July 11, 2011

2011 British GP Executive Summary

Alonso clips wings, Horner flies the bull

It’s part of the Red Bull ethics to allow our drivers to race, and that’s what we’ve done, as I believe McLaren allow their drivers to do likewise. That was a very clear team instruction today that handed the race win from one driv“er to another. It’s wrong that the drivers weren’t allowed to compete with each other.”
- Christian Horner, July 27 2010

I have zero issues with team orders and it's clear that for Red Bull Sunday, it was the right thing to do. Vettel is their number 1 driver and is the one the title sponsor wants to win every race. Webber, to Helmut Marko and company, is just a guy lucky to have a seat who would have been asked to move over had he been ahead. What I don't like are hypocrites so it was quite amusing to hear the Red Bull team manager today proclaiming F1 a "team sport" and squirming the party line of "it would have ended in an accident" after all the bloviating and moralizing he offered almost a year ago after the German GP.

But let's move on, after what was the most boring race of the season in Valencia, Silverstone offered up a classic thanks to the weather but also thanks to the venue. Long live Silverstone even with its new "slow" corners it's magnificent for F1 cars.

The background of the race was one of the biggest regulatory FAILS in recent memory. Nobody seemed to understand what was going on with the blown exhaust re-regualtions and why Red Bull and Mercedes were given dispensation or who ran what at Silverstone.

Conditions at the start were ideal for a Lewis Hamilton comeback from 10th on the grid, a position he found himself in, not because the car was weak but because of the vagaries of British weather in qualifying. Mclaren was right up there in race pace and Hamilton did not disappoint the fans as he clawed his way up the standings.

But here is where I will get my British friends mad at us...again: Hamilton may be a great passer but he's not a smart racer. He has no patience, he seems to think only of what's immediately in front of him, not the long term goal. Sunday, he made a brilliant pass on Alonso who did not fight him especially hard but instead let him go and burn his tires, something Hamilton did as per his usual script.
Contrast with Alonso's patience in the early part of the race and his explosive set of laps just before and right after his final stop. Even more to the point Alonso's ability to keep the long term goals of Ferrari in focus. He has not complained all season when the car was slow, he did not run into other teams motor homes, he did not go to the media blaming overwork for bad results, he did not complain about conspiracies against him.

All that finally paid off at Silverstone on the anniversary of Ferrari's first F1 victory, I'm sure this win must feel very sweet for the Scuderia. I'm equally sure Mclaren wish they had more of that attitude in coming from the Hamilton. (and god, those phony comments after the checkered... eeeck)

We might want to discuss the final incident with Massa and Hamilton, I say good call. I'm sure there would have been a penalty if the roles had been reversed but as it was, it was fine. Great to see Felipe on the charge like that.

Sorry about Jenson, his pass on Massa was the best of the race. Finally, am I the only one impressed by Perez?

I confess I had little time no time this week end to edit the usual Ex Sum but the BBC did a fine job for us, Thanks Beeb!



  1. Horner is the face of today's "corporate" F1, and IMHO that's a four letter word. Given the quote you've so fittingly referenced, the only logical conclusion is that the party line he's selling only assumes we are all idiots.

    I'd love to see the Red Bull party cut short . . . I'd rather see a real team, with a real soul . . . put them back where they belong. It's so much more fun when real criminals are running the show

  2. This is what Dietrich Mateschitz said last year:

    “Let the two drivers race and what will be will be, If Alonso wins we will have been unlucky. I predict a Hollywood ending. Worst case scenario we don’t become champion? We’ll do it next year.

    “But our philosophy stays the same because this is sport and it must remain sport. We don’t manipulate things like Ferrari do.”

  3. Bloody hypocrites over at Redbull

  4. @anonymous couldn't agree more. if webber did overtake vettel p2 & p3 were still secured so either horner don't trust his drivers or marko really does run the show.

    otherwise it was a fantastic race. real shame about kobayashi & di resta though. they were on track for great results.

  5. AC said:

    "...But here is where I will get my British friends mad at us...again: Hamilton may be a great passer but he's not a smart racer. He has no patience, he seems to think only of what's immediately in front of him, not the long term goal..."

    Maybe you should look into other perspective.

    Maybe Lewis knew that once the track get dry, his performance advantage would be gone because McLaren was really affected by FIA's mess.

    He was faster in the changeable conditions, in a damp track where driving skills really counts.

    And what you are forgetting in your post is to thank Hamilton. Was Lewis who gave Fernando the chance to disappear while he fought hard against Vettel's Red Bull.

    Anyway, I dont know why you are so bothered about Hamilton here while you should be celebrating like crazy a great win from Ferrari.

    A guess it shows that your hate towards Hamiton is bigger than you love for Ferrari or that you would love to have a passionate racer like Hamilton driving a Ferrari.

    The TRUE Tifosi would be really passionate about him and his spirit.

