#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday, 26th May 2015


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

The Problem of Computer Simulations

Germany stable, Britain disappointing

It’s too chilly, even for the Iceman

Mercedes: Second engine will have more power

Vettel drops F-bomb on George and Dave

The Problem of Computer Simulations

The biggest problem Mercedes have this year is not Ferrari per sé. The Germans are completely confused by the fact that they have to consider being vulnerable at all. With the huge performance advantage last year, the race weekends were relatively easy. They had to hope for reliability and in the race they would stage manage the strategy based on themselves only as everyone else would be way too far back by lap 10 to be a factor.

This year however there is another team that usually by lap 10 is still within reach and if they manage to do so by half-time still, the men in silver start to fall apart. In Malaysia they were beaten by an alternate strategy, in China they were nearly beaten by their own lead driver playing games with his team mate and in Monaco they just spectacularly mucked it up. And the main culprit is their slavish reliance on computers.

As any computer expert will tell you, believing a computer is about the stupidest thing you can do. Murphy’s law exists for a reason. As Toto Wolff verbosely acknowledged after the race, there had been an inaccuracy in the algorithm or the data somewhere that caused the miscalculation which made them believe they could pit Lewis safely. Just using the good ol’ human brain to question and verify the simulation results did obviously not feature in Mercedes’ plans.

Ignoring other contributing factors like Lewis’ radio-message about the state of his tyres or the fact that he unexpectedly got held up behind the safety car in Rascasse, the main reason boiled down to the fact that Mercedes were worried, Vettel would come in and get fresh supersoft tyres. Now let’s forget for a moment that they gave Mr. V’s overtaking abilities more credit than his recent history suggests is deserved, they could have worked out without a computer that Vettel would never come in. Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull was just 17 seconds behind the Ferrari. So, unless the Gestione Sportiva uses the same ‘pitstop simulator’, there was no reason for the #5 car to come in and it didn’t take a quad core processor to work out.

Perhaps, however, Mercedes just didn’t simulate past the Ferrari car.


Germany stable, Britain disappointing

TV viewership numbers in Germany have plummeted in recent years, but stabilized in 2015. The Monaco Grandprix is no exception. 4.19 million viewers saw the free-to-air broadcast by RTL, a slight reduction over the 4.21 million people last year. Sky Germany however registered a rise in viewership – 370.000 people over 320.000 last year.

On her Majesty’s Island the numbers looked a bit worse. Sky UK suffered a 30% loss of eyeballs. Only 797.000 people saw the race as opposed to 1.1 million last year. BBC’s highlight program saw a moderate improvement: 3.44 million viewers, approximately 100.000 more than in 2014.


It’s too chilly, even for the Iceman

Ferrari’s SF15-T is still not getting the most out of the large Barcelona update, which was meant to eradicate Ferrari’s big weakness – getting heat into the tyres. Problems to heat up the tyres are the downside of being gentle on them in terms of degradation, Ferrari’s weapon of choice in the fight against the dominant force Mercedes.

The biggest problems occur during qualifying. The Saturday in Monaco proved again, just how sensitive the Italian cars are to temperature changes. Between Q1 and Q3 the temperature fell by 5°C and suddenly the red cars were almost a second back, and Kimi Räikkönen complained that he couldn’t even get the supersofts up to operating temperatures.

“It was a little better in the race,” says Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene. “But that’s not the solution. If you think everything is fine, you’re thinking wrong. Barcelona is still present in our memory and we are working on solutions.”


Mercedes: Second engine will have more power

Except for Force India’s VJM-whatever of Nico Hülkenberg all Mercedes powered cars were still using the first power unit in Monaco. During the Monaco weekend Mercedes’ Niki Lauda told RTL that Mercedes wants to rebuild an advantage that allows them to run qualifying and race without having to keep an eye on Vettel’s Ferrari.

Part of that endeavour is the introduction of the second power unit for the Canada GP. “We have the second engine now, while others are already on the fourth,” said the Austrian – rather stating the obvious. “We ran six races with the first unit and both cars finished every time. That’s a great achievement. Now it starts all over again in Canada.”

In contrast to Monaco, where engine power is secondary, the track in Montreal will favour the Mercedes unit with its sequence of long straights, hard braking and slow corners. Lauda refused to tell how many tokens have been used for the second unit, but left no doubt that the R&D department at Brixworth has not been asleep and that reliability and power improvement have been the focus for the first evolution.


