW associated racer last winter in which his companion expressed a wish to run a 24h race, and the German replied that if his conversation partner could pull off a program, he’d not need to think twice before joining the project. And pull it off he did, because he always pulls off what he has in mind. After all, we are talking about none other than Alex Zanardi.

Double Paralympics and CART champion Zanardi will team up with Glock and 2012 DTM champion Bruno Spengler to drive a modified BMW Z4 GT3 in this years 24h of Spa Francorchamps. The race is run on 25/26 July in the Ardennes and it will be the first time that a disabled driver shares a car with non-disabled drivers in a major race.

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Felipe Nasr: Susie Wolff ready for Grand Prix drive

Susie WolffThe career of Williams test driver Susie Wolff is a prime example of how careers of women, who dare try their hand at motorsports, are wasted away in obscurity as most people in the male dominated ‘establishment’ still think that if a woman leaves the house, she hasn’t been tethered to the Aga properly.

After promising junior results (5th championship position in Formula Renault), Wolff was parked in the DTM running out-dated Mercedes cars. Her best result was a 7th place – at Hockenheim and the Eurospeedway. That’s the same personal best as David Coulthard. Her fellow Scot managed the feat only once though.

For three years the lady had now been on the payroll of the Williams team and was – with a lot of PR noise – ‘promoted’ from development to test and reserve driver last year. Except that, when the scenario became real after Bottas’ back injury, Williams quickly hired Adrian Sutil and a rather gruff dismissal was delivered by Pat Symmonds, who ruled out running her in a GP.

Former fellow test driver Felipe Nasr, now of Sauber fame, however thinks that she’s ready to step up. “She’s spent enough time in the simulator, I think she’s ready,” the Brazilian told crash.net, but that sentiment is apparently not shared by Williams, even though she has shown decent performances in the few FP1 and test outings she’d had.

Susie Wolff might not instill the fear of god into the Hamiltons and Vettels of this world, but if utter failures like Merhi, Ericsson and Maldonado are allowed to disgrace the grid, the Scottish lady deserves at least a chance. But maybe, just maybe, some people are afraid she might show up some of the riff-raff that was allowed to run in recent years.

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The sorry state of F1 in Bahrain radio messages

F1 used to be a sport where a bunch of guys went as fast as they could in a bid to win the race. The Bahrain GP proved: F1 is just a business where everyone goes as fast as allowed to by the pitlane.

We present some “gems” from the race.
The full radio transcripts can be found at fellow independent bloggers F1Fanatic

Tony Ross->Nico Rosberg So just need a little bit of brake management before you attack Vettel.

Peter Bonnington->Lewis Hamilton Vettel 40.2, gap at 1.9, probably afford to go two-tenths faster.

Simon Rennie->Daniel Ricciardo You can save a bit less fuel.

Mark Temple->Fernando Alonso OK Fernando we’re looking at target plus two. Let’s start pushing the tyres.

Peter Bonnington->Lewis Hamilton So you have Nico, Vettel behind, they are racing. (You don’t say?! Racing??)

Lewis Hamilton->Peter Bonnington (Hamilton came close to being jumped by Rosberg and Vettel, who pitted before him.) That’s a little bit close for comfort, right?
Peter Bonnington->Lewis Hamilton Affirm, Lewis, feels that way.
Lewis Hamilton->Peter Bonnington What happened to my gap?
Peter Bonnington->Lewis Hamilton It looks like a bit of a slow stop, Lewis, let’s just manage it now.

Tony Ross->Nico Rosberg So Nico we’ll still need some fuel saving for brakes as you’re getting closer to Lewis. (say what??)

Welcome to Greenpeace

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28 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday, 25th April 2015

  1. Alex Zanardi is absolutely incredible and to be racing with Timo and Bruno-awesome! Great post on Susie. I hope that she gets her chance to drive in a GP. She’s worked so hard and could Pastor Maldonado a thing or two.

  2. I’m sorry but I have to disagree. 24 hours of spa ain’t worth anything no more. They killed it. gt3 is for little girls.

  3. Regarding the radio messages… It used to surprise me when people make snarky remarks about these radio dialogues.

    But then I realized that most folks haven’t experienced racing with an in-helmet radio, or talking to a driver while he or she is racing. I’ve been fortunate to experience both, and find these conversations fairly typical.

