November 26, 2013

Interlagos was the end of the road.

The 2013 Formula One Championship ended at Interlagos and the final race of the season put a period at the end on many stories in the series.

It was, of course, the end of the road for the 2.4 liter normally aspirated V8.  Renault has put it's stamp all over the era, winning the last race and more than half of all races in the past eight seasons but there's more to say goodbye to before drawing some conclusions about this controversial yet boring year.

The end of the road, in F1 at least, for Mark Webber.  You must read Webber's comments on  Peter Windsor's  blog,   rather priceless I thought.   Here's a preview:

F1 Testing Barcelona 1 - Day 1 On Helmut Marko

I still don’t really know his role in the team, so….yeah…. He was very critical of me from Day One but in the end he’s obviously brought Seb through and done a great job with that. He’s probably disappointed that F1 teams have to have two cars. But they do.

Mark bows out of a bad situation in the best possible way and with class,  well done.  Funny how now everyone loves him at Red Bull.

End of the Ferrari road for Felipe Massa.     The penalty in the race was harsh, but, given drivers were warned rather specifically before the race, inevitable.   What remains to be seen is how many others did the same exact thing.     Massa goes out of Ferrari with a silly mistake costing the team second place from Mercedes not to mention millions of dollars.

The end of Brazil as the final race of the season, next year the season ends in AbuDhabi.    A shame really because Interlagos has shown once again that despite being constantly badmouthed for it's lackluster VIP accommodations , it is just a magical track, far better than any modern bazillion dollar Tilkedrome.  Too bad the rain never came on Sunday.

The 2013 championship, despite Vettel's records will always have an asterisk  beside it,  The changing of the tires in the middle of the season, spoiled it and was profoundly unfair to teams that had designed their car to work with what was, after all supposed to be a tire with a certain engineered limit to it.  Red Bull and Mercedes bullied the series into giving them a tire that worked for the car  they designed.   Magically after their respective tests, with current cars, their performance improved.

Be that as it may, Vettel did an amazing job taking advantage of his advantage,  I just don't think routinely winning by 30 seconds over the likes of an Alonso and Hamilton is driver alone.
Hopefully the new formula will mark the end of the road for Red Bull's domination.  It's not a team easy to like, what with Marko and Multi 21 and braking the spending cap agreements and Newey telling the press the only reason Lotus and Ferrari won at all this year was because of luck.   Great image management but underneath it, they can make Mclaren feel warm and fuzzy.  No wonder people boo'd and RB embarked on that massive PR campaign to "humanize" Vettel in the final races (which most of the press bought hook line and sinker).

In the bigger picture, Formula One needs to take a long hard look at itself:  diving in the "eco" rabbit hole and  spending so much money even top teams struggle to survive,  forcing them to take on lousy pay drivers and leaving clear talent sidelined, is a dead end for what is supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport.

You know something's not right if racers like Hamilton and Alonso have to resign themselves to being tire managers.  Next year, potentially they will have to be fuel managers as well.    F1 had always thrown tough technical challenges to teams but nobody really cares to see engineers compete at who's the cleverest, it's a side interest but nothing if the main attraction is missing.


  1. Well said. I hope this gets posted far and wide

  2. Great article, this in my opinion is a season to be forgotten. I can only hope and pray the tires aren't the star of the show, come next season. I am with you 100% that Vettel is not 30 seconds faster per-race than the likes of Alonso and Hamilton, as there is just no way that is possible. If we were comparing him to Pay Drivers it could be more of a possibility, but even then it would be a stretch. So here's to hoping next season mixes up the excitement and ends this era of Redbull domination, and shifts F1 back into a more competitive state. F1 needs this, as it became virtually unwatchable for me about halfway through the season.

  3. This level of Renault dominance is reminiscent of early/mid 90's F1. And what was the deal with Webber taking off his helmet there at the end; so that people can see what he looks like with the wind in his hair, the wind in his beard growth, and the bugs in his teeth? Mark, we know what you look like. Jeez. Like Fabio on the roller coaster, the guy could have been smacked in the face by a bird, he could have began puking up like he did at Fuji a few years back. Jeez. Then he runs around on the podium like a giddy little school girl tripping all over shit. Give me a break. I don't get it. No wonder Seb humiliated him every Sunday. What a numbskull. You know the people at Red Bull are happy that the good folks at Porsche have taken him off their hands.

  4. I agree that the season could have been more exciting, especially towards the end during Vettel's winning marathon. But neverheless I find the hate often directed towards him completely over the top, his team may have pushed and pushed until they got what they wanted but that is their job. Same story with the drivers, you are paid to strive for victory in every race and even with a dominant car it takes a very capable driver to win 9 times in a row. What does make me angry though is when a Lotus seat is filled with a mediocre paydriver instead of a talented one (H├╝lkenberg) who showed hat he was capable of a lot more if given the right equipment after scoring impressive results with Sauber. But what really matters is that next season will probably paint a whole different picture as everyone has to start from scratch.

  5. everyone knows Helmut Marko's team role: a-hole sh*-t-stirrer. Enzo was "an agitator of men", Helmut is just plain "agitated".

  6. I love it, Axis continues to hate Vettel and RBR. I hope they continue to upset the establishment. Asterisk?...just as Alonso muppets would want you to believe, what a self promoting first loser of magnificent proportions. The tires weren't safe said all, thus the change, blame Pirelli. Webber was a #2, drove like a #2, despite the conspiracy theories, nostalgia clouds your judgement. Remember tiregate, that should be another "asterisk", oh yeah, they lost.

  7. I just want to know how Vettel, in separate races badly mangled his wing but lost no down force and, in fact, continued to se fast lap after fast lap in those races. I'd also like to know how, until the championship was wrapped up, Webber's car was so much worse than Vettels', but as soon as Vettel had the championship all but won Webber's was suddenly nearly as quick as Vettel.

  8. what I want to know is how Vettel was able to get pole in the wet, with huge traction advantages over everyone and then in the dry, be faster than everyone else...

  9. Not so sure about Abu Dahbi being the last race. According to it still show Interlagos as the last race.


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