F1 Fanatic round-up: 29/9/2010

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Last month, people in over 200 different countries and territories visited F1 Fanatic. Find out where the most readers came from in the forum link below.

Here’s today’s round-up:


Why Michael Schumacher will never be back to his best (BBC)

But most F1 Fanatic readers – 70% – say they want him to stick around.

David Coulthard: Lewis Hamilton is well overdue a change of luck (The Daily Telegraph)

“He needs no driving tips from me, but I would advise him to stick to what he is doing. We have seen already this year at Valencia, Silverstone and Monza that Lewis likes to get up close and personal. It comes off more often than not.”

Singasnore ? What makes a good F1 race? (Doctorvee)

Was Singapore a great race or just a popular event?

The future of Sauber (Joe Saward)

“Recent rumours have suggested that Sauber could be bought by Mexican Carlos Slim Helu, the richest man in the world. […] The magnate is more interested in other sports, but his son, also called Carlos, is a racing fan and has long funded Mexican drivers, notably Adrian Fernandez, who is now managing the rising Mexican stars Sergio Perez and Esteban Guti??rrez. The latter has been contracted to Sauber, a leftover from the days when the team was owned by BMW.”

F1 teams reach new cost-saving deal (Autosport)

Eric Boullier: “I am very delighted that we have done such a move, because it is a success for FOTA and finally we could sign something, instead of the meetings just being a forum. The decision taken last year was maybe in a special context with manufacturers threatening to break away for another championship. The RRA in its old version could even have damaged the sport by being too radical and I was keen to change the slope and extending it ?ǣ and why not? We know we have to enter into a transition period. Everyone has done a reasonable job and I am happy we have signed this agreement.”

The Secret Life of Vitantonio Liuzzi (F1.com)

“My dream has actually already come true. I always wanted to meet Nigel Mansell and I?ve already had the chance to meet him. Naturally one person I always wanted to meet was Ayrton Senna – unfortunately that never happened.” Remember to answer the same questions yourself in the forum.

Pirelli to produce Formula 1 tires in Turkey (The Hurriyet Daily News)

“Pirelli, celebrating its 50th year in Turkey, has invested nearly ??140m in its ???zmit factory. The facility, which has been producing race tires since 2007, is scheduled to produce 50,000 tires for Formula 1 next year.” Thanks to Ronan for the tip.

Comment of the day

John H disagrees with my view that the Lewis Hamilton/Mark Webber accident was a racing incident and ??only invited different interpretations because two major title contenders were involved”:

I find that a little patronising to be honest. I?m a Lewis supporter, but pretty objective in my views I think, and to me Mark should have lifted, he was the one making the decision whether or not to have an accident because Hamilton was already three quarters ahead. Kubica?s overtake later on was virtually identical and yet everyone seemed to praise it.

But it?s just opinion, but I find it a shame that lots of people who probably had unbiased opinions on it (like myself seem to be told it?s only because I?m a Hamilton supporter. Shame.
John H

From the forum

Find out where F1 Fanatic readers are from. Interesting reading for anyone who still thinks there are no F1 fans in America…

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

Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix three years ago today in an exciting, rain-hit session in Fuji.

He beat team mate Fernando Alonso to pole position by seven-hundredths of a second after threading his way past Sebastian Vettel’s Toro Rosso at maximum speed on Fuji’s enormous straight.

The Ferraris occupied the second row while Jenson Button qualified the troublesome Honda RA107 far higher than it was accustomed to with sixth.

Read more: Hamilton scores vital pole (Japanese Grand Prix 2007 qualifying)

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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79 comments on “F1 Fanatic round-up: 29/9/2010”

  1. Fuji 2007…yesterday we were reminded of one of the best races of the 1990s and Fuji 2007 has to rank as one of the best of the following decade. It’s shame Fuji is so hated on – yes the final squiggly bit was a bit rubbish but two years in a row it produced a good race, which (as much as I love the place) is more than can be said for Suzuka the following year.

    1. Day before yesterday rather…

    2. Ah Fuji 2007 one of my favorites too :) Hamilton shone

    3. Wasn’t a big fan of Fuji ’07 when it happened, to be honest. The start was farcical (19 laps under the safety car?), and we were denied a proper fight for the lead first by McLaren’s odd pit calls (bringing Alonso out into traffic) and then Fernando stuffing it in the barriers.