    A helmet radio can be both very helpful, but fairly annoying at the same time. Most of my experience with radios has been supporting drivers who are on track. I’d have a pre-race conversation with each driver to learn if they liked to be chatty, or prefer radio silence, or in between. They’re all different. I’d ask if they only want to talk on straights, or are OK talking through turns. And what type of info they want, etc. I’d note their preferences, and then found what they had told me didn’t matter. Inevitably a driver would want more info, or less info, than what they thought they wanted before they were on track. And I also found that trying to talk only on straights can be surprisingly difficult to time exactly correctly (though one wouldn’t think it would be the case).

    But I think the biggest thing was that most folks change inside the helmet when racing to some degree. I’ve only worked with two drivers that had that famed Michael Schumacher quality of just being able to carry on a normal conversation (these two would be analytical, and would tell jokes and everything while racing). Most racers instead lose some mental capacity to deal with conversations. So short, curt communication works best, both ways. It wasn’t that they became stupid. They were still as intelligent as ever, except they couldn’t devote as much mental energy toward these radio conversations, (a multi-tasking capacity issue, so to speak).

    In addition, many folks, in these conditions, in close competition, highly focused with high heart rates, become emotionally edgy. The nicest people suddenly are walking near their emotional edge inside that helmet on the track. So things are said. And if you’re on the radio supporting them, you just must deal with it, and help them deal with it. Help them focus on what is most important. (Everyone who has put on a helmet and raced knows what the driver is experiencing.) If you’re successful, it helps the driver be successful, and it helps the team be successful.

    So that is the background behind any racer to pit communication, amateur, professional, any level…

    I’m no longer surprised when I see snarky comments made by some F1 spectators who have not experienced this.

    But here at TJ13, I had the impression that many contributors have some track and racing experience. Candidly I find it surprising to see this piece here.

    • Indeed, great post!
      However, I think the piece is about the ‘greenness’ of F1 and how it deprives us from good racing. The radiomessages are just the messenger, instead of the message.

      • Thanks! And yes, you’re correct, of course. And I understood the author’s underlying point.

        The problem is when F1 spectators take some of these radio dialogues out of context to enhance an argument, the meanings of radio transmissions can be lost, or misconstrued.

        Even worse is that by obscuring or misconstruing the original meanings, such tactics can devalue F1 in the eyes of others.

        What was done in this article was not the worst offender that we’ve seen in that regard. Yet, he did do it, (whether he realizes it or not), so I thought it help for me to share the underlying human perspective of all these valuable F1 radio transmissions.

        My underlying concern is that FOM stops, or reduces, the sharing of these valuable radio transmissions. They offer excellent insight to the drivers, the cars, and the teams. Given the decline of the economics of F1, it would be disappointing for Bernie’s team turn off this spigot of information because they see too many fans use this information to denigrate F1 due to our general misunderstanding of the context of in-helmet radios in a race.

        • I’m with you all the way here. Far too much manipulation in timing of message release and the bull$hit that it then draws. Message by all means. Stop the broadcast.

    • ” … Most racers instead lose some mental capacity to deal with conversations. …… . It wasn’t that they became stupid. …… they couldn’t devote as much mental energy toward these radio conversations, (a multi-tasking capacity issue, so to speak). … ”

      This loss of mental capacity to deal with conversations while driving has been researched thoroughly and proven to be true.

      It is for this reason that mobile phone use while driving is discouraged or banned – hand-held or NOT. The loss of concentration apparently happens because the human mind engages a part of the brain to imagine visually the person that is talking to them remotely. The type and/or extent of loss of concentration does not occur when listening to the radio or fiddling with controls on the dashboard. In addition to the need to imagine the other person visually when talking to them remotely, there is also an involuntary need to gesticulate with hand/eye/face/body movements as if the other person was in your presence.

      I can’t locate the relevant published research papers now, but will post a link later if I find it.

      • Search for “attention theory” and “attention capacity”.

        Some people have a large attention capacity and so can take in lots of sensory input and deal with it while performing high-end physical tasks and carrying on a conversation. Some people can’t think at all while they walk and talk.

        Who here turns down the radio when they’re reversing their car?

