F1 Fanatic round-up: 21/4/2010

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With two-and-a-half weeks between now and the next race I’ve been planning what content is going to be up on the site between now and then. If you have any suggestions, please make them in the comments.

Here’s the Wednesday round-up:


Formula 1 stewards must be tougher, says Martin Brundle (BBC)

“But the subsequent driver behaviour down the pit lane was positively dangerous. Vettel shoved Hamilton towards the wheel guns and mechanics, albeit long after Hamilton should have yielded. They both received a reprimand, but what does that mean? How long does a reprimand last and how many are you allowed to collect before a real penalty?”

F Ducts: How do they work? (Racecar Engineering)

“McLaren appear to have found a very neat solution for redirecting the airflow over the rear wing and consequently allowing the flap to stall. Whilst they have been very tight lipped about the system, it is most likely that the conduit from the front to rear of the car has a vent in the cockpit that can be blocked by the drivers left leg, which is not in use on long straights. Blocking the vent could direct enough airflow through the conduit to disrupt the flow over the rear flap and induce a stall.”

Q & A with Korean GP boss Cho Chung (Autosport)

“I remember when Turkey was new, exactly the same thing happened. And now, like last year, when there was Abu Dhabi exactly the same stories came around. This week we have heard these stories about us, and I am actually now quite thankful because in the last week everybody is now interested in the race and it has switched back that it is definitely happening. Bernie Ecclestone was there and he clarified everything, so I have to thank him!”

Hamilton ‘not speaking’ to father (Autocar)

“I don’t remember the last time I spoke with him, but it hasn’t been for a couple of weeks. We might exchange a message every now and then but we don’t have too much to discuss at the moment.”

McLaren Telemetry: Friday fuel weight (ScarbsF1)

“We can see Hamilton in Friday practice reading two traces from similar laps with different tyres (Used prime and new prime). What is interesting is that the print out states the fuel weight is 140kg for both laps.” I wonder if we can work out what stint they refer to? McLaren did what looks like high-fuel runs at the end of both sessions on Friday:

Comment of the day

I’ll probably do an article soon on whether the mandatory pit stop rule is working. My opinion is pretty much in line with PJA’s at the moment:

Personally I think no mandatory pitstops would work better as long as it wasn’t so easy to make one set of tyres last the whole race.

We got a taste of what having no mandatory pitsops would be like in Australia. Because of the damp start everyone had made an early pitstop and didn’t have to stop again. Then we had some drivers nursing one set of slicks to the end while others such as Webber and Hamilton stopped again and tried to make their way through the field.

If the tyres were more marginal I think the above situation would work much better.

The trouble with mandatory stops is that the optimum strategy will usually be the same for everyone so once one driver comes in the rest will follow him and make their stop as well.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Vincent!

On this day in F1

Twenty-five years ago today Ayrton Senna scored his first F1 win in the Portuguese Grand Prix. I’ll have an article up on this classic race later today.

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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57 comments on “F1 Fanatic round-up: 21/4/2010”

  1. The Genuine Jim
    21st April 2010, 0:12

    Mere minutes into Wednesday and the round-up’s already up, as usual. Mr Collantine, you are a machine!

  2. Ned Flanders
    21st April 2010, 0:16

    Yeah PJA summed up my opinion on mandatory stops pretty well too. I think no forced stops would be better if the tyres wore so quickly that drivers would likely have to stop regardless.

    But in reality I think that the teams would end up making their tyres last all race, and that would be the end of pitstops

    1. I don’t believe in quickly degrading tyres. I’m convinced it just makes drivers nurse their tyres more.

      It might work once like it did in Australia where some take the gamble. They won’t make that mistake again though.

      Once they understand the degradation of the tyre they realize that it lasts say 30 laps if you nurse it and only 15 if you go flat out.

      1. Ned Flanders
        21st April 2010, 1:05

        Perhaps Bridgestone ought to produce tyres that are going to wear and cause problems, but not so much that drivers are simply going to tip toe around the entire race.

        Easier said than done though. Besides, Bridgestone are hardly going to spend a load of money changing their tyres when they’ve only got 15 races left in F1

    2. I think mandating that tyres wear out more quickly is no better than a mandatory stop. You’d end up with cars mid-race trying to baby their tyres for points becoming moving roadblocks for quicker cars on fresher tyres.