      Brazil or GB ’03, Suzuka ’05 or Nurburgring ’07 would probably go down as my picks for best race of the 2000s, to bhe honest.

    4. Fuji 2007 was a terrible race at a God-awful track. It wasn’t even a race for the first half an hour, it was a senseless parade behind the safety car.

      1. Agreed. Any potential battle for the lead was over before it started and in my opinion the battle between Kubica and Massa is a bit overrated. Getting up early to watch them drive behind the safety car…just wasn’t worth it.

        1. My own opinion is that races should never be started behind the safety car. If it is deemed too wet to have a normal start, the start should be delayed until conditions improve. To run over a quarter of the race before the “race” even started was nonsense, in my view.

      2. I’m not saying it should be everyone’s favourite but it was hardly terrible. Once it got under way it was the scene of an impressive victory in the wet, dramas, Alonso coming through the traffic only to dump his championship hopes in a spin, the Vettel-Webber crash…

        It did help I overslept and missed most of the Safety Car start, but it was a bloody relief to have woken up late and missed nothing!

        1. I even enjoyed the Safety Car bit too. There was more action and intrigue than in many dry races.

          I found it great when the Ferrari’s had to pit for wets, then for nascary few moments I thought that the entire race was going to be run behind the SC and they were going to rise through the field and win by default

          1. There was an article in F1 Racing a few weeks after the race that dealt with that “what-if” scenario. The first person to pit and fill up with fuel was Yamamoto, so had the race run its course behind the safety car, he would have won in his Spyker! The two Ferraris would have been on the podium.

            That reminds me of another point about the race that annoyed me – Ferrari getting away with putting on intermediates for the start, when they should have been on wets. That was mandated in the drivers’ briefing before the race, as well as in an email to the teams (which Ferrari conveniently “didn’t receive,”) so they were aware of the ruling. Hence they should have been black-flagged when they were discovered to be on intermediates.

          2. Didn’t they get the black and orange flag? As devious as what Ferrari did was, I thought that was probably the right call by the stewards.

            Not that it was a call made on ‘right’ and ‘wrong’- Bernie Ecclestone wouldn’t have had two of the title contenders disqualified… what would that have done to viewing figures in Italy?! We all know F1 is not exactly the most honest of sports…

      3. Terrible race?!?! If I didn’t know you were Keith Collantine I’d call you a mad man!

        What about Massa vs Kubica? Hamilton and Alonso’s collisions? Button racing without a front wing for a few laps? Raikkonen racing through the field? Vettel taking Webber for the first time?

        And I liked the circuit too but I explained that in my article: https://www.racefans.net/2010/08/22/top-ten-hermann-tilke-designed-corners/

  2. It was a good race, for sure.

    But we’ve seen a nice number of races which stand a lot higher than Singapore!

    I rate Melbourne, Canada, Spa, Turkey, Sepang, Silverstone higher than China and Singapore.

    I’ve really enjoyed every race (except Bahrain) this year, which makes it my favourite F1 season so far!!

  3. Awesome COTD, that’s coming from a man backing Webber to win the WDC. That’s crazy about Sauber! Does this mean they’d keep the Sauber name or possible renaming and branding all together? They’re one of my favourite teams and would hate to see it change altogether. We’ll have to see though!

    1. Have to agree. I’ve watched the incident a few times on the Beeb website and Webber pretty much hits his right front onto Hamilton’s left rear. He was the one who should have lifted, he was beaten into that corner. Hamilton had the lead (by 3/4s of a car), the line for the corner and without the tap the line for the exit and next corner.

      1. Do you not think Webber was already braking for the corner? I don’t believe he could have lifted off any more than he already was.

        It was Hamilton’s error pulling in too soon; though clearly he couldn’t have seen Webber, so that’s why it has to go down as a racing incident.

        1. Agree with Red Andy

          “Kubica’s overtake later on was virtually identical and yet everyone seemed to praise it.”

          Kubica showed how it should have been done, by leaving the guy on the inside enough room.

          1. I don’t think Webber drove into Hamilton at all, the two just collided during an overtake, which happens. I was merely commending the manner of the COTD.

          2. Yer i thought it was well argued point as well, just a shame he’s wrong :P

          3. Watch the footage again. Hamilton left webber plenty of room on the inside, but webber braked very late and put it up over the kerb. Webber’s line in that corner was never going to work, even if Lewis had left him 4 meters of space. Webber wanted to make it difficult for Hamilton to get around him, and he succeeded big time.