Vettel drops F-bomb on George and Dave

The PC brigade was deliriously happy when WEC dropped the tradition of grid girls recently. Monaco went one further and introduced grid boys last weekend, a move that was not universally appreciated. At the end of the post-race presser – Lewis and Nico were already preparing to leave – Mr. V had an opinion to offer:

In an interview with Sky Germany, he elaborated on the matter.

“I’m gutted. If I was into guys, okay, that’d be different, but really, you park your car and stare at the arse of George and Dave. I’m not happy about that. This is Monaco. Grid girls are a tradition and we shouldn’t break with it. Ridiculous.”


36 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday, 26th May 2015

  1. The only reason my wife watches the grid and start with me are the girls and the crashes. After that she is bored. I’m with Vettel on the grid girl issue. They do not necessarily have to wear tight stuff, but a nice girly smile in a world of men and cars brightens the day.

  2. How you can strongly dislike (maybe even hate a bit) Vettel for 4 years, to absolutely loving him now. Grid girls are missed indeed. Its not like they were grid sluts (disrespecting women) or anything?

    • The hippo never disliked or hated vettel. (Mostly it was the only thing I agreed upon with him 😂)

  3. Grid girls: “Tradition” has to be the worst justification for doing anything ever. The past has no moral authority over the present or the future.

    On the grid girl thing, I see a parallel in WEC moving with the times, staging good races and increasing audiences vs F1’s confused pining for past glories, boring races and dwindling audiences.

    I don’t have a particular problem with lycra-clad ladies holding sticks but I think times have changed. Let it go. Move on.

    • But, but, but Roger… It’s TRADITION!

      And I for one am very, very upset at this change, at this shameless objectification of men. For too long this has been going on (one race is too long) and I think we should be setting better standards for our young boys; instead of teaching them that all they can be is good looking sex objects.

      We have brains you know, Roger! I won’t Abide… (See what I did there?)

      Those body shapes… and their beautiful, euro-androgynous, sexually confused striking looks… It’s all just so unachievable!

      I spent most of the Monaco GP forcing myself into old jeans, spewing into the toilet and uncontrollably crying as I sat on my bathroom floor.

      Thanks Lewis, thanks for spraying that poor defenceless girl, thanks for forcing men globally to feel inferior; as if we weren’t already hung up with our penis length…


    • While I understand and support the quest for gender equality, I’m flabbergasted as to where the recent focus on grid girls comes from. After all, employing attractive hostesses at large events is a standard procedure for almost everybody who tries to promote a product. I’m sure if you go to the Olympics, the Soccer World Cup or any other large sporting event, you will find countless good looking young ladies payed to stand around, look nice and wear sponsoring logos on their tight fitting clothes. The same is true for trade fairs, concerts, parties and larger cities even your weekend visist to your favorite local club or bar. Why on earth is F1 getting put on the sport for a standard marketing procedure?

      As far as Sebastians complaint goes, I think the grid boys thing was a rather humorous and clever move from Tag Heuer

      • It isn’t the standard procedure for all areas. In IT the tactic of putting a nice hostess on your stand, that doesn’t know the product at all, is in decline. If a company does it anyway you just know the product that they sell is rubbish.
        It also applies for beer, if they use beautiful women to promote it, the taste will be terrible. (for instance Bavaria)

    • I don’t see the problem. They’re hardly on the grid in skimpy outfits. Plus it’s obviously a job they like doing or they wouldn’t do it. Why try and oppress women by telling them what jobs they can and can’t do. That’s surely the opposite of what feminism is trying to achieve. Why should they not be allowed to feel good about their appearance getting chosen to be a grid girl because a few people think it’s sexist. Are we going to stop modelling because it’s sexist?
      If facism wins and the grid girls have to go why not let fans who enter a comptetion to do it instead. Like mascots at the football.

  4. “lycra-clad”
    You would be referring to MotoGP’s grid girls there. Now that’s objectifying women. Nothing like that on the F1 grid for the past few years (maybe even a decade or longer). Its a shame they got removed this way because its not because of morals, its purely because of the backlash Hamilton received after China’s (non-)incident on the podium. Its looking for a problem where there are none IMHO (and plenty of girls/models missing a nice weekend wager).

    I’m annoyed, not because of the decision itself but because of the reason and the lack of changes/decision making in other area’s pivotal for F1’s survival.

    • By the way, if they want to express equality they should have a mix of grid boys and girls.

    • @Alex:

      ..its purely because of the backlash Hamilton received after China’s (non-)incident on the podium….

      [citation needed]

      • Window shopping is fine, it’s when you start trying on for size they get a little upset.

