F1 Fanatic round-up: 21/7/2010

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Today I’m going to be meeting Drew MacDonald from Populous who worked on the changes made to Silverstone this year and the new pits which are expected to be opened next year.

If there’s anything you’d like to know about F1 circuit design in general and the new Silverstone in particular, please post your questions in the comments.

Here’s today’s round-up:


Lewis Hamilton keen to distance himself from rival Jenson Button (The Daily Telegraph)

“It?s strange. I?ve had four solid races ?ǣ two wins and two second places ?ǣ and yet I?m only 12 points ahead. We?ll have to see how it goes but if I can increase that gap a bit I?ll certainly be happier.”

Comment of the day

Romain Grosjean’s return to GP2 has several people wondering if he’ll make his way back to F1, including Flippy PK:

Well, another interesting point is that Grosjean raced with DAMS in Auto GP, and based on his performance there, saw him as a candidate to replace d?Ambrosio, as if AutoGp was a test. I could see him at Sauber, or a Renault-powered team.
Flippy PK

From the forum

Kapow found a terrific story about Bernie Ecclestone.

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

What’s the earliest date the world championship has ever been won?

It was on this day in 2002, when Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix and, with it, his fifth drivers’ championship title.

Here he is passing the crowd having taken the chequered flag. It sounds like not everyone was pleased with his win:

And here’s Schumacher speaking in the press conference afterwards:

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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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  • 64 comments on “F1 Fanatic round-up: 21/7/2010”

    1. Hartley got dropped by the Red Bull Young Driver Programme

      1. i heard. ouch. it’s probably because red bull thinks jean-eric vergne is a better investment.

        1. yea prob, its just bad news for kiwi f1 fans

        2. Being written off by Dr Marko is the best endorsement a young F1 prospect could hope for, so I expect him to be an F1 champion within a few years – following in the footsteps of another driver Dr Marko didn’t hire or rate highly – Kimi Raikkonen.

      2. I read about that as well. It seems even the Red Bull racing team did not know about it (he’s their test driver and does a lot of simulator work for them), and their a bit upset about losing him for this.

    2. I remember that day. I was pleased for Schumacher and felt privileged to see Fangio’s great record finally equalled. But I was also disappointed in how easy it had all been. I don’t really remember the rest of the season either.

      After that, I wouldn’t watch more than another two races until 2007, something I’ll always regret.

      PS: Shamefully misleading article title from the Telegraph there. Part of the reason I only ever rely on this site for F1 news.

      1. Started following F1 properly, or “full time” in 05, strangley, I’ve never minded Schumacher as much as others, probably something to do with not having to live through all that dominance.

        Worst feeling you can feel as a fan, “oh no he’s/there going to walk away with it” felt it in Turkey last year an Spain this, luckily…

        1. Despite what he may or may not have done on the track to win his championships, he certainly seems like a genuinely nice guy off the track. The thanks he gave there to his team was well stated I thought.

        2. i think its the fact you didn’t have to live through his cheating and general bottom of the barrel tactics scribe.

          1. Ah, just finished eating a lemon, it wasn’t as bitter as your whining though, Mike-e.

            I agree with US_Peter, he was always thankful to the mechanics and team around him that provided him with the equipment required to show the rest of the field what he was made of.

            1. Schumacher did always show that he was aware his success was only possible with a great team of hard working people behind him.

              He also is a very talented racer, who has shown fantastic speed, and strategic racing ability.

              That doesn’t change his, and his teams, willingness to go the edge of the rules, or beyond that if he could get away with it, to get his best result.

              I used to be a fan in his first years, but that first championship y, ear spoiled a lot. His early Ferrari years were a good showing, but the following domination spoiled that, because of the length of it, and due to the trickery.

              Regardless of that, I did always believe his wins were results of hard work by him and his team, even if not always work that they should have been involved in.

            2. lemons are bitter? I thought they were sour?


              yes, it comes to the same thing. Should I hate Lewis and Mclaren for liegate, spygate, crygate? (crygate being Nicole’s emotions at every race she attends)

              Here’s to hopefully a stable, oversteery Mercedes car and more Schumacher success in the near future!

            3. What’s Hamilton supposed to have done in ‘spygate’?

            4. @Dragon- you’re right, but I needed something more original to start my reply with :P

            5. Keith, I meant just McLaren in that instance, not Lewis, sorry for the confusion!

      2. What I remember from France 2002 is that Raikkonen almost won his first race but ran wide on some oil which allowed Schumacher through to win the race and clinch the title.

    3. Maybe you can ask Drew Macdonald about the bumps on the track, what caused them and were they intentional?

      1. Now that would be interesting track design, “tell you what this superfast corner needs?” “what?”
        “Something a little bit naughty, men! Bring me the grinder.”

        1. I’d like to know more about the new pits complex, whats included, the entry and exit routes etc, and what is going to happen to the old ones….

