The #TJ13 #F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 9th June 2015


Strange Mercedes decisions continue

Schumacher jr. injured in Formula-4 race

‘Big Four’ trying to get rid of smaller teams

Strange Mercedes decisions continue

If you have a car as ridiculously superior as the last two Mercedes offerings, you have a luxury problem. You have two drivers, who under normal circumstances will at least finish second, and neither of them wants to be the one who does. The historical precedent of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988 has shown that such a situation is a blow-up waiting to happen. Mercedes’ approach to this conundrum is trying to manage it and there are three-hundred and eleventy team-internal rules that define what will be done and how, under which circumstances, depending on the ambient temperature.

That’s all jolly well and quite effective in deciding who gets the undercut and who goes out first in Q3, but as soon as one variable changes and no pertinent rule can be found in Merc’s rule book, they tend to add to their long list of questionable, if not down-right daft decisions. Montreal featured two of those. The smaller one was to give Lewis Hamilton full information on Rosberg’s car at a time when the German was closing in, while denying Rosberg the same a few laps later after being slapped across the wrist for a radio-ban infraction. For a team that represents one of the worlds biggest car manufacturers giving out a message like the one they did to Lewis is simply laughingly unprofessional. The coaching ban has been in place for a year now.

The one that really had me scratch my head was the decision to send out Rosberg on his first Q3 run with a set of tyres that the team knew was produced on a Monday after a football game and they didn’t tell him until Rosberg called in to tell them that inexplicably his car had no more rear-end grip. As it turned out, it was the extra set that every Q3 participant gets and it has to be used or given back, but telling Rosberg beforehand that it was a bad set would have caused him to expect it instead of getting worried what had happened to his car. In a battle that is often decided by a tenth of a second and less, unsettling their own driver like that is daft to say the least and shows yet again, just how much Mercedes would need someone like Ross Brawn.


Schumacher jr. injured in Formula-4 race

Mick-Schumacher-Formel-4-Oschersleben-2015-articleTitle-bc5cd2d1-860026Mick Schumcher’s first weekend out of karts had been a success with the son of seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher taking his maiden win in just his 3rd race. His recent weekend at the Red Bull Ring was less successful however. Taken out of the first race in a collision after the start, the German was running tenth in race two, which would have given him pole for race three as the last race of a weekend features a reversed top-10 on the grid.

However, of course Austrian Thomas Preining in eleventh coveted that position too and nerfed Schumacher jr. into the wall after running into the back of baby-Schu’s car. The German was taken to the medical centre and diagnosed with a broken hand, therefore missing race three. It looks like the young lad learns about the ups and downs of racing at a speed that befits his bloodline.


‘Big Four’ trying to get rid of smaller teams

For everyone but the most saintly innocents among us, there is one major rule to observe when lying through your teeth – keep the line of bull you’re selling consistent. That is a lesson that was apparently taught when young Maurizio Arrivabene had been home with a bad case of logorrhea. When the news surfaced that there had been a meeting of the now infamous Strategy Group, but neither Williams nor Force India had been invited, the Italian explained that such was not necessary as their interests had been represented in the form of their engine supplier Mercedes.

Both Claire Williams and Bob Fernley denied ever having given a mandate to Mercedes to represent their interests. The message here is clear. As Mercedes’ b*tches, they aren’t supposed to have any differing opinion, so why bother inviting them? We have reported before that the engine manufacturers are starting to forge an alliance, and it looks like the strategy group is their first testing ground. If I was Bernie, I’d be watching my back…


40 responses to “The #TJ13 #F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 9th June 2015

  1. You are completely correct in regards to ROS quali, in fact it was worse as Nico clearly expected/wanted a 2nd run in Q2 amd seemed rather blindsided when one was not forthcoming. Those are the sorts of strategy elements you would expect to be communicated to the driver.

    With regards to HAM however I am more than willing to give them a pass for 2 reasons: 1) that the coaching ban has been in effect much less time than it hasn’t and 2) Peter Bonnington, HAM’s engineer, lost his father the prior week. Given those circumstances, I can’t really see there’s anything in it other than a loss of concentration on the part of someone who had every reason to not even be there.

