When a DSQ is a benefit…

Posted in Regulations with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2013 by philcurryf1

I understand the ‘force majure’ rule was removed from the qualifying rules this year surrounding fuel samples, understandable as teams tried to gain a benefit and then argue when it was obvious they were doing so.

But one rule that should have been implemented at the same time has been missed. Without a fuel sample, a car is disqualified and relegated to the back of the grid – or is it?

Abu Dhabi last year – Vettel stops on track after qualifying with a fuel issue, is disqualified and sent to the back of the grid. In China, the same happens to Webber. In Spain last year, Hamilton started the precedent of being thrown to the back of the grid, in his case, he started there. The Red Bulls did not.

In fact, Red Bull, both times, chose to start their drivers from the pit lane. This meant the car could be worked on, optimising the set up for the race, and for overtaking. Especially last year, it was known that the team set their cars up to lead races, and not to overtake the field. In Abu Dhabi, Vettel’s gear ratios were changed to provide better straight line speed, and his set up was tweaked to allow for less drag on the straights. In China, Webber too was given the option of set up changes.

Is it just me, or is this wrong? If a driver is ejected from the qualifying results and made to start at the back, the car should be kept under parc ferme conditions as an additional punishment. I appreciate any team can start from the pits and change the set-up of the cars, but when a driver is ejected from the results, it should be stated that any changes to the car other than repairs to faulty systems will result in an additional penalty – a stop/go during the race, or a 10-place drop at the next round. Otherwise these penalties are meaningless, it’s a bit like giving a Caterham a 10-place grid penalty!

Cars that are already relegated to the back of the grid via a penalty should have any additional penalties – such as gearbox changes, held back until the next race. or perhaps the rule could state that teams cannot elect to start their drivers from the pit lane until 1 hour before the race start. I appreciate sometimes a problem may force a team to do so – surely any problem would be discovered but major changes, such as gear ratios or a new gearbox would not be able to be changed. Cars would still be under parc ferme conditions until that hour, with only essential repairs allowed to be performed.

Vettel finished third in Abu Dhabi – it would have been interesting to see where he would have come without the set-up changes that were made, and how he would have performed with his qualifying set-up.

Rush

Posted in Media with tags , , , , , on April 10, 2013 by philcurryf1

It’s rare that an F1-based movie comes along – remember Sly Stallone promising to make one? Thank goodness it ended up being an IndyCar movie in the end – Driven was bad!

But we recently had Senna, a biopic look at the great man, and now we have a new film, released in September this year, Ron Howard’s Rush looks at the battle between Lauda and Hunt in 1976.

A movie trailer was recently released, and I thought I’d share it with you!

Team orders…

Posted in Teams on March 30, 2013 by philcurryf1

What surprised me following the fallout from Malaysia is the authority of the two team principles involved in the team orders arguments. Christian Horner and Ross brawn both instigated them, and both had different ways of ensuring they were adhered to. Only one was successful.

When Vettel was closing on, and pushing Webber, Horner came on the radio saying ‘come on Seb, don’t be silly’. Brawn, when asked by Rosberg whether he could pass, was told quite firmly ‘negative’. Further Rosberg challenges were also met by a firm tone, Brawn clearly telling his driver ‘no’ several times.

Horner could have told Vettel to give the place back – after all, the team told Webber they were not racing, it is likely therefore Webber had turned his engine down. Vettel hadn’t, creating an unfair opportunity.

Mercedes had under-fuelled Hamilton, and therefore felt that as it was their fault he was dropping back, they had to protect his podium place.

One team employs drivers, the other, it seems, is employed by its driver…

A breach in Malaysia

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2013 by philcurryf1

I wonder if the Ferrari team management will look back at the malaysian grand prix, and feel they got away without a severe media lashing.

Teams on the pit wall get the same TV feed as the fans, so they would have known the state of Alonso’s front wing. Why they thought it would last a few more laps is beyond anyone. Yes, Fernando was running ok, and yes, he would have needed to stop for slicks. But it wasn’t a risk worth taking. They did, the wing came off, game over.

