F1 Fanatic round-up: 31/3/2010

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The Australian Grand Prix coverage is done and dusted but we’re straight into the next Grand Prix weekend as the teams are racing in Malaysia on Sunday. More on that later today – in the meantime here’s the daily round-up:


Why Lewis Hamilton needs David Coulthard (Autocar)

“Coulthard is right that Lewis needs a new manager, though. It should be David himself, of course, but I’m clinging to the hope that he will eventually find his way to get behind the wheel of a Merc in the DTM to give Ralf Schumacher a pasting. That would be really worth watching.”

RBR would welcome suspension ruling (Autosport)

Christian Horner: “McLaren has made a lot of comments recently, be it about our fuel tank size or the future of our drivers and now supposed systems on the car. Categorically we don’t have anything like that on the car. It is down to them to speculate, but a clarification would be good for everybody.”

Comment of the day

Umar Farooq Khawaja offers an interesting explanation for why Alonso never got past Massa in the Australian Grand Prix:

Alonso was covering Massa’s rear after he got behind him. You could tell he was way quicker but never tried to make a move on Massa.

I figure if Alonso had passed Massa, Hamilton would have passed Massa too.

I think it was probably a case of Alonso tempering his natural aggression?? probably because he wants to show Ferrari that he puts the team ahead of himself. I doubt he would do the same thing at the sharp end of the season if he’s fighting for the championship.
Umar Farooq Khawaja

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Damon Hill won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos in appalling weather on this day in 1996, taking a hat-trick of win, pole position and fastest lap.

The only other car on the same lap was Jean Alesi’s Benetton in second. Third went to Michael Schumacher, who won in similarly wet conditions in Spain later that year.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “F1 Fanatic round-up: 31/3/2010”

  1. Why not Martin Brundle as an alternative choice? Or would either be some kind of breach of BBC “impartiality” rules?

    1. Brundle used to manage Coulthard, didn’t he?

      1. He did indeed. He currently manages his son’s career.

    2. Brundle has been pretty harsh about Hamilton over the years, I dont think it would work

      1. I don’t think he’s been harsh, he’s been pretty fair to my mind.

      2. When has Brundle been harsh about Hamilton?

    3. The Genuine Jim
      31st March 2010, 12:00

      I believe Brundle has taken a step back from his MB managment project he set up with Mark Blundell, to focus on his son’s career.

  2. i thought Hakkinen was going to be his manager?

  3. Keith I think something should be done about the predictions championship for next year. I seriously think you need to improve the show. Maybe medals instead of points, I think that would help the layperson relate to it better. We need to see more overtaking, maybe if we handicapped the top ten by forcing them to keep there predictions from the week before. A changed prediction should result in a 10 place drop. How about every time they double the last persons score they get some kind of a penalty because there’s just no skill in doubling the the last person’s score anymore ;)

    1. Myles Woerner
      31st March 2010, 1:09

      Well played sir, well played

      1. comment of the day no OF THE YEAR, top class K

    2. Sush Meerkat
      31st March 2010, 8:05

      with that comment, K you win.

      If I was there I’d give you a hearty handshake.

    3. Brilliant ! How about a shiny crystal ball for each competitor who gets more than 10% accuracy ?

    4. you just ruined my keyboard dammit! :)

    5. Nice one, K!

      Just wanted to say that much, but I got the message “Your comment was a bit short. Try again.” :)

    6. Brilliant!

    7. Try making your prediction when it’s raining, it’s much more enjoyable.

    8. lmao (too short on its own for some reason)

  4. Ned Flanders
    31st March 2010, 1:31

    I’m off to New York tomorow for to do some scouting for a US GP venue on behalf of Bernie… (I jest, it’s a uni trip). Does anyone know of any motorsport related stuff to do or see in the city? I’m not expecting anything to do with F1, but NASCAR and Indycar stuff would suffice

    1. Take a ride in a cab at rush hour ;)

    2. Trip to Watkins Glen?

      1. Watkins Glen is a good idea actually, but it’s probably a bit too far away. New York State is the size of a small country I think. But if FOM wants to pay me to assess whether it’s up to holding a race I’d happily go!