    • But what would he have gained by doing a 2nd lap in Q2? They were already comfortably through and given that Seb was out of Q2 and they both had the upper hand on Kimi, so it was not needed. The only benefit in doing so, would’ve been for the drivers confidence as we have seen most recently, Nico somehow needs to have a sort of momentum before going into Q3 and for him, that’s topping Q2. But what if he had gone out and ended up in the wall whilst pushing to better his time? I know it’s all ‘what if’s’, but Mercedes would’ve been crucified yet again for making another silly call, just like in FP2.

      As for not telling him about the tire, I view that as a double edged sword. Telling him would’ve probably unsettled him just the same. So you might as well just let him go out and do the best he can.

      • It’s not so much what might be gained it’s the fact that ROS seemed to have no clue that was the plan till he was sat in garage after first Q2 run.

        Though one can make a case, there’s a potential benefit to not telling him re tyres, at their level it amounts to magical thinking. You need to tell driver so they can be prepared for extra oversteer before they leave pitlane, otherwise you are inviting Kimi level spin.

    • Mercedes obviously have employed the old Q3, Pole as the deciding factor. If that does not work, then your brakes are bad, or you there, your low on fuel.

      Mercedes have lots of time in the bank to play with, both with drivers and the rest of the field. Today Hornbonker and Renot are crying and kicking. Renault will go in ’17. So funny Renault was the (what shall we say) push to what we have now.

      I have only been a fan for as long as I can. When I was a child all I can recall having access on TV would be Monaco. Even today we get a shite ton of commercials.

      I still enjoy this I wish I could call it a sport. It is however what it is. Vettel managed to advance through the field with 3 stops I think. What if Massa in the Williams had pushed and done a 3 stopper?

      I will voice my opinion. This racing is way too managed. Be it from the pit wall down. Alonso made a great point. Let me have fun now.

      • That’s great, and I agree racing is far too managed these days. I think some of the drivers we see as the best; Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, would only benefit more from some secrecy in their set up and race craft. In the Merc instance I don’t think ti was managed, as whilst Nico was getting brake cautions (make sense as he was following like Lewis last year), but it was Lewis they were telling was low on fuel (makes sense as he was faster in the first stint). I think the lack of ‘racing’ was simply due to having two very fast cars, two very fast drivers, and the slightly faster one in front too, and the cars this year really not being as easy to follow as last year. I can’t fathom why this years cars are so tough to follow, I thought the drop in downforce was supposed to aid this, but clearly the nose has disrupted airflow in some serious ways.

        • Interesting nuance to that is probably cars were fueled for SC but also HAM stating his engine thirstier than ROS at same Eco settings. Further, apparently HAM was told to push then save, but he said opposite was better as keeping grip in old tyres harder when fuel saving. That’s why race looked closer in middle.

  2. Both Hamilton and Rosberg pitted after their 1st run, and both had a set of new tires for their final run. Unless you know otherwise, it can be assumed both were on used tires for run one.

    As I asked in a previous comment, could Rosberg not knowing what tires he was using be an artifact of ceding “Race Engineer” status, which is Hamilton’s “other” title on his side of the garage.

    Two more thoughts: 1) one would think the driver would be informed of what tires he was on but 2) one would also think the driver would notice the glaring difference in new and used tires before he left the garage – or, at absolute worst, on his way down pit lane.

    • “Unless you know otherwise, it can be assumed both were on used tires for run one.”
      Yes, I know different. Both runs in Q3 were on new tyres. As Hippo said ” it was the extra set that every Q3 participant gets and it has to be used or given back”.

      As for driver coaching, I will wait for full driver & pit radio comms to be published before deciding who was getting more of the coaching.

      Incidentally, Rosberg’s decline in performance can be traced back to date of the introduction of the ban on driver coaching in 2014. His legendary cerebral skills need feeding to work, and he has been suffering on the track without that food.

      • Craig- both runs of Hamilton were on new tires? How’d you find out – I can’t find a reference to anything that tells us this.

        Does this mean Rosberg used a new set previous to Q3 and was forced to use an old set? Are you and Hippo saying The team purposely sabotaged his Q3 runs?

