Archive for December, 2012

Stats don’t mean prizes…

Posted in Drivers with tags on December 13, 2012 by philcurryf1

This morning, I read a piece posted on the BBC Sport website by Andrew Benson, which made for interesting reading on a subject I already believed in. I also read some of the comments, and felt many unjust.

To summarise, without plagiarizing, Andrew highlighted that while Micheal Schumacher has seven world titles, he could have won less had circumstances not gone his way. At the same time, Fernando could have had four, as could Ayrton Senna, while Alain Prost may have had five or six, and Vettel only one.

Yet people have perceived the article as full of bias towards Alonso, stating that Andrew has an agenda against Michael Schumacher. Obviously Schumacher is the best, he won seven titles, right? Wrong, and it shows the gulf between true fans of the sport, and those who believe more is better.

Schumacher had a team which benefitted from extensive testing, bespoke tyres and a team-mate who had his back. This led to the domination Ferrari saw between 2001 and 2004 – the 2000 title was fought for. Added to this, there was no driver capable of leading a team to the heights needed until Alonso dragged Renault up there, and it’s easy to see how Michael cantered to his championships.

Now look at Ayrton Senna. Three titles, and could have had more had Imola 1994 not happened. This would have eaten into Schumacher’s seven titles but ignoring that, look at the 1993 season. McLaren had a customer Ford engine, hopelessly down on power on the Williams Renault, while the McLaren lagged behind in the technology race. Their systems were less advanced. Senna fought the car throughout the year winning five races, and never gave up. Why couldn’t Schumacher, with all his seven titles, drag the Mercedes through to more wins?

The article makes for interesting reading, and if you are a true F1 fan, you’ll understand it. Even Schumacher and Vettel fans will understand that their drivers benefitted from various factors. But the vitriol aimed at Andrew Benson is unjust, and shows how narrow-minded some are.

You can read the article here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/20669262

HRT no longer required

Posted in Teams with tags , , , , , , on December 7, 2012 by philcurryf1

The entry list for the 2013 F1 World Championship was published recently, and there was no mention of HRT on it.

The Spanish team has been but up for sale by its owners, Thesan Capital, with the deadline for a sale set at November 30th. Despite reported interest however, no buyer has been found. Reports suggest the staff have been handed redundancy notices, with the team to close completely.

It was a surprise that Campos Meta, as the team was formally known, was granted a place on the grid in 2010, over more experienced motor racing establishments such as Prodrive and Lola. However, the four new teams that were given slots on the grid have all gone through some upheaval. USF1 collapsed despite a flashy website and lots of videos, Virgin Racing became Marussia Virgin and then simply Marussia after a team buyout, while Lotus Racing became Team Lotus became Caterham – although they have perhaps been the most stable with the same owners throughout.

HRT was the one that I think was obvious would collapse next. When Campos Meta struggled to pay chassis builder Dallara, shareholder José Ramón Carabante stepped in, and placed Colin Kolles in charge. Under his guidance, and moving the team headquarters to his base in Germany, HRT finished 11th out of 12 in 2010, and 2011. Yet they never made it to any pre-season tests with a new car.

For 2012, Thesan Capital split with Kolles, announced a move to new headquarters in Madrid, and placed Luis Pérez-Sala in charge. The team again failed to make pre-season testing, and struggled, finishing last of all the teams in the Constructors Championship. There were reports that spare parts were running low, and other parts were operating beyond their operating life. When Thesan announced it had put the team up for sale, most knew it was the final nail in the coffin.

Based outside the F1 hub of expertise, which includes the UK, Germany and Italy, any potential buyer would struggle, and would likely have to move the team, which would mean additional costs. In addition, more money would be needed to develop parts, pay suppliers and get the team ready for the first race. It was therefore inevitable that the team would close when Thesan ran out of interest.

It is a shame, because there was potential for the team to be something more. Had Kolles had full control, they may even have challenged Caterham. Now however, the two teams that struggled from the off, USF1 and Campos Meta, are now consigned to pages on a popular rejects website.

In-season testing

Posted in Teams with tags , , , , on December 3, 2012 by philcurryf1

A recent comment by Bernie Ecclestone caused a rebuttal by Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari. The comments centred on the recent ‘flag-gate’ controversy, and I’m not mentioning it again. But Montezemolo mentioned two things, Bernie is too old to run F1, and the in-season testing ban is wrong.

For starters, Bernie knows very well what he is doing. It’s still obvious when he mentions how F1 doesn’t need a race, just before a contract extension is signed. It gives the organisers that little bit of pressure. He’ll be running the F1 circus for a few years yet.

But the in-season testing ban to me smacks a bit of sour grapes on Montezemolo’s part. Had there been testing this season, Ferrari wouldn’t have needed to run new parts in free practice, and with their wind tunnel problems, they still would have been able to develop the car to challenge properly for the title.

But then, McLaren could have worked on their pit stop procedures, and Red Bull could have got more data to help them combat their problems adapting to non-blown diffusers. Lotus could have got their car working, and Mercedes may have found a way to get the double DRS system working without eating their tyres.

The in-season testing ban levels the playing field. It is Ferrari’s fault that their wind tunnel is not giving them the correct data, and it is something they need to correct, whether there is in-season testing or not. But if there were in-season testing, it would be Ferrari who benefit most, having their own private testing track.

I remember in the 1998 F1 Season Review, the testing details between Ferrari and McLaren were mentioned, with Ferrari conducting twice as much running as the British outfit. Now, it’s a level playing field. I think this season’s idea, with young driver testing, was good to get test drivers accustomed to the machinery, and limited part development was allowed, but for me, in-season testing is a thing of the past.

Perhaps Montezemolo should concentrate on running the business and his Italian political hopes, and leave the politics of F1 to those who know what they’re doing, like Stefano Domenicali. His ‘ideas’ and constant criticisms of F1, the need for three-car teams (bad) and testing, are getting a tad boring now!