          4. Sutil showed how it was supposed to be done when your beaten into a corner.

            Kubica didn’t do anything different from Hamilton.

        2. In a way it would have been epic to see both of them DNF, it would undo their SP points haul, and close up the championship even more. Would involve Ferrari being even happier bc. Alonso would lead WDC too, for now, but that would add to the excitement of the weekend, I guess.

  4. About Liuzzi’s secret life.

    I initially misread Maradonna (badly written, it’s just 1 “n”) with “Madonna” hahaha! :P

  5. i’m with doctorvee, FOM has lost the plot. i fell asleep FOUR TIMES trying to make it through the 1st half of that race, but “who cares? look at the pretty lights!” i don’t expect abby dabby to be any different. bernie doesn’t give a damn about racing, he wants temples of extravagance masquerading as sport.

    “Anyone not paying full attention would have thought that the race was won by a hotel that looks like a giant flashing lady-toy, so fixated were the cameras on anything but the cars.”

    i couldn’t say it better myself!

    1. I thought the race was good. By F1 standards anyway.

      1. the 2nd half was good. a pass for the lead wasn’t going to happen in a million years tho

        1. How often do you see passes for the lead anyway. They changed the points system to try to motivate people to go for higher finishing positions. But no matter how much points more you get, in the end the points lost in the case of a crash are always more important.

      2. Doctorvee does have a point there, for a race to be great/epic, it has to provide the whole package, for both those watching it on TV and those who paid money to wtach it live.

        As one of those people who paid out of pocket tickets for the Singapore GP last year, I was simply bored stiff by the inability to follow the action. There also seems to be two different levels of experience as well, for those of use who paid for walkabout tickets, the facilities were serviceable, but not great, while those corporate VVIPs (who never pay for anything anyway), get their golden loos and stuff…

    2. that happened last year at Abu Dhabi. all the cameras wanted was a clear shot of that hotel and the colours the lights got.

      but it’s the price to pay when you try to do something different because the real “show” (the one on the track) isn’t interesting enough…

    3. Get Bernie to pay my production company to cover the races and as the director and an F1 fan, I’ll make sure the right things get covered.

      Not that we’d ever get that contract in a million years X)

      1. That would be great. The FOM team really have let us down in at least 4 weekends now.

        Sure Singapore is never going to be a pass fest (like Monaco) but this year showed that even at these track it is not all lost.

  6. It would have been good to have a rookie in the car with schumi, I think that would have been an easier comparison but then again schumi looks rusty in all departments. is rosberg a better driver? At the moment the answer to that has to be yes

  7. Funny how Fuji is hated, despite producing two brilliant, and title hinging, races.

    Whereas Suzuka rarely produces a great race. Heck 2005 was a great race because the majority of the fast cars started at the back.

    1. Fuji is awful because of Sector 3, which is as Mickey Mouse as the new “hill-climb” section in Bahrain.

      1. It’s bad but it should hardly render the entire track a write off like many people seem to believe

  8. 100% completely agree with you John H. Mark is a very stubborn guy, maybe all F1 drivers are, but i don’t think he has ever heard of the phrase ‘yield’. I mean, he has done this to Lewis 3 times this season so far. Also, what’s Lewis’s car made out of? Paper??

    1. those mclarens look extra fragile this year. it’s bad when you lose 2 fights to newey’s cars.

    2. no F1 driver heard of the phrase “yield”.

      Except the slow ones!

  9. I don’t think John H knows what ‘unbiased’ means :)

    1. That’s exactly what I thought. :D

  10. Schumacher have the fire under him & the motivation so if he is given a good car I think he can charge back, that guy didn’t came back for nothing.

    1. We’ll see…

      …or maybe we won’t.

    2. I get the serious impression he is not even really trying to do the best he can this year. He knows it’s only some kind of “testing” to know what to get from next years car.
      Rosberg still has something to fight for, a good WDC position and podium chances are a boost to him, especially with Schumi next to him.

  11. Should Mark have lifted and gone meekly? Or should Hamilton not have been so brash in closing the door on a man he knew was NOT going to be easy to pass? Perhaps (to the author of the COTD) you should have a look at the youtube video that compares Kubica’s overtake to Hamilton’s, and see how Kubica does NOT close the door on Sutil, but rather maintains that wide line. He knows it’s sacrifice on exit speed, but he knows that he won’t make contact. On fresher tyres and in a fast car, Kubica made it look much easier, but the argument is there.