      No, I think a prime tyre designed to last the race at mid-grid lap times, combined with no mandatory stops, might be a better solution.

      That allows slower cars to maintain their lap times through the whole race and look towards a top-ten finish, while quicker cars can gamble on keeping enough tyre for a podium, or use a mid-race stop (or late-race soft option) to move to the front for a win.

      1. You’d end up with cars mid-race trying to baby their tyres for points becoming moving roadblocks for quicker cars on fresher tyres.

        I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be the case. Even on a dry track the car with better tyres at the end of the race gets so much more traction out of slow corners that they are able to overtake a car with overworn rubber. If, of course, they can catch up the time taken for the stop in the first place.

  3. Brundle should make his mind up. I watched the BBC Forum and he keeps changing his mind every 5 minutes. He keeps flip fliopping between “they should get a warning”, “they shouldn get any penalty over this at all” and “they should be penalized ‘for sure'”.

    Better yet, he should read a rulebook. He’s just making up that a driver should yield to another driver in the fastlane. There is no regulation that says so.

    The only rule that covers this situation is that the team should safely release the car. McLaren did this as best as they could. Otherwise McLaren would have gotten the penalty.

    Ferrari got a $10,000 fine for an unsafe release of Massa in Valencia 2008. Massa drove besides Sutil and nearly hit the safety car and medical car at the end of the pitlane. Massa got no penalty at all. No warning nothing.

    Another example. Vettel Germany 2008. Vettel did the same thing to Alonso as Hamilton did to Vettel. Actually what Vettel did in 2008 was a whole lot more blatant. Vettel was released into the path of Alonso, shoeved Alonso to the side and actually passsed Alonso in the pitlane. Again zero reprimands or penalties for that incident

    Pitlane related penalties are handed out for “unsafe releases” NOT for cars driving side by side in the fastlane.

    The thing is, Hamilton got his reprimand for going too much sideways and nearly hitting Vettel. That was indeed dangerous.

    Vettel got his reprimand for pushing Hamilton off the fastlane into the inner lane. That was dangerous also.

    Neither is a punishable offence by the rules so how can you claim a penalty should be handed out?

    The only penalty they really missed was Vettel not getting a penalty for holding up the field for about 10 seconds during the first safety car situation. He was third in line behind the safety car and obliged to keep the distance to Webber to no more than 10 car lengths. Not 10 seconds. Clear infringement of the rules.

    Button simply slowed down a little. Nothing erratic at all. Again Brundle is simply making up rules that don’t exist. There is nothing that says what speed the lead driver needs to maintain. Just that the speed changes should not be erratic. ie don’t braketest people like Schumacher did in Monza. Also, don’t “accelerate and then stop accelerating” which would be erratic.

    How on earth is driving a tad slower the same as “erratic accelerating or braking”? Annoying maybe, but erratic surely not.

    1. Well i think it was right Button didnt get a penalty or anything from the incident because as you said there was nothing ‘erratic’ about his deceleration but i think it should be brought up in the next drivers meeting. It was clearly unsafe, Hamilton was even on the grass trying not to crash into the back of Webber. You dont really want to see that sort of driving again. There are safer ways of bunching the cars up imo.

      1. When they showed the view from the back of Buttons car however, it was quite clear that he just backed off the accelerator. The problem was caused because whoever was in 2nd at the time (I think it was Rosberg) obviously wasn’t paying attention and DID have to brake at the last minute

        1. It doesn’t sound like either Vettel or Hamilton technically broke the rules, but it just seems laughable when they issue a “reprimand.” At the very least they should call it a warning. To call it reprimand makes it sound like some kind of punishment, when in actuality it means nothing and holds no weight.

          1. Well I think they should make it a rule that cars aren’t allowed to drive side by side in the fast lane.

            Now the drivers are allowed to do this so you get reactions like Hamilton in the press conference when he isn’t aware that he did something wrong. Technically he didn’t, but still.

          2. I don’t know the rules that well so if there isn’t a rule saying what Hamilton and Vettel did was wrong then I suppose a reprimand is the worst they should have received, although I wouldn’t have complained if they had each been given a grid penalty for the next race.

            I agree they should make it a rule that cars aren’t allowed to drive side by side in the pit lane, after all there is already a speed limit in the pit lane.