    • To be honest, the biggest problem with radio communication and race driving is the relative clarity of the channel. Don’t take for granted how much work the brain does in decoding messages we hear in our everyday life. Sometimes a person says something and we find our brains analysing what was said before eventually selecting the right word that it believes it heard. This is further excerbated when there is a lot of static or blank moments in the channel, and then you find the driver leaning towards the direction of his ears and not the road which is a loss of concentration on the actual job.

      • I can barely and rarely understand the radio calls I hear on TV, just sitting on my couch.

    • Looked what happened to Carlos Sainz Jr in China. His spin at T1 was caused by his engineer talking to him whilst he was entering the corner. Was not too pleased about it, thus asking him not to do so again.

    • You’re absolutely correct, of course, having witnessed fist fights break out at bike races that the heat of competition can change ones emotional state and challenge ones judgement to a remarkable degree, particularly when one is at the limit of their abilities.

      However, it seemed to me the point of those radio messages was just how much management goes on in a race, and the inference was that it reduces on track action, rather than to mock any of the individual messages. Particularly the message to Rosberg about having to save before attacking Vettel.

      It also highlights the complexity of the interaction between ERS recovery and circuit layout as much of charging the battery and MGU K use might under racing conditions take more than a lap. I wish they would keep stats about that as well as fuel use stats and publish them. It would be enlightening I would think.

      • Great points about being able to see more information on the management of ERS per circuit, and the MGU-K mgmt in race conditions, and accurate fuel mgmt data.

        But you’ve put your finger on the problem when you note the Rosberg message. It prompted me to take a few minutes to write that comment above.

        The author’s point was that in the past F1 racers were flat out all of the time, but now the teams prevent that with strict control. Then his first radio transmission is:
        “Tony Ross->Nico Rosberg So just need a little bit of brake management before you attack Vettel.”

        Without context, I suppose that one could see that as the team being a bit of a nanny, in other words, over-controlling, (I’m guessing).

        In reality, we know the following:
        * In the Friday FP2 session, during long-run / race-sim work, the Ferrari cars were faster than the Mercedes.
        * On Saturday, we learned that Mercedes changed the set-up on their cars to get faster race pace. But they couldn’t test their set-up before the race (FP3 is run in heat of day, vastly different from race conditions).
        * Both Mercedes cars had BBW failures at the end of the race.
        * Toto explained after the race that Mercedes changed their rear brake cooling to improve their race pace.

        That meant that the team briefed both drivers prior to the race that their rear brake cooling was going to be marginal.

        On lap 5 of the race, after Rosberg overtakes Raikkonen for third place, we have this radio comment:
        Tony Ross -> Nico Rosberg
        “So just need a little bit of brake management before you attack Vettel.”

        At this point Mercedes who are already closely watching the rear brake temps on both cars would’ve realized that in dirty air the rear brakes become too hot.

        Both Mercedes drivers are very talented, and would be managing their rear brake temps on track by moving brake bias forward, and being less aggressive with brake use, while maintaining competitive race pace.

        On lap 18 Rosberg’s engineer again tells him, “Brakes are a concern.” The team can see rear brake temps much better than the drivers in the cockpit can monitor those temps.

        On lap 20 Rosberg’s engineer tells him, “So Nico we’ll still need some fuel saving for brakes as you’re getting closer to Lewis.” This is the 2nd message from the team in two laps, and the context is that Nico had been in dirty air since lap 15. First he came out right behind Vettel, and passed him on track, then he was up behind Hamilton, within ~1.5 secs (+- a few tenths).

        Furthermore, the delay in Lewis’ slow pit-stop on lap 15 may have been caused by excessive heat from the rear brakes (rear wheel difficult to remove). Because Ferrari was able to run close to the Mercedes, they were concerned that the upcoming pit-stop could cost them positions if they didn’t cool down the rear brakes.

        In addition, by lap 20, the Mercedes team would’ve noted that Kimi’s first two laps on the medium tires were faster than what both Mercedes cars were currently doing on fresh softs. Given the quality of the race strategy computer models for live race monitoring, the Mercedes pit wall may have already since this unexpected vulnerability.

        Given all that context, here is the author’s last radio quote, with his accompanying comment:

        “Tony Ross->Nico Rosberg So Nico we’ll still need some fuel saving for brakes as you’re getting closer to Lewis. (say what??)”