    For the record, drivers (like Massa BEFORE this year) tend to get slammed when they concede position easily, and if you swapped Lewis and Mark’s positions, I doubt Hammy would have lifted.

    1. Agreed. I was just about to write something similar.

    2. Well said. Hamilton definitely wouldn’t have lifted in Webber’s place, and if he had he wouldn’t have been doing his job. The real issue was that Webber was in Hamilton’s blind spot and he misjudged how far ahead he was. Reminds me of another fast driver who had Webber in his blind spot, misjudged how far ahead he was and turned into him earlier this year. Frankly I’m surprised these kinds of cutoff moves don’t result in crashes more often. When you see the onboard footage of a car overtaking, I often think to myself there’s no way they’ve cleared the car they’re overtaking when they cut to the racing line and take the inside of a corner, but by a hair they almost always seem to clear them. Sometimes they clip a wing endplate though, which I’m surprised didn’t happen to Webber. He certainly had luck on his side in that shemozzle (as David Hobbs would call it).

      1. Yeah, honestly if I were in Ham’s case I would have also assumed I had cleared him by that point. Webber was just simply in a position where he was hard to see.

        I still agree that it was a racing incident. Mark wouldn’t have lifted if he was worth all this talk of being a potential world champion and Lewis couldn’t have known he was there.

        1. I agree. I think they both did the right thing for their own races.

          1. Hamiltons mistake was in not taking a wider line, Hamilton has pulled of some masterful multi-corner overtakes in his time, but it’s not about Webber lifting as he was under no obligation to. If Hamilton had taken a wider line he would have had the inside for the next corner.

            If you go back to Malaysia 09 when Hamilton was in a car that reduced it’s own downforce round corners he still outdrove Webber who’s car was producing nearly double his downforce.

    3. Of course Hamilton wouldn’t have lifted. One only needs to look at Monza as evidence of that.

    4. well said! my thoughts exactly.

  12. Also, if I’m not mistaken, since Whitmarsh decided to label Vettel the crash kid, the (erratic, it must be said) young star has had two excellent drives in Monza and now Singapore, while Whitmarsh’s own ace has had two DNFs…

    1. Yeah, Whitmarsh has had to eat his own words I think. It’s also come out SINCE he called Vettel the crash kid that he tried to hire him in ’08, and that he says will again try to hire him once his contract with RBR is up. Is this all just Whitmarsh trying to play mind games with Vettel to make him crack?

  13. I have to say I agree with DoctorVee, as an F1 race it was boring, the same as the last two years.

    And I also agree with John H, Webber should have lifted, he was beaten and with his experience should know that trying to keep the fight going was going to end in an accident. Seems Red Bull are frightened of McLaren the only way they can be sure of beating them is to punt them off the track.

    1. Of the four street tracks in F1, Canada being semi temporary and therefore counting the hgih speed ones are always good, an the lowspeed tight ones rely on the weather and something different.

      Aus and Can hardly ever produce bad racing while Monaco and Singapore almost always do, imagine if Kubica hadn’t got the burst tyre, it would have been such a snooze cruise.

  14. I personally think this has long been a problem for Mark Webber, he really has never known when to back off and concede a position and live to fight for the next corner.. Instead, as my memory serves, he has always elected to have a crash.. I am a fan of his and an Australian but cant help but have noticed this over the years as there is always a lot of coverage on how he is performing on teh local f1 coverage..

  15. I quite like Liuzzi – nice approachable guy who was willing to have a quick chat when I bumped into him at the track on Friday. Not the fastest for sure, but one of the more fan-friendly drivers out there.

    Also, I may hold a biased point of view, but I think that the Singapore GP has gotten more flak than it really deserves. As a street circuit, it’s pretty much a given that overtaking will be quite limited, but that’s the nature of the beast isn’t it? I for one welcome a break from the purpose-built smooth Tilkedromes with surfaces as smooth as a baby’s bum that seem to be a dime a dozen nowadays.

  16. The track wasn’t what made me enjoy the race, you could see, sort of near the middle of the race, it was simply a follow the leader event. The only things which improved this by the end, were things like a puncture to Kubica.

    It’s normal for a race to be interesting at the start, but it’s alarming the top brass in F1 love this race track, as without incidents with Kubica and Kamui and what not, it would have been a very bore-rain like event.

