April 20, 2015

2015 Bahrain Executive Summary

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(via Yas Marina Circuit Twitter)

The gorgeous choreography helped what in the end was short of a truly exciting race.   What perfect metaphor for today's F1, a gorgeously lit, expensive, impossible to get to oasis in the middle of the desert.  

But hey, sparks!

Obviously Lewis is in the zone and at one with his Mercedes.  Only a minor mechanical glitch made things potentially more interesting at the end.   Another thing not to like in this formula:  I'm all for a driver having to manage his brakes, but not electronic brake components that just shut off from a moment to the next through no real fault of his own.  Where's the fun and challenge in that?

With this result Hamilton can now afford a DNF and still lead the championship.

Rosberg looked positively Barrichello-esque.   He attacked and passed the two Ferraris very well but, for whatever reason, he never really attacked Hamilton.   Inexplicable.

Raikkonen was not impressed with his second place,  that's why we love him.

Vettel, I suppose even a 4 time Champion can have an off race which he certainly did.  But Seb made no excuses for himself and that's great.

Bottas, his back must be better.

Alonso:  F1 needs him and Mclaren to be up front and fighting.   This race showed the racer is still there,  release the kraken Honda!

Maldonado was just amazingly Pastorical, there was no runoff he left unexplored on lap 1, a legend.

Final Standings

April 17, 2015

Vettel risks a penalty: was his wheel really loose?

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...or is someone just trying to stir the pot?

Both Vettel and Perez were cleared for their on track collision which the German attributed to brake failure followed by "F-in Perez" taking his wing off but Adam Cooper revealed race stewards  are looking at the Ferrari driver with an eye towards a possible "Unsafe Release" penalty.

"The FIA takes an unsafe release in practice particularly seriously as clearly there is less urgency than in a race, and also more people are in the pitlane. The rules states: “If a car is deemed to have been released in an unsafe condition during any practice session, the stewards may drop the driver such number of grid positions as they consider appropriate.”

Cooper goes on to suggest a rival team is going around saying Ferrari was using "Brake Failure" as a radio code word for "you didn't screw the wheel on right".

Mercedes must be more nervous than it lets on.

Also this happened, it seems where Maldonado is going, he doesn't need roads.

April 16, 2015

Not a quitter: Happy Birthday Frank Williams!

Frank Williams and Patrick Head in 1978

Famously,  Williams  was once so broke his company phone was cut off.   Did he complain,  demand help from other teams or threaten to leave the sports?  No, he ran the race team from a pay phone.

A broken back did not keep him from reaching the pinnacles of the sport,  he and his team are  F1's treasures along with Ferrari and McLaren.

Cheers Sir Frank, happy 73rd!

April 13, 2015

What kind of Mickey Mouse organization allows cars to run tracks the wrong way?


I propose a new tactic:  Safety Shaming.

Another instructor was killed at a track event because owners refuse to do the right thing.

I really don't want to hear from the "Motorsport is dangerous" crowd,  most of them probably don't race or instruct and in any case there a clear line between dangerous and plain idiotic.

I don't know the company, Exotic Driving, that ran this particular event, it seems to be one of those "experience" organizations that include the MSRP  with the cars specs. but the track is owned by Disney and operated by Richard Petty a name that should carry a modicum of respectability and responsibility beyond cashing checks.

Evidently Disney allowed someone to decide it would be fine to run cars clockwise on a track designed to be a counterclockwise oval and Exotic Driving was fine with it.

What could possibly go wrong?

One rule of safety is that if something can go wrong, sooner of later it will.  That's why the subject is so frustrating and so complicated to deal with.

What tragically happened here  however does not take a rocket scientist to calculate.   A car lost control on the fastest part of the track and skidded into the ARMCO protecting the service position.   The ARMCO is placed to protect from cars coming in the opposite direction,  hit from the wrong side it transforms into a deadly spear.

Another driving instructor killed and a driver's life possibly ruined for no reason other that organizers thinking about cashing checks first.


Read more HERE and HERE

Please take a moment to join the Motorsport Safety Foundation

2015 Chinese GP Executive Summary

Lewis Hamilton Chines GP 2015 (Mercedes AMG Petronas)

As expected, Mercedes was back on the top steps of the podium in China after that stinging defeat at the hands of Ferrari and tire wear in the Malaysian heat.   The only surprise perhaps that it was able to do so using the softer, option, tire.

Third place for Vettel just ahead of Raikkonen.   Three races in and Ferrari has already scored half the points it had for the whole of the 2014 season.   Fair to say they under promised and over delivered so far.  Arrivabene will have to carefully manage expectations but it's clear that,  for the first time in years, the Scuderia is not on the back foot.
One feels for Fernando but you must wonder if there was something toxic in the mix  or if it is simply the case of all the pieces finally falling into place.    From the outside we will never learn the whole truth but perhaps Raikkonen's pace against Vettel this year is a key.

Hamilton's victory was a result of qualifying. He made sure at the start to cut in front of Rosberg because he knew clean air was the key to making the tires last.     When Rosberg pushed him, Lewis backed him up into Vettel, compromising both their performances to an extent.
Strategically, a good move.   Had Nico done it you can be sure he would have been lambasted for playing dirty.    On the other hand Hamilton would probably just have passed him on track so, while it's a shame F1 still has not figured out how to make aero regulations that allow cars to follow each other closely, Rosberg's post race bitching will just enhance his sanitary napkin wearing reputation this year.   Don't hate the player, hate the game Nico.

If you wonder why Mercedes did not split strategies and have Rosberg go long on primes in the middle stint, well maybe there's a reason Hamilton has been delaying signing his contract and talking so much about Ferrari lately.   Now the pattern is now pretty much set, more so if Ferrari continues to pressure.   It must be incredibly frustrating for Rosberg.

Star of the race: Verstappen.   Anyone complaining about young kids with "little experience" coming into F1 forget Raikkonen,  world champion or Vettel, four time champion, both had "little experience".    Proof is in the pudding and it's clear Max will be in a top team in two years or less.

Unfortunately, Verstappen verstoppen right in front of the packed grandstands with four laps to go.  It was his second engine related  retirement in three races.

Clown show of the race:  Button. Unless all the drivers made a deal that they would take turns punting Maldonado off the track this year and it was Jenson's turn.

April 12, 2015

The sickening sound of a Renault F1 engine self-destructing


Painful, isn't it?

The Renault at the back of Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso exploded with four laps to go in the Chinese Grand Prix,  the second engine related retirement in three races for Verstappen ruining another impressive performance by the 17 year old.

Hope Cyril Abiteboul packed his boxing gloves for China too...

Adding injury to insult,  the Toro Rosso crew had to endure a less than white glove treatment from the track marshals who kept smashing their expensive front wing into a wall...  not their exasperated expressions.     Amazing the same series that races in Monaco where every station has a dolly jack for sliding cars could not get their shit together in China and forced the race to finish under yellow.


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