Archive for the Regulations Category

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.


Lights to flag…

Posted in Regulations with tags , , , , on November 29, 2012 by philcurryf1

It has been four days since Sebastian Vettel crossed the line in 6th place to win the F1 world championship (ironically, the last three title deciders in Brazil have seen the champion finish in 5th or 6th). But now there are reports that the battle may not be over.

Twitter is abuzz with people claiming that Ferrari are looking to protest over an overtaking move made by Vettel on Lap 4, passing Jean-Eric Vergne, under yellows. Videos have emerged from onboard feeds, of the Red Bull passing the Toro Rosso on the back straight, after Pastor Maldonado crashed out.

I’ve seen the video, and the slow-motion replay. After the yellow light flashing on the right of the circuit is a marshal point. Here, a green flag is waved, prior to the move that Vettel made.

A flag supersedes a light – so if a yellow light is flashing, but a green flag waves shortly afterward,and before the green light, then it is the green that takes precedent. In this case, the green flag means Vettel was clear to overtake Vergne, and did so. It must also be asked whether DRS was still enabled, as I believe it is disabled if there is a yellow flag in the zone.

Ferrari cannot appeal anyway, as explained by F1 Fanatic here – I’m got going to rehash what they say, when I can just link to an excellent F1 site – but as the post also explains, the FIA are obliged to investigate any incident if new evidence comes to light.

There is also the question of whether a 20 second penalty could easily be applied, bearing in mind the timing of the incident on lap 4, and the action in the race. Any penalty Vettel received during the race would have been wiped out by the safety car. However, a 20 second penalty is the mandate – there is no room for flexibility, as we’ve seen in the past.

So to summarize, There was a green flag, Vettel passed after it. Therefore, Vettel is world champion. Roll on 2013!