        This is why that piece is disappointing. The context that I’ve outlined is publicly available, but he purposely ignored it to make an argument that can be argued in a stronger way than what he did.

        To be fair to him, it’s the weekend, he works hard, yet he put this together quickly in some spare time, and perhaps he was trying to have a quick bit of fun, too. But I stand by my point.

  4. Edit:
    ” .. mobile phone use while driving is discouraged or banned .. ”
    should read
    ” … mobile phone use while driving should be discouraged or banned … “

  5. “if utter failures like Merhi, Ericsson and Maldonado are allowed to disgrace the grid, the Scottish lady deserves at least a chance”

    Don’t these drivers get a chance only because they bring bundles of cash with them? Does Susie have big sponsors? You’d think that there would be huge sponsorship value in having a female driver, so it’s rather weird that she can’t buy a seat.

    • Because not many women are interested in racing. They find it boring, going round in circles. Don’t think a woman behind the wheel will change that fact…

      • You’d think that plenty of male fans would be interested. Just look at how TheJudge13 is regularly moaning about wanting a female driver and they are mostly guys.

        It also gives great subliminal sponsoring opportunities: Susie + Rexona = fans not wanting to be sweaty around girls.

  6. Although before F1 was a series of flat out sprints between pit stops, it was going as fast as the car could handle 😉 brake management makes me think of drum brakes and the 1950s.. but yes.. the switch from driver dictated pace to FIA dictated pace is galling… how many times this season has a driver been penalised for going ‘too fast behind the safety car’? I noticed they both were also not on the back of the train when the race resumed. Still crazy odd SC deltas, even once the incident is cleared away.

  7. Slag off Maldonado all you want in an attempt to bolster Wolff’s non-credentials…but Pastor has one thing that neither Susie nor very many other drivers will ever secure: victory in an F1 GP…

    • True, Joe. That 2012 Spanish Grand Prix victory at Catalunya is definitely going to be the jewel in the career-crown of a Pastor Maldonado. An achievement about 100 other drivers in the history of Formula One have accomplished; which he did with Fernando Alonso, in a reasonably capable Ferrari, chasing him down.

      On the other hand, it’s hardly difficult for anyone – biased or not – not to see the plethora of rookie-esque fuck ups over the years. Should they all be dismissed by virtue of the fact that Pastor is a GP winner? How far does the respect stretch for the fact he crossed the line first, once, in Spain, in 2012?

      Around here, the TJ13 community, drivers in Formula One with more GP wins, and a greater level of consistent success, with far fewer genuine errors than Pastor Maldonado get dragged over the coals too. Pastor isn’t exactly being targeted unfairly around here, just targeted, and in my opinion, rightly so…

      For what it’s worth, and it should be worth a lot – because I am better than everyone here in almost every way – I don’t rate Susie Wolff at all, despite what some irrelevant and meaningless rookie spouts to the media. Her record, and even the context of it, still does not justify a drive, in my opinion; and certainly not in a decent car like the Williams is currently.

      But – and it’s a big, hairy butt – neither do I think Pastor should have 1) made it to Formula One and, 2) remain in Formula One now.

      The fact Pastor made it to Formula One, given the context of the available talent available at those times, was almost exclusively down the money. If analysed closely and correctly, his junior career is also a bit of an illusion in that yes, he finally did win the GP2 series in his third full season, but look closely and you should see the trend of his less-than-stellar results. He essentially bought his way through with no genuine results indicating he should escalate to another category at any time.

      The fact he has remained in Formula One, given the context of the available talent at these times, is almost exclusively down to money and the very poor economic climate of Formula One. When those petro-dollars dry up, he’s a liability. In fact, even with those petro-dollars, his liability / dollars invested ratio is being viewed closer to liability.

      But if Susie gets a drive, it will be down to the face she has a (probably a very nice) vagina. I don’t feel that’s correct and I do think that doesn’t do anything for women’s equality or bringing women into Formula One. It will just set the cause back further.

      All an opinion, take it or leave it.

      • “For what it’s worth, and it should be worth a lot – because I am better than everyone here in almost every way”

        This part intrigues me.

  8. I think Pastor is a liability now because of all of the accidents. As far as Piech resigning, it will be interesting to see what the coming days bring. I think that his resignation opens the for VAG to enter Formula 1 in 2018.

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