        1. Ned, you’re not going to find too much related to motorsports in New York City. And yeah, NY is pretty big. Watkins Glen is way upstate, probably about 250 miles…
          (what is that, about London to Paris?)

  5. This Hamilton thing is bugging me, not what he did, he’s young, young people are stupid ergo, young people do stupid things. (I’m young so its fair btw)

    It’s not that the police nabbed him, that’s the law here, he broke it, so that’s that.

    But that’s where it should end, the problem is when the Media jumped on it like China had invaded, Hamilton should be reprimanded from within the sport, as being a racing driver it does set a bad example. That being said, What the media did was disgusting, He made a mistake, big deal, And its not a mistake dozens of other people make every day.

    I have seen people criticise the Laws here, and others Criticising Hamilton, But I think this is misguided, Both Hamilton and the Police did, well, what I would consider perfectly normal. It’s the media at fault here, There should be a small column about this in the motor sport section of the paper, but that’s it.

    1. I thought it was just the tabloids, but then on qualifying day Legard made a comment about how surely Hamilton’s performance would be affected. I expected Brundle to correct him and say that during a qualifying lap he would struggle to think of much else except driving, but Brundle agreed with him. The same happened later with DC and Eddie Jordan and I just couldn’t believe that it would make any difference at all.

    2. If it had have happened a few yrs ago then there would not be as much media coverage in Melbourne. Its just the whole ‘hoon laws’ are still fairly new it makes a good news story.

    3. I think it’s a legitimate story for the media to report – on a weekend when the FIA and F1 are promoting a road safety initiative, a very high profile F1 driver has his road car impounded for reckless driving.

      When said driver is the next day outqualified by his team mate and also fails to make Q3, it’s also legitimate to ask whether this is linked to spending the previous evening in a police station.

      Like it or not, Lewis Hamilton is now a public figure. That status may lead to stories (positive and negative) about him being run by the mainstream media. Of course, whether the media was reasonable in this case is an entirely different issue.

      1. @Tim – I agree 100%. If they were not promoting road safety, it would be a minor issue.

    4. Maybe in time he’ll learn the art of not getting caught, both on and off the track.
      It took his great rival years of effort to earn the name Teflonso…

    5. I think it was simply bad timing on Hamilton’s part. I agree that both Hamilton and the police did what they should have in the situation: reprimand/punishment consistent with the law and an apology from the offender.

      However, all the outside factors combined to make it a story ripe for the media. Hoon laws, safe driving promotion, poor qualifying, etc. Hence the way in which it blew up. Just one of those unfortunate situations for Hamilton.

      Really, of all the laws a race car driver could break, this one is hardly something I could begrudge them for. I don’t see Hamilton any different afterwards. It’s like smacking your dog on the nose with a newspaper after he starts barking at the neighbor’s dog. Is it really that unexpected? No. Is the behavior acceptable? No. It is what it is and you just correct the behavior. Hopefully this will have.

  6. You can design a suspension system that raises the height of the vehicle without the need to revert to such things as gas filled dampers. An example is Earles forks on a motorbike. When braking hard on a motorbike fitted with Earles forks on the front, the front of the bike actually rises.

    Red Bull has likely modified the geometry of their suspension to produce similar results, raising the cars ride height under heavier loads. This would account for the car scraping the ground during qualifying, running fine during the race with a full fuel load, and why they are not scared of any ruling. Their suspension system if purely mechanical and requires no adjustment between qualifying and the race.

    1. Very impressive bit of knowledge there Mr errr, Insert name ^^

    2. how about a suspension system that extends the cars up for a couple of metres (a-la Hannah-Barbera’s Wacky Races), helping cars go over others, thus rendering the non-overtaking problem a thing of the past. While we’re at it, perhaps RBR could finish perfecting Mark Webber’s smoke screen button.