    4. “It’s strange. I’ve had four solid races – two wins and two second places – and yet I’m only 12 points ahead. We’ll have to see how it goes but if I can increase that gap a bit I’ll certainly be happier.”
      Shows Button’s consistency

      1. Shows how easily Hamilton forgot that despite some great drives by him it was Button scoring big early on with the same number of wins and second places.

        1. Button is definitely a dark horse, seemingly always finishing near the top regardless of qualifying performance. I think he’s got more wins in him yet, could be Prost and Senna all over again :P

    5. wow, lewis has quite the selective memory. does he not remember jenson next to him on the podium in turkey and canada? or perhaps jenson’s victories in Australia and China? they’re pretty well on par.

      1. I think he means that he’s had those 4 results in the past 4 races. Button’s have come over the past 10.

        The answer to Lewis’ question is his retirement in Spain.

      2. I think that Telegraph article is misleading with its quote. Its another attempt to sew discord in Mclaren.
        A driver naturally wants to be ahead on points, not necessarily the number one driver in the team.

        1. I meant Sow discord!!

    6. just got sent an article from the Italian edition of Vogue mag about Natacha Gachnang (who used to drive in GT1 until last week) and came across the reason that fashionista’s shouldn’t be allowed to write about motorsport.

      “Speed runs in the family: her cousin is Formula 1 champion Sebastien Buemi.”

      Has Buemi improved while I wasn’t looking?

      1. Ha. Nicely put :D

      2. You could argue that all F1 racers are great champions!

    7. Well, I also remember that day. Kimi was leading until Schumacher passed him under yellow flag or yellow and red flag, I think, in the final stage of the Grand Prix. Controversially he was not penalized nor demoted any places.

      1. Yea, that was just the perfect way to crown that championship for Schumacher. The team getting away with far to many things without getting punished.

        It was those years that did him in for a lot of fans. But i am still looking forward to seeing some more great driving, nice tactical moves and a little bit controversy (like Monaco this year), and some more wins as well.

      2. It wasn’t that controversial, since Raikkonen had gone completely off track because of the oil, rather than slightly off-line. Under the safety car, similar yellow flag conditions apply, yet Trulli slipped off the course (rather stupidly, without oil or anything) and Hamilton passed him. He was allowed to keep the position without any fuss (let’s not get into what happened after).

    8. Hey Keith,

      Cool that you get to meet with Drew MacDonald. I have a few questions, mostly relating to runoff areas.

      1) When designing new sections of circuit what sort of data is used to predict corner speeds, in order to calculate the required runoff area on the outside of a corner?

      2) When the size of the runoff area is calculated, are different rates of acceleration / deceleration for different types of race vehicles considered? For instance a Formula 1 car can decelerate at a faster rate than a touring car, which would probably mean a Formula 1 car would hit the barrier at a lesser velocity than a touring car, meaning the impact force with the barrier, for a driver in a Formula 1 car would be less than for a driver in a touring car (assuming the velocity before braking was close to equal for both cars). I guess what I am really trying to ask is; is a safety analysis of a circuit undertaken for different types and categories of vehicles, or just Formula 1 cars?

      3) Are Populous interested in employing an Australian civil engineer experienced in road design that is willing to relocate to the UK and is interested in designing motor racing circuits?

      1. I’ll definitely ask him question three :-)

    9. Hi Keith,

      I would love it if you could ask Drew what there next major project is or what they are working on at the moment.

      1. Populous has several sporting projects on the go, and this seems to be what they specialise in (e.g. Wimbledon centre court roof, London Olympics) though they are moving into other areas.

    10. Drew: Could you ask him what he thinks could be changed or loosened in the FIA track design rules to allow tracks to encourage closer racing between cars?

      Wider approaches to hairpins for example? I’ve always thought turn 1 at Cleveland Lakefront was highly amusing, where the width of the airport’s runway straight allows lots of different lines around the acute turn.
      Here’s our Nige having fun there in his usual monotone. The turn also incorporated the pit exit on the outside…
      Not much elevation change there though.

      1. And does he think the Austin GP can really be ready in 2012?
        Tavo still thinks so, and so does Tilke according to this:

        1. A lot of old news there, but some new things as well Scalextric.

          The part about not announcing it as they still want to buy some parcels makes sense. But it is sure they have not yet received all permits, so there are some risks to the timetable.

          Tavo also gives some more hints on track design

          we have taken four or five corners we are fond of from other circuits and used them as a pattern for certain sections of our track. There is a corner from Turkey, a couple from Silverstone and one from Hockenheim.

          So they took 180R, the maggot/becketts, copse and stow corners and the Hockenheim hairpin (just a guess)? But will it work?

    11. How does track designer feel about different runoffs? Tarmac, gravel, astroturf, grass and whatever is at Paul Ricard?

    12. The Telegraph article shows, just how short their memories are.
      Lewis, your only a few points in front of Jenson, even after having great results for the last races, because Jenson did better in the races up to Barcelona. Remember, he had 2 wins a lot earlier than you!

    13. Question: Does Drew MacDonald believe safety measures, such as 3 mile wide gravel traps lead to circuits being boring or is that just a Tilke problem? Did the upgrade have to comply with the same, over the top rule?