            If they do change the rule I hope they publicise it beforehand so no one can complain that they are being punished when others have gotten away with it in the past.

        2. Skeet, that’s exactly my reading of that too. The rear-facing camera on Button’s car plus the audio of what he was doing make it clear that he simply lifted off way before the end of the straight.

  4. In true Blue Peter style we can make our own trophies ala Brazil :p or make a team entry more successful than USF1’s attempt?

  5. i’d like to throw out a request for more “why you should watch…”

    1. Ned Flanders
      21st April 2010, 1:00

      It’s a guest writer slot, someone else needs send an article in for us! I’d like one on Superleague Formula, from what I’ve been hearing it’s actually holding its own in the crowded world of single seater racing. Probably helps that A1GP died too, one less competitor for it.

      Also wouldn’t mind hearing more about that new championship, Auto GP I think it’s called. What’s all that about?

      1. They’re having six races, none of them in Britain though so I doubt I’ll see it:


        Driver line-up is a bit heavy on the GP2 perennials who couldn’t get an F1 gig (Pantano, Filippi), especially when you consider it’s billing itself as a feeder category for GP2.

      2. Auto GP recycles the old Lola A1GP chassis and the major attraction seems to be the small budget and large prize fund.

        It may produce some interesting racing but I don’t think it’ll become part of the career ladder for future F1 drivers.

        1. They can’t have bought all the old A1 cars, though, because some of them were still up for sale in that auction a few weeks ago.

          I wonder if someone will by the A1 Ferrari cars – seems such a shame to waste those fine-looking and powerful racers.

      3. I’m planning on going to the Superleague race in Assen in a few weeks.

        Really looking forward to it. V12’s must sound good.

    2. We’ve got a few planned for coming weeks but if anyone wants to contribute one please get in touch!

      Contact form

      1. Maybe someone could write a “Why you should watch: Snooker” for the coming fortnight.

        The Steve Davis/Mark King match last night was as nailbiting as snooker can be.

        1. I think we’ll stick to wheel-based sports. But that still gives us a broad range to choose from – WRC, Moto GP, even NASCAR if we can find someone brave enough to write it…

        2. Mark Hitchcock
          21st April 2010, 15:17

          ah I caught the last frame of that match. What a cracker. Davis was s up for it!

  6. Just a perspective on the Schumacher situation:

    Four races have gone and he only has 10 points. It’s his first year at a new team, an established championship-winner in the past but now in need of hard efforts to bring them back to the top and once again regularly compete for wins and championships.

    The year? 1996…

    1. That is a nice reflection on his situation. We all know what came during that season and in the seasons after!

      Let us not write him off yet.

    2. Yeah I was thinking the same, but then Ferrari was a pretty mediocre team before Schumacher (and Brawn, Byrne, Todt etc) came there. He didn’t do much worse in 96 as they did in 95.

      This time he gets in with the world champions. You’d expect more.

      More notably, Schumacher was ahead of Irvine in 96 and now he’s trailing his team mate by almost two race wins.

    3. Nice effort, Icthyes, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that!

      First of all, 10 points was worth an awful lot more in 1996 than it is in 2010. Then, as Patrick has pointed out, he is being trounced by his team mate so far- although to be fair Rosberg is a better driver than Irvine ever was.

      Schumacher joined Ferrari off the back of arguably the worst 5 year spell in their history. In contrast, Mercedes are a rejuvenated team coming into 2010 off the back of a double championship win.

      And, most importantly, Schumacher had time on his side in 1996. At the age of 41, I think it’s safe to say he’s now closer to the end of his career than the beginning!

      1. Well it was always of course going to be a simplistic comparison and there are other factors involved, but I wouldn’t say Mercedes were rejuvenated team, quite the contrary by the looks of things.

        The point is that the first four races do not make a season, or the next two for that matter!

  7. That racecar engineering explanation of how a wing works is egregiously wrong. Im sure many of the aerodynamics expert will back me up on this, perhaps this would be a good article topic for someone to debunk this age old myth. There is some info on the topic here:

    1. Why is it wrong?

  8. I completely agree with Brundle. Usually I am on the side that says “as long as no-one gets taken out, it’s a fair move” (for example I’m completely against the overreaction on Hamilton’s weaving) but that philosophy has no place in the pitlane. Obviously I don’t have to detail what the consequences might be of a serious incident there.