  7. Brembo have denied that Vettel’s off was caused by a brake failure.


    2 races, 2 mechanical problems on Vettel’s car, several reasons given. What is up with RBR’s PR team at the moment? They are blaming everything from the brakes to the sparkplugs for their problems, are they trying to hide something here? When you have a technical problem, just tell us what it is, we won’t hold it against you! :)

    1. Interesting isn’t it. Renault acclaimed, that the sparkplug was not the reason of the problem, but only its symptom.
      What are these guys hiding, or don’t they have a clue, what happend?

    2. As soon as Vettel came to rest in the gravel trap he radioed his team to say he’d had brake failure. “Brake failure” was then widely reported as the reason for Vettel’s retirement – even though I don’t recall Red Bull ever confirming that brakes were the problem.

      One of the problems with modern communications is that misinformation spreads so widely so quickly that it swiftly becomes accepted as truth. By the time Red Bull and Brembo confirmed the actual problem the misinformation had spread so far that people think the team is changing its story.

      This is sometimes how conspiracy theories start.

    3. I suspect it’s whatever controls the ride height on that car had a failure and caused Vettel to plough into the gravel…

    4. I was wondering why this story was even around. I thought it was reported that a wheel nut failure caused the off? If you watch the replay of his off, as the car is heading backwards across the gravel you can clearly see the front left wheel rotate in a non-linear ‘buckled’ way. This appears to confirm the wheel was not attached properly, probably due to a wheel nut or similar issue.

      1. But according to Autosport, RBR and Brembo “Post-race investigations revealed the wheel nut was correctly tightened at the pitstop as well as other possible causes of the fault.”

        It’s a strange one.

  8. Taking some inspiration from anthony davidson I think there should be points from first to last place so all 24 score

    this would encourage more concern for reliability (are you listening mr horner) as non finishers don’t score

    1. Yeah, after he explained his reasoning, I have to say I quite like the idea too.

      1. Well I haven’t heard his argument but it seems like a bad idea to me. Reliability is already boringly good in F1 these days, and what we don’t want to see is cars tip toeing around the track because they don’t want to jeapordise their points

    2. I can see his reasoning but if 24th place is going to be worth one point what will first be worth? 100? 1,000?

      1. Myb 24-23-22-21-20…-1

  9. For a few years in a row the Williams team uses conservative strategies to run races. When they used to have a car 1 second faster then anything else, that is a sound strategy. But at this moment they are in the grey midfiled. I think aggresive and surprising strategies should make their lives a lot more interesting. And probably may even get them more points.
    Also the imago of the team should benefit. A daring strategy going wrong everybody at least appreciates the effort made. But conservative strategy ending in the backfield just does not appeal to anyone.
    A fighting aggresive Williams team can both be very sexy and effective.

  10. The Malaysian Grand Prix predictions round is now open for those who want to get their picks in early. As ever you have until the start of free practice three on Saturday morning to make your predictions.

    For the first time players are now invited to predict the pole position time. This prediction does not earn any extra points but it is used as a tie-breaker when needed.

    Enter your predictions here: F1 Fanatic Predictions Championship

    1. lol, My bet top3: Web, Mas, Ros. No one else will make that :D Im not going to be another who bets ferrari, Vettel and Hamilton. In Normal conditions myb, but now can happen anything

  11. Jaime Alguersuari said he got something very valuable from being chased by Schumi all race – a good understanding of the tyres!

    The article is nice, good to hear from him about it.

  12. I was under the impression Brundle and Blundell played a significant role in getting Lewis his seat at McLaren. And as Brundle was/is Coulthards manager then a common thread and sensibility abounds so this would provide consistancy. But other may well say this is an opportunity for a fresh start with a new ‘outside’ manager.

    Personally I wish Lewis’s father had stayed on especially if the relationship was working which we are led to believe it was. But these matters are much more delicate and intricate and far more complex that we are going to ever likely be able to get close enough to fathom sincerely and objectively.

    So as many have said before, do your talking on the track Lewis. This will be your lasting record and legacy. Everything else is just gravy…

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