May 15, 2012

2012 Spanish GP: Happy Birthday Edition

Pastor Maldonado giving his detractors the finger.

Happy Birthday Frank! What a way for Frank Williams to celebrate his 70th, an unexpected win and a disastrous fire in the garages just as celebratory pictures were being taken. Fantastic seeing a Williams Renault win again though.

In the end this proved another somewhat dull Spanish GP, the only pass for the lead on track was in short stretch between the start and turn one when Fernando Alonso held a master class in how to do a start properly. From then on it was a race dictated by tires. You get the feeling Ferrari played it too safe and settled for second rather than go for the win and risk ending in third place.

One can argue that the 2012 Pirellis have given more of a show by being so unpredictable but the counterpoint is that they completely deprived us of a potentially fantastic three way fight between Maldonado, Alonso and Raikkonen.
I don't know how a company can agree to make deliberately inferior tires, these Pirellis are just flaky and not just because they turn tracks into single lane toboggan runs more even than the Bridgestone before them. Can we please have a linear tire that does not throw crap all over the track?

What of Pastor Maldonado? Does he prove every dog has his day or did he get a bad rap along with his giant suitcase full of money courtesy of Hugo Chavez? Well, despite how Autoblog described him, he's no rookie, he beat Perez and the much touted Jules Bianchi in GP2. An nobody can take away a win that was not in any way "gifted" or lucky, It took Rosberg a hell of a lot longer to get in that club and while some will argue Barrichello was the faster driver (yes, some will other than Rubens himself), money talks and after today the Venezuelan shepard has made bullshit walk, at least a little further down the road.

As far as the bigger picture of the championship you might have seen the statistics from 1983 when the first five races were won by Piquet, Watson, Prost, Tambay and Rosberg. Piquet won the championship that year with only three wins and in the final few races. A similar outcome could mean the championship would be decided by consistency. Who have been the consistent podium finishers in 2012? It's the usual crowd, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Vettel and Raikkonen. Of those only two have scored in every race, Hamilton and Alonso. I have no doubt Raikkonen will be in the mix as longas the Lotus pit wall stops smoking that funny stuff and gives him a sane strategy. Bring it but please Pirelli, let them drive!

As usual I look forward to your comments, but first, enjoy the Executive Summary!


  1. You point to how long it took Rosberg yet Rosberg gets his first win in the same season we see unlikely drivers take podiums and wins.

    While the races are packed full of action and I even find myself gushing over how much fun they are. After it is all over and you reflect, you get a hollow feeling that it is not real, a la Nascar.

    How long before a safety car is deployed 10 laps before the end of each race? You know, to goup them back up and and make the finish more exciting.

    Cars sitting out qualifying to save tires, cars not pushing in fear of the tires going off and settling for positions as a gift horse, drivers pushing then paying the price in the form of losing 10 positions in 2 laps.

    Now sure I am thoroughly loving this.

  2. So now Schumy was right. Though you said he was whining when he complain about tyres..

    1. Well Schum' is whining, because he blames the tires for his lack of results (more or less openly). It doesn't mean that his argument is wrong on the whole, but you don't hear the other underperforming drivers (yes, you, Felipe) bitch about it.

      I, for one, totally agree with Schumy on this.

  3. I like your interpretation of the effects of the tire degradation. Yes there is frantic passing but it seems too artificial to me. The gap is so great between a new and old set that a person can't even pretend to defend. And forgot passing off line. This season seems a little cheap as far as actual racing.

  4. You say that the Pirellis deprived us of a three way fight for the lead, but I don't think that's necessarily true. The way I see it is the tyres actually brought us closer to having a fight than the Bridgestones would have - I reckon Raikkonen would have been nowhere near the front two in previous seasons. I don't have any hard evidence to back up my reckoning though.

  5. I disagree on the tires. Pirelli has stated that they've brought the soft/hard tire compounds closer in relative performance to each other this season with less graining and less "cliff" than last years tires.

    As such, I think they've made a fantastic balance between show and performance. And I think that's why we're getting such wonderful finales at the end of the race as drivers have to manage their tires much better.

    Hell, had Kimi not played it so safely in the opening 2 stints, we would've definitely had a battle for 1-2 between Pastor and Kimi if there were 5 more laps. Or Kimi and Alonso if it were 2 more laps. He was reeling the other 2 drivers in at a second a lap. That's incredible and shows that it's coming down to how the driver manages the tires over the distance of the race.

    Also, Pirelli has offered to bring a set of quali "red" tires at the beginning of the season, but the teams rejected this proposal. Why? It would've been perfect IMO, and would've let all the cars run flat out without having to save the tires.

    If there's one thing I'd like to see, I'd like to get rid of the requirement to run one stint with the hard tire. Let the teams decide what the best strategy with the tires should be...


nRelate Posts Only