    Like Brundle says after the hysteria over the Hamilton penalty in Spa (a completely justified penalty in my view) the pendulum is swinging the other way, the stewards are letting a lot go to keep their heads below the parapet… it’s extremely dangerous to make these decisions based on fear of being criticised in the press.

    1. Find the article in the rules that Hamilton, Vettel or Button should have penalized on.

      I’m serious. It’s not there.

      In the past drivers have done exactly the same thing and gotten no penalties. Not even reprimands. Why should there be penalties for these incidents now?

      Also, the safety car article that Brundle quotes says that after the safety car pulls away, the lead car can dictate the pace. Button did just that. There is nothing in that article which says what the pace should be. Only that the pace cannot be changed in en “erratic” fashion.

      It’s really really far fetched to say Button was slowing down erraticly.

      1. “Find the article in the rules that Hamilton, Vettel or Button should have penalized on.

        I’m serious. It’s not there.”

        Oh whoops. I’ve been really stupid here. I put my silly, selfish concerns over “safety” ahead of your anally-retentive obsession with “legal integrity”. How awful of me.

        1. It wasn’t nearly as dangerous as you’re trying to pretend it was.

          In this case the pitlane was empty from the point where Vettel pushed Hamilton off the fastlane.

          And yes, if it was so horribly dangerous as you claim it was, then the FIA has had ample time to alter the rules to make these pitlane incidents an offence where a penalty could be handed out. They didn’t. So they don’t deem it that dangerous.

          Let alone the safety car situation where Button did absolutely nothing wrong.

          It’s like saying that Raikkonen should have moved over when Hamilton failed to see the red light in Canada. He was standing in a dangerous spot …

          1. “In this case the pitlane was empty from the point where Vettel pushed Hamilton off the fastlane.”

            Yes, in this case. I guess since they got away with it this one time, we should just assume that it will always be safe for drivers/teams to pull these stunts.

            “And yes, if it was so horribly dangerous as you claim it was, then the FIA has had ample time to alter the rules to make these pitlane incidents an offence where a penalty could be handed out. They didn’t.”

            Good point. It’s not like the FIA have ever been blase or incompetent about anything!

            May I ask, why do you think you are more qualified to speak about safety than a man who drove past Senna’s blood-drenched death scene, and then had to explain to his young daughter that Ayrton wasn’t coming back?

          2. Geez stop with the dramatics already …

            If anything, resorting to that simply shows you have no real argument.

  9. But before they make 1 or 2 pitstops a race mandatory, shouldn’t they first fix the aerodynamics? Because otherwise you got back to the situation before were instead of having to pass opponents on track they just wait till there stop.

  10. I don’t like the idea of mandatory pitstop, even I think they need to stop the rule of using two compounds of tyres during the race.

  11. Keith, check out the link I posted, the Bernoulli principle accounts for only a small percentage of the lift, %5 or so, the rest is up to angle of attack (stick your tilted, non wing shaped hand out the car window and you can feel lift), the coanda effect, and some other principles.
    It blew my mind when I first read a de-bunking of the difference in flow speed, Bernoulli principle theory since that is what we all learn in school and is even found in some flight manuals. Especially interesting is the fact that the leading edge must actually tilt down in a plane, up in an F1 car (look closely). I promise you I am not some nut propagating wacky theories on the internet, the explanation of a wing in that article is simply an outdated and incorrect theory.
    Otherwise it is actually a rather good explanation of the F-duct with good graphics, its only the wing explanation that is wildly off target, so I hope you don’t think im being critical of your links selection. The wikipedia article on wings also addresses this misconception.
    Lastly, how can a plane fly upside down, or fly with symmetrical top and bottom wings (ala f16)? Its angle of attack. With aero so important in F1, this would make a great article to correct what we all learned incorrectly in school.

  12. The Hamilton story sounds kind of sad: didn’t they have anything more than the manager-driver relationship, and, now that that’s over, they can’t fall back onto their father-son relationship. I hope for their sake that they find the time and mindset to pick that up, again.