    14. HounslowBusGarage
      21st July 2010, 8:45

      Question for Drew MacDonald.
      Once the new pit complex is built, will all the paddock traffic access it via the Hangar Straight bridge? Or is another bridge planned, and if so, where?

      1. One from me.
        Are they going to re-angle the Abbey grandstand, as at the moment you cannot see down the new start \ finish straight when you sit there?

    15. Hi Keith!

      You can ask Drew MacDonald…
      1. What is the most important to think about when you build a track ?
      2.In some paved asphalted roads here in Sweden, they got heating coils in the asphalt,do you think it would work to have it in a circuit?
      3.What education do you need to be a trackdesigner ?

      Sorry for my bad english,I hope you understand.

      1. Your English is fine, I know English people who do a lot worse….

        1. Thank you Dan N.

    16. Do the FIA design rules FORCE designers into building cookie cutter tracks? As an example I believe the rules are something like Start straight must be X long, no more than Y and have a hairpin or chicane a certain distance up the road.

      What changes to FIA design rules would you recommend?

    17. Schumi_the_greatest
      21st July 2010, 9:38

      Intresting that despite the many commentators saying how well button has done in relation to hamilton this year, he has only actually beaten him on the track (to my knowlegde) twice at melbounre and shanghai when he won races. Hamilton was on for a big score in spain until his problem too. Ive been very impressed with hamilton this year.

      1. yeah the Lewis years of F1 have been some of my faverites.

    18. Another one – Was Drew the type of kid that kept designing ‘dream’ tracks for his scalextric when he was a kid? I still am and I’m 45 (he he)

    19. Question for Populus –

      I’d just like to know more about the processes for track designs/edits? I’ve voiced this idea before but is there no way a selection of edits/creations could be posted on to the Formula 1 website and have the fans vote which track/track variation they’d like to see? I know it sounds a bit cheap, but it’s hardly voting for your favourite driver to win a GP :) If they want more interraction for the fans, I think it’d be a really nice way of doing so.

      Also, how do you get in to track creation as a profession?

      1. It’s a shame Hellmund did not show the site of the Austing GP yet, we could have a nice forum discussion with track designs to be an inspiration for Tilke GmbH.

    20. After having Stefan GP boasting they can use the Toyota 2010 car first we have heard HRT bing interested, then of ART wanting to use it as a basis for their design with a Mercedes engine, Durango/Villeneuve was said to be interested and if that’s not enough, there were rumours of Pirelli wanting to use that car to test the tyres.

      Now it seems HRT are in serious talks and have a deal ready (Heard this from Adam Coopers tweets and Pitpass is reporting it with reference to Italian site 422race.com).

      I am curious about the money involved though. Are they raking in funds to finish this year after giving up part of their budget to get a technical deal ready for next year? That would make sense and would explain why Chandhok did not seem to worried about the “driver caroussel” making him sit out several races.

    21. Some Italian papers are claiming HRT want to sign up for Toyota engines. Could this mean Sakon Yamamoto would become a permanent fixture in the 2011 car. Toyota like to have Japanese drivers in customer cars ( Kazuki Nacajima at Wiliams).

      Lotus have been reported to want Renault in the week running up to the British GP, but Virgin Racing want to keep their Cosworth powerplant for 2011. Ithought that the new teams had to have Cosworth for 3 years under contract?

      1. Is Yamamoto not from the Honda stable?

        1. If you’re right, will they bring back Nakajima then? Hope not.

      2. I misread, seems they want engines AND the documents, facilities and indeed car from Toyota 2010!!

      3. I saw this news as well (but only on other sites, i don’t understand italian). If HRT sign a deal with the Toyota design people to deliver them a car design and development work, it would help them do a serious car.

        But i suppose it will be far from free (driver influence or money or both)

        As far as the Lotus going with Renault rumours go. Yes, they have a contract for 3 years, but contracts can be cancelled early.
        And what would be the use for Cosworth of pushing someone to use their eninges if they don’t want to (they might want some payments to be made though!)

    22. Korean GP in trouble for 2010? This only qualifies as a rumour at this stage but if we lose a race then that means current championship standings have even more weight.

    23. James Allen asks a very good question: Why did Flavio Briatore visit Ferrari?

      It’s probably a message from Briatore to someone, but to whom? And what about?
      It might be about driver management (Alonso and Webber), about FOTA, about politics, about Bernie, about Todt.

      1. Or Flavio getting a job at Ferrari. I doubt it but it is just bonkers enough to happen in f1 :p

        1. Actually Alonso was there last week so there is a small chance their visits overlapped.

          Webber seems possible I guess. The news leaked and speculation would make his position in RBR interesting.

          It’s probably something Bernie related or something noone can predict knowing Flav.

    24. http://tvnz.co.nz/motorsport-news/red-bull-cut-all-ties-hartley-3665893

      As a man who has followed his career being a fellow New Zealander I must say this didn’t suprise me.

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