  6. Becken, I'm sure what's bothering him is Lewis' apparent lack of vision twixt the 'red mist'. He went of track in your' changing conditions' more than once trying to make unadvised passes, throwing away his chances to keep ahead of Alonso and win the race. His wet driving skills are useless if he's literally giving up 5 or six seconds each time he goes off mowing the grass. This is especiaslly frustrating if you think he's got the ability to throw Vettel off the top of the champion standings.

    I tend to agree with AC here. If he'd stayed on track and waited to make a pass that would stick, he could well have had a podium or even challenged for 1st. Like I said, you can have all the speed in the world but if you throw it into the gravel trap it is utterly useless.

  7. @jeff apart from outbraking himself 2x i'm not sure to what red mist you're referring. mclaren was on the back foot all weekend, but their race pace was far better than expected. afaict, the team's fuel calculations were way off for lewis and that's what compromised his race.

    that said, alonso drove a great race and red bull & ferrari were perhaps too strong, but it was certainly a case of what might have been for mclaren.

  8. As a Mclaren fan I can see where AC's opinion of LH comes from.

    He IS very impatient in traffic and does often damage his tyres in his haste to get past. He's also not terribly circumspect, but it makes him frustrating and endearing at the sme time to watch.

    He definitely needs to lose the whiney, petulant demeanour he gives off when things don't go 100% though.

    (He's also been giving us some great new excuses)

  9. @jeff

    Who went into the gravel in Q1 and luckily found an escape road? He was so close to screwing up his weekend right there.

  10. Thanks shinronin. Thats my point. Hamilton knew that once the track got dry, driving skills would be useless against superior machinery.

    He was in a hurry in that moment because knew that. McLaren was handicaped all weekend because of EBD ban.

    It is easy to bash Hamilton without look to the details in the race.

    I can concede that Lewis is impatient, but his impatient is in par with Vettel or Alonso, who get a penalty in the same Silverstone last year because couldn't overtake Kubica:


    Who knows if Alonso was more impatient in Abu Dhabi last year against Petrov, AC wouldn't have been celebrating the third Alonso´s title righ now?

    But what really disappoint me is that AC dont have a little bit of grace in winning. The guy prefers to bash Hamilton and spit some confusing comments about "team orders" when we all know that Ferrari fans dont have any right to discuss any aspect of team orders.

    Go to celebrate Ferrari's win, man. It is more healthy than spread more hate in the internet.

  11. You can't really blame Hamilton for expecting to win each race. He came into f1 at the highest level and almost won the championship in his first season. It's all about expectation. Maybe alonso is happy to drive around for 2hrs and come 10th as long as he gets paid mega bucks. Hamilton just wants to win every time. Maybe Hamilton would be more grounded if he came into f1 through lower teams, but its not his fault that he didn't. I would much prefer 100% passion than acceptance of lower standards.

  12. It's funny how people come to this blog and bash AC for voicing his opinion(on his blog none the less). If you wanted to see that typical post race commentary celebrating Ferrari's win(which by the way was mentioned in the post above) then I'm sure there are other F1 blogs that will quench that thirst.

    As for Hamilton, it was very clear he was getting impatient this race. Going off track in the same spot twice attempting to pass someone. He could have even made the podium if he could do a better job of conserving his tires. That being said, he still had a pretty good drive going from 10th to 4th. Also that great to see him defend 4th spot on the last lap against Massa.

    It is my understanding that teams are allowed to run 10% open throttle on the cars to create more down force. The FIA has given Red Bull a special pass that allows them to run it at as much as 50%. The FIA also gives Mercedes a special regulation but I'm forgetting exactly what that is at the moment. During the weekend the FIA said that Mercedes is allowed to continue with their special regulation but Red Bull could not. That was where the worry of the Red Bulls possibly not being able to finish the race. But who knows what the Red Bulls were running during the race.

  13. @Jeremy Sean White
    The original rule change was that all teams could only apply 10% throttle on the over-run. This changed on Saturday morning to Mercedes teams that they could inject fuel on the over-run (while the engine is reduced to four cylinders), arguing that this was for reliability. Red Bull then got the concession that Renault teams could run up to 50% throttle as a concession. The FIA then reversed the Renault decision but kept the Mercedes one.
    From the next race any regulations on over-run are scrapped again and teams can do what ever they want but they cannot change engine maps between quali and the race. For next season exhausts will have to extend beyond the back of the gearbox and have a vertical cut so it will be theoretically impossible to blow the diffuser.

  14. @ Zarniwoop the big technological breakthrough for 2012 will be holes connecting the bottom of the driver seat to the diffuser.
    Drivers will be spending the winter being fed a high verbascose diet and practicing with zen masters somewhere in the Himalayas. The best of them will be able to produce volumes of gas close to 2011 levels while others will be scrambling to find ways to close this flatulence gap.

  15. Fantastic... going "Flat out" has a whole new meaning.

    AC, I completely agree with you about the current state of Hamilton's mindset. He is not dealing well with adversity... Cunning and guile are part of what makes up a truly great driver. Hamilton's amazing skill set seems to be missing a bit of both.


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