    1. We rarely see anything of what actually goes on between them. But this line in Hamilton’s ‘official’ biography jumped out when I read it, which makes me wonder if they don’t enjoy much in the way of a normal father/son relationship:

      Seeing his expression after the races made it worth all the effort. ‘My dad’s smiling down there,’ I thought, ’so I know he’s happy – and that’s all that matters to me. There’s one thing I can do that makes my dad smile and this is it.

      Emphasis added.

      As I said at the time I’d be cautious about reading too much into it, because who knows who really writes these ‘official’ biographies, but taken on face value it does make you wonder.

      That’s the only line worth reading in the official biography, by the way, I don’t recommend anyone to go out and buy it!

  13. Also see these links, the essence is that the air molecules on top and bottom do not need to reach the point at the trailing edge of the wing at the same (why in the world would they?) time and therefore do not need to move at different speeds. The top of the wing “grabs” and holds the air to its surface, directing it downwards, so air goes down, opposite reaction is the wing goes up. The bottom of the wing does the same. With so many aero experts here I fear I may be preaching to the choir, but if the people at racecar engineering dont understand this, I think many others must not either. Anyways, here are links:




    1. “Also see these links, the essence is that the air molecules on top and bottom do not need to reach the point at the trailing edge of the wing at the same”

      Yeah and? No one is saying they do.

      Could you at least point out what you think is wrong in the article? Bit pointless to start some lecture about how wings work when there is no apparent relation between your rant and the article.

  14. I had an idea for a Top 10 article: The ten most promising drivers to have their carreers ruined by bad machinery. I would give it a shot myself, but my F1 knowledge only goes back to about ’88 (and from books ’81) and I’m sure I would miss some of the more prominent ones.
    The idea came from wondering if the HRT was ‘cramping Senna’s style’ or not and if his carreer would extended beyond them, to another team.
    Who never got out of the slumps?

    1. Here’s a few off the top of my head:

      Jan Magnussen at Stewart
      Jean Alesi at Ferrari
      Esteban Tuero at Minardi

      I’m not sure that I’d agree HRT aren’t good enough for Bruno Senna. Not good enough for the Senna name, maybe, but I remain convinced that Bruno is anything special. He may be beating Chandok, but to earn a long term place in F1 he’ll have to outpace him more comprehensively than he’s done so far

  15. Jenson Button is moving to Guernsey… somehow I don’t expect to the rest of the grid to up sticks from Monaco and follow him!


    1. Buddying up with Andy Priaulx?

      1. No showboating in the McLaren there then, I doubt theres a long enough stretch of road available…….
        Or maybe he will try some Hillclimbing? :-)

    2. Didn’t Nigel Mansell move to the Isle of Man rather than the usual F1 tax haven of Monaco?

  16. Following on from Renault’s request to Petrov to get down the gym and lose some weight, how about a piece that focuses on an F1 driver’s fitness regime and the sort of demands that are made on them in this area?

    What I don’t understand is, how are the drivers expected to build up muscles that are strong enough to handle an F1 car on the edge for up to two hours during a Grand Prix, yet remain feather light? Surely muscle weighs more than fat, and assuming that drivers have as good as 0% body fat to begin with, then working to develop stronger muscles will only increase their overall weight?

    That’s how I understand it, anyway. Really, I have no idea, I’ve never been near a gym in my life!

    1. Depending on how you work out, you can build immensely strong but still lean rather than bulky muscles. It’s pretty tricky, and relies a lot on nutrition, but the basic theory is that lots of repetitions with relatively small weights produces the same strength effect as a few reps with a big weight: but the bigger the weight the bigger the size of the muscle (due to how the muscle rebuilds after exercise).

      1. The way I understand it they’re fitness is more similar to cross country skiers than any other discipline. They have immense strength where they need it, but have very extreme cardiovascular fitness for overall endurance.

  17. Another CotD.

    Excellent! (in best Mr Burns impression)

  18. Thanks Keith for the greetings!!! :)

  19. Hello Keith
    Good to see a really clear explanation of how the wing is stalled….now I understand.

    What I have not been able to tell is how effective it’s been for McLaren in particular because I have not been able to find comprehensive speed trap speeds. Also these speeds may not give the definitive answer because the time taken to get to top speed should be less. Anybody know?

  20. I like to think McLaren will revise their procedures regarding allowing their telemetry to be photographed…

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