    • Just because it is not allowed in your relationship doesn’t mean that it is the only way to do things. Some married people agree/pretend not to stare, some allow it. Some married people allow touching others or more.

      Is long as both partners agree, it’s none of our business (and if they don’t, it’s still not).

      • It becomes every ones business when you open your mouth in a presser.
        This is the first time I´m disappointed with Seb, what a stupid thing to say.

        • What was stupid about it? He likes more women in a male-dominated environment. Arguably a more feminist opinion than the people clamoring for pit boys.

          Or did you want him to pretend he is asexual and doesn’t enjoy looking at beautiful women?

          Since you didn’t actually explain why you think it was stupid, it is rather hard to argue with you though…

          • I work in a completely male dominated world, with very few exceptions, should I say that want to keep the few females because I don´t want to watch male bottoms?
            It is his work place and arse watching does not belong there, ever, unless you live in the 60´s.
            I hope this is explanation enough.

    • You’re in the car surrounded by men’s crotches and one shapely woman’s butt; I know which direction I’d be staring.

      • I suggest that tomorrow you to your work place and start ogling female coworkers bottoms and when you are called to the bosses office, tell him/her that it is completely acceptable practise in F1, approved by 4 time champion none the less and the supreme dictator of the sport.
        Then time how long it takes you to be on your shapely butt on the sidewalk.

        Most of the silliness in F1 is hugely entertaining but this 60´s style sexims is getting overdue for scrapping.

        • If you’re in an office where the only choice of view is men’s crotches or a shapely female butt, is it mandatory to focus on the male crotches?

          • I would recommend to concentrate on the work at hand and stop ogling crotches, male or female. Or was you comment witty and I´m thick.

          • If you’re in an office where the only choice of view is men’s crotches or a shapely female butt…

            Pretty strange office.
            Unless you’re a porn producer ?

  5. Off topic, but I’m wondering if thejudge and others on this site can help with this – I want to go to the race on sunday at Silverstone this year. Late I know, but I’ve got my cousin coming over from abroad and he’s only just made this decision to come over recently. It will be my first time going to a GP, and so wanted some advice as to which ticket at Silverstone would offer the best value for money in terms of the views of the cars and a good view of a screen on which to watch the race when cars aren’t in that part of the track.
    The remaining tickets available for the Sunday are as follows:
    General Admission – £155
    Luffield Block 1A – £299
    Luffield Block 1B – £299
    Village A Block 2 – £259
    Village B Block 2 – £289
    Woodcote B Block 2 – £274

    I’ve left out those seats over £300 as I don’t really want to be spending over that amount. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Luffield 1B would be my pick from those. You’ll get to see some potential overtaking at the end of the Wellington straight and see the cars for a considerable amount of the lap compared to other parts of the track. That said, you don’t get the feeling of speed that you’d get from Becketts or Abbey – but it’s unlikely to see an overtake at either of those.


    • Either of the Luffield ones would be great as you see the cars come into Woodcote and all the way around Luffield, before disappearing down the old strart-finish line.

      General admission is actually better for views imo (there’s a fantastic GA area at Luffield that gets right up close to the cars) BUT the downside is that the good spaces are normally taken by 8-9am…I say don’t risk and just get Luffield 🙂

      • Anil the Mercedes team have only used one power unit so far…. Next time just ask Matt or read his technical document drop….😉😉

      • Thanks Anil and Paul. With general admission, how early would we have to get there to get a good spot? Also, will we get access to walk on track after the race is finished?

  6. There were a lot of empty seats at the Indianapolis 500 and Charlotte 600 (NASCAR) this weekend. Overall racing interest is dropping and through Europe and the west it is likely demographically driven. We are aging populations and the next generations seem to have little to no interest in racing.
    For me personally the Ecclestone way of doing business is dampening my interest in F1 Payments to the teams so out of whack, the constant berating of the engine formula and the push to eliminate constructors, the constant leverage games, sucking every penny he can out of anything (think paying for timing here), he alone does more damage to the actual racing then any other cause.

    If they increase the thermal efficiency of the PU by 10% we’ll have more than 1000 hp. If there was a budget cap ($150M US) then the chassis rules, other than safety, could be virtually dropped and we would have raging beasts on the track again. Then, they go and dig up the paved run off areas and put back gravel traps, make the drivers pay for mistakes again.

  7. What’s the score with the new front wing deflection tests?

    Any know what prompted this and if so which team it relates to etc?

  8. Hopefully the next ceremonial change we’ll see will be removal of the presentation talking heads….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.