        It’s interesting that post race Rosberg twice mentioned lack of grip as a reason he couldn’t properly mount a charge v. Hamilton.

        • They both did their first Q3 run on new option tires, they started qualifying with 3 sets of the option tires. They made it through to Q2 on the ‘primes’ and did only one run in Q2. Entering into Q3, they had 2 sets of options plus they were then given an extra set which they had to give back and that’s the tire they used for their first run.

          After qualifying they both had a new set of option tires available.

          • Correct, and the extra set was the bad set they sent Rosberg out for his first run. From a strategical perspective it was the right thing to do as you want to keep the good sets for the race. The Mistake was not telling Rosberg that one set was pushing the tolerances. Instead the left him out guessing why his car was suddenly unbalanced.

  3. I support the engine manufacturers forging an alliance if it helps send Bernie to the unemployment line. The changes that are needed in Formula 1 won’t happen until Bernie is in the unemployment line or has passed away. Yes, a manufacturer alliance has its own set of risks but the potential benefit is a huge one. Maurizio Arrivabene has been around the sport long enough to know how the games are played and to have ideas about how to beat Bernie at his own games. I like what he has said and done so far in his time as team principal at Ferrari. The manufacturers know that the sport can’t change, grow, and move forward until Bernie is gone. With the amount of money that each one has invested in the sport, they are probably looking at every possible avenue every GP weekend in attempt to send Bernie packing. They’ve probably already had discussions about who they want to take his place too.

    • I still don’t buy that there will be a significant change when Berne leaves. There may be a perception of change, But I don’t believe Bernie is doing anything CVC is opposed to.
      I believe the real change will come only when CVC sells their interest in F1.

  4. FOM are paying a lot attention to radio messages, to be honest there’s not a lot else going on. Rosberg is well aware of this and he’s playing for the sympathy vote. He knows the tyre situation, so he makes a complaint that the set he’s just used are rubbish. His engineer/mate plays along. Big deal. Come the next race, he’ll have another excuse ready.

  5. I have to admit that I don’t understand anything about the Ham-Ros article. Haven’t seen the radio comms to decipher whether ‘coaching’ to Lewis was indeed that. And if so, why is there no penalty? Was Rosberg asking for something beyond and above and hence got the slap on the wrist? And then the whole tyres thing, just don’t understand it, sorry.

    But just reading the article, it looks as if the author tries to get the message across that Merc are favouring Hamilton. Truth of the matter is this, since mid-season last year, Rosberg has been failing to challenge Lewis, which has also coincided with the ban in coaching during the race and Lewis maturing and just delivering to his potential.
    All the rest are sour grapes.

    • They told Lewis that Rosberg was marginal on brakes, which is forbidden. Merc got reprimanded and when Rosberg later asked about Lewis’ fuel, he got told ‘cant comment’.

      It’s not so much a case of favouring Lewis, just utterly unprofessional on behalf of the team. You would expect a team like Merc to know that they mustn’t give Lewis that message.

      • So how did Nico know to ask about how marginal Lewis was on fuel? Clearly he must have been told about it in a radio transmission that we haven’t heard. I doubt Nico would’ve known that before hand.

        So if anything, they were both given information about what was happening to each other’s car and then the stewards stepped in to put a stop to it.

        So the unprofessionalism you refer to, has to go both ways.

        • Wrong. Canada is a fuel-critical circuit. It’s normal that he wants to know if his opponent needs to save fuel. There was no prior message. Wolff admitted after the race that the message to Lewis was wrong and that they’d got a warning over it.

          • And where can I find those comments? I’ve not seen or heard anyone make any reference to the radio transmission, so this seems like a non story in my book.

          • DO you occasionally actually watch the race, Fortis? 😉 It was live on TV and since it is a world feed you get the same content in Blighty that we get over here.

          • Oh I do hippo, but my broadcaster does not show interviews in any other language. Furthermore I did not see his interview, hence why I asked..😏

          • The interview was with Toto Wolff in German on Sky Germany. He’s their goto-guy more than Lauda, because Tanja Bauer, the interviewer is Austrian as well and has known Wolff quite well. She’s pretty good at cutting through his red tape. It’s becoming my favourite part of the broadcast as she had him squirming on more than one occasion.