    As a viewer I like that it’s a night event, but if I could I’d warn Bernie against trying to turn other venues (like Melbourne) into a night event. Moderation and diversity is key.

    1. Although I think GPUPDATE’s label of it as the “‘Monaco of the East’. ”

      Is going a bit too far… Monaco has 50 years of history for starters, Sinapore can’t beat that just with a bit of glamour and throwing money at it…

      Monaco is the jewel in the crown in any drivers trophy cabinet, (Perhaps ignoring an Italian who wins at Monza in a Ferrari). Singapore just isn’t, it’s just another track, it’s no more special than China or Bahrain. It will be if it continues to host great races, But at the moment, it’s still just another track.

  17. The plot thickens – a full statement from Proton announcing the resurgence of Lotus in major motorsport:


    You’ll notice they have cleverly distinguised between the Lotus ART GP2 car and the Lotus Racing T127 by adding an extra yellow stipe in the concept art.

    1. It may have been clever but it also made the cars butt ugly…

      As I understand it, If group Lotus wants to enter F1, they may well have to do it against Lotus Racing, who seem to have a very strong case for owning the rights to the name Team Lotus.

      1. I was being faecetious when I said “clever”.

        1. The least they should have done is to continue the thin green stripe in the middle over the airbox of the Indy and new 1-seater.

          It looks okayish, if unpolished, on the GT, but weird on the Lola LeMans car.

    2. Isn’t it also a tad lighter green than the Lotus F1 cars, or is that just an effect of this being rendered pics?

      1. I asked them for proper version of the pictures yesterday but nothing so far. Might have done a story about it but there’s no point now.

  18. “The latter has been contracted to Sauber, a leftover from the days when the team was owned by BMW” – A “leftover”? Sauber was around long before BMW ever entered the sport Mr Saward. Sorry, but that comment is very, very silly.

    1. I interpreted the “leftover” bit to refer to Gutiérrez’s relationship with Sauber, which started when BMW Sauber gave him a F1 test for winning FBMW Europe.

  19. We had Fuji that produced two very good races (and the odd bit of on track controversy) in favour of Suzuka a track that usually produces boring racing which we’re or at least I’m quick to complain about. Guess I’m never happy :P

  20. Perhaps Webber is just tired of Hamilton constantly running him off the road, China this year for starters

    1. Hamilton did have Vettel on the inside of him, remember.

      1. I remember, im just saying that its happened to Webber before and now that he has the WDC at sake he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
        Could be a bit of mind games involved, make Hamilton a bit weary of making a similar maneuver on Webber or any other driver again.. that sort of thing lol

    2. You mean when Vettel tried to go three wide because he’d lost the high ground after Button slowed them down into the final chicane, and decided that rather than holding his line, he’d do his usual chop into Hamilton, who then had nowwhere to go but into Webber if he wanted to keep them both on the track?

      Webber got on the radio at the time saying Hamilton barged him off the track, but I’m pretty sure (although I can’t find the quote) that he said afterwards he saw the video and didn’t think Hamilton was at fault).

      Webber on the other hand already does have form for knocking Hamilton off the track, at his home GP with about 5 laps to go.

    3. Or Monza 2008 :)

  21. Fuji gets the hate because it took temporarily race off from Suzuka. It isn’t bad track, especially compared to some other new circuits recently. But I agree that the start for 2007 race was farcical. I think they should never run more than 10% of the race distance under single SC, that day they did more than 28%.

    1. That’s part of the reason, but it’s also a terrible track. Sector three was probably the worst stretch of road ever used in an F1 race until Bahrain bolted that ridiculous extension on its track this year:

      Why Fuji Speedway is F1′s worst track

    2. Yeh, they should have just let the drivers crash into each other…

  22. “while Jenson Button qualified the troublesome Honda RA106 far higher than it was accustomed to with sixth.”

    Whilst they may have done better running by the RA106 in 2007…I believe the Honda that year was the RA107!!

    1. Oops – fixed!

  23. On Schumacher and the BBC article: I think a big difference is the lack of testing on track.

    Mark Hughes makes a point of highlighting how Schumacher “is not ahead of the car, not anticipating the way he used to but simply reacting to it.” – It could well be that this anticipating used to partly rely on having tried the car in a lot of different settings, and for countless hours.

    Especially if Schumacher somehow can’t get a similar experience from the Mercedes simulator, as has been suggested.

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