As it was, there was a much bigger story, that of team orders. Both red Bull and Mercedes employed them, with different effects. I’ve read a few reports, people complaining that team orders ruin the sport. So to clarify – both teams let their drivers race up until the final stops, then asked them to settle. the points for the constructors are, at this stage of the season, more important than those for the drivers. If a team can build a big lead, it can let its drivers race till the end later on.

Mark Webber had controlled most of the race, and was on the slower tyre as per his strategy at the end. He deserved the win, and believed the team was holding station. With performance tuned down, he cruised. Vettel had other ideas, and despite being told ‘multi 21′ he fought to take the lead. As it was, Webber let him through. But Vettel’s actions have cost him quite a lot of lost respect among fans.

At Mercedes, Hamilton was struggling with fuel issues. The team had not put enough fuel in, and decided to stop the cars from pushing each other until the end. Despite Rosberg’s pleas, he was told to stay behind. Hamilton looked genuinally bashful at the end, proclaiming that Rosberg deserved third. If only Vettel had been the same…

A great race has provided talking points, however history will record a Vettel victory and another podium for Lewis.

Australia Fair…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2013 by philcurryf1

Well, what a start to the F1 season!

I don’t think many people realistically expected Kimi to win the first race of the year, but the Lotus certainly had pace. Add to that the resurgence of Ferrari, the continued presence of Red Bull – despite eating tyres – and a strong showing from Mercedes, and it would seem F1 2013 could be as exciting as last year.

Of course, I’ve discussed before that I feel last season ended on a bit of an anti-climax, after promising so much. Indeed, with all the winners (8 in the whole season), it came down to the most dominant driver of 2011, and a driver handicapped by his car.

For 2013 already, we see that Ferrari is hitting the ground running. Mercedes can build, Lotus seem to have decent pace from the beginning, and we all knew Red Bull would be in the mix. Four constructors with good cars, should make for an exciting season.

The main talking point from this race will be the tyres. Ultimately, Kimi won by making two stops instead of three. Mercedes also tried this, but their car was a bit harder on the tyres than the Lotus, resulting in Hamilton losing places and finishing in 5th. Alonso drove a calm and assured race to finish second, while Vettel struggled with tyre wear, and could only bring his car home third. Massa continued his resurgence with a 4th place, after out-qualifying Alonso on Saturday, and Mark Webber was 6th.

Missing from all this front running action were the McLarens, with Button 9th, and Perez 11th. They have some serious work to do to prevent Eddie Jordan from describing the car as a ‘dog’ in China.

How I’ll watch F1 in 2013

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2013 by philcurryf1

With the F1 2013 season just around the corner, I should probably point out how I’ll be watching the races this year. Unfortunately, new baby means money in the AAF1 household has new priorities, like nappies, milk and toys (is it wrong to by a Scalextric track for a newborn?). This means for another year, I will be making do with the BBC coverage, nine races plus highlights.

But I’m not upset. I’ve always enjoyed BBC F1′s coverage of the races, and feel last year that they excelled even their previous full seasons. Ben Edwards is an assured commentator, David Coulthard is perfect as a pundit and co-commentator, and Sky will never be able to replicate Eddie – the man who can just walk into a garage and drag people out…!

I think the BBC also did well chosing Suzi Perry to replace Jake Humphrey – big shoes to fill, but with her passion for motorsport, and her similar fun presenting style, It is sure to be another year of great coverage.

So blog posts after races may be delayed – I’m old school, until I have watched it, I don’t want to know results, who went out etc.

Let’s get ready for F1 2013!

A new F1 fan…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2013 by philcurryf1

It’s been a little while since my last post to the blog, but with good reason. I’m proud to say that on Wednesday 13th February, my wife gave birth to a baby boy! Ayrton Colin Daniel Curry was born at 3.46pm, and already has a plethora of F1 related baby clothes and bibs. I’ve also managed to get his feed routine to fall in line with the Australian GP on March 17th, so I’ve an even better reason to get up with him!

ayrton

Anyway, now I’m back, and will throw up a few posts on recent goings on – including testing and driver announcements!

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