      • The actual message I heard was telling HAM he was fuel critical and ROS was brake critical. Not sure if HAM asked specifically about that as I only heard Bonningtons message to HAM. F1F usually publish radio transcript will have a look later and see if it’s up. And yes as I stated earlier in the circumstances an understandable error.

    • @McLaren78

      Hear, hear…

      “just reading the article, it looks as if the author tries to get the message across that Merc are favouring Hamilton.”

      Barcelona was telling… It was obvious how Merc stage-managed Rosberg’s win yet we didn’t hear too many complaints if any from some quarters on how scandalous it was to favour Nico and how atrocious Merc’s management was or insinuations of how undeserving Nico was. And contrast this to the debacle from Monza 2014, where scandalous race-fixing expletives were flying all around, because then the “right” driver was in first place.

      “Truth of the matter is this, since mid-season last year, Rosberg has been failing to challenge Lewis, which has also coincided with the ban in coaching during the race and Lewis maturing and just delivering to his potential.”

      …and his car not popping up whenever the Leprechaun sneezes.

      • Would you enlighten us as to how Barcelona was stage-managed? As far as I remember Lewis had a wee bit problems getting pas a Ferrari and that’s why Rosberg won.

        • If only. Nico won because when Hamilton found himself in front of Rosberg on prime tyres, and tyre-deg patterns showed that he could easily try to go on those tires to the end and fend off Nico on the infamous overtaking-unfriendly track… the Merc management found it wise, of course, to restore “equality” between their two brats by forcing Lewis into a pit-stop of doubtful necessity and thus gifting Nico the win.

          Stage-managed it was, and big time. Matt covered this pretty well on the podcast that week…

          • Funny how not any commentator, journalist or broadcaster was of the same opinion. Lewis’ strategy had been changed to get past Vettel, which didn’t work because the team botched the first pitstop. However all of Lewis’ stops were planned. That was fanboy frustration speaking in your comment, not any real knowledge of what happened in the race.

          • “That was fanboy frustration speaking in your comment, not any real knowledge of what happened in the race.”

            Please keep the fanboy comments to yourself. And feel free to throw such accusations to Matt, too…

            “However all of Lewis’ stops were planned. ”

            While you are correct to point out it was plan B “as planned”, when it was decided to switch from plan A to plan B (+1 stop), it is also true that Lewis could very well switch back to plan A once the Vettel threat was annihilated and there was no real need for the additional stop altogether. This was a valid, winning race strategy for the Hamilton side of the Merc garage, and Hamilton wanted to stay out and the Merc pitwall was in a bind whether to force him to stop an additional time and gift Rosberg the win, when Hamilton had track position and sufficient tyre-deg in hand to survive to the very end.

            And before you accuse me again of “not any real knowledge of what happened in the race”, go listen to the podcast.

          • I don’t know what it is with your Vettel hatred that makes you unable to refer to anything concerning him in anything but martial or even derogatory terms, but you better try to control it. Contributors of this site are not immune to being put in moderation. I speak from personal experience. Nobody was anihilated.

          • Whoa! I did not say anything derogatory about Vettel above. Vettel was a “threat” to Merc getting a 1-2, and that threat was “annihilated” when Hamilton wound up up the road in front of the Ferrari.

            But your moderation threat is entirely gratuitous and uncalled for.

          • You annihilate threats if you blanket bomb a third world country. We’re talking about a car race here, not Vietnam. And it’s not the first time you’ve gotten your vocabulary wrong. I’ve been slapped for that, as have been others, so I don’t see a reason why you should be handled differently.

          • “All of Lewis’ stop was planned”…..

            Really? So are you saying they knew in advance that he would be 3rd and struggling to get pass Seb after lap one?

          • All teams have a primary and a backup strategy and both are meticulously planned before the race. They mere switched to plan B when Lewis dropped behind Vettel and couldn’t overtake.

          • @hippo….

            I think you’re taking Landroni’s use of the word ‘annihilate’ way out of context.

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