F1 Fanatic round-up: 5/10/2010

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Here’s the Tuesday round-up:


Branson backs call to remove blue flags (Autosport)

Earlier this year 61% of F1 Fanatic readers said the blue flag rule should be relaxed or abolished.

Comment of the day

Some interesting thoughts from Sean on the always-controversial topic of team orders. Head over to the article page to read the full comment:

I think many drivers can and will put in solid, consistent performances within a few tenths of theirs and the car’s capability, regardless of the bigger picture. But as you get into the rarefied zone of the last hundredths and the ability to really nail a qualifying or in-lap, or string together a series of killer laps when the chips are down, it’s a highly complex mental zone where knowing you can actually go out and win the thing is a prerequisite. Without it, any driver is potentially defunct and for this reason I refuse to judge Rubens on his performances at Ferrari when he had that contract, or Massa on the basis of his late 2010 performances, because he’s effectively driving with lead weights attached to his head.

From the forum

NicktheGeek wants to knows about the Alonso hand thingy.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Cholle and Yorricksfriend!

On this day in F1

The last ever United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen was held on this day 30 years ago.

It was the last race of the 1980 and Bruno Giacomelli impressed by leading for Alfa Romeo in the opening stages. The team, which had seen driver Patrick Depailler lose his life earlier in the season, were knocking on the door of their first win in almost 30 years.

Sadly it wasn’t to be. Giacomelli’s electrics packed up after 31 laps, letting newly-crowned world champion Alan Jones through to win.

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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51 comments on “F1 Fanatic round-up: 5/10/2010”

  1. Charles Carroll
    5th October 2010, 3:45

    Bruno Giacomelli is one of the all-time greatest race names.

    That is officially my fourth son’s name, as of now.

  2. I absolutely support the idea of the blue flags being laxed or removed

    1. felipe you need to drop back a lap and block webber

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        5th October 2010, 8:14

        Excellent point.

      2. Can you confirm you understand?

      3. White visor, otherwise I connot see anything!

        Oh, sorry. Wrong joke.

        1. Geoffrey Baby stay cool, we’re getting you the right joke.

      4. COTD joe! Because that’s what will happen if blue flags will be removed.

      5. UneedAFinn2Win
        5th October 2010, 9:46

        How does removing blue flags remove no blocking rule?

        1. felipe is fast enough to just drive consistenly infront of webber for many laps, doesn’t need to block.

      6. I like the assumption that no matter what we do to the rules Ferrari will find a way to cheat.

        1. Abolishing the blue flag just brings in more complications and opens up so many loopholes for teams to exploit. At a time when we’re supposed to be making team orders clear I think this would be a very bad move.

          1. There’ll always be avenues though. Ferrari could fuel Massa ridiculously light, get him ahead of Webber, slow him down, Alonso wins, Massa retires halfway with an “electronic glitch”.

            Admittedly it would be a lot easier to drop back a lap when the situation demands it than such a convoluted plan, but I doubt anyone would be impressed with such a blatant manipulation and there’d be probably be rules against it, if there aren’t already.

          2. Oh, plus there’s nothing to stop a driver slowing down now and then crashing into his team-mate’s rival (like Coulthard at Spa 1998, but on purpose) except the rules, so like I say rules could be made to cover it if they haven’t already.

          3. Imagine this: Alonso leads, Webber is second but catching him, Massa drops down and lets Fernando pass but forces Webber to gamble to pass him before Alonso has dissapeared.

            Or Toro Rosso are slow and gets lapped by the Red Bulls easily but forces Alonso and the McLarens to lose time.

  3. There are so many things wrong with the idea of blue flags being removed, I don’t know where to start.

    If you’re slow enough to the point of being lapped, then it’s simple – get out of the way. The idea of losing time behind someone who has no right to be racing you doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

    Just because a backmarker is considerably slower doesn’t make overtaking easier, especially if they’re allowed to position their car to defend. Being vulnerable to attack from behind or having all your hard work of trying to catch leading drivers ruined by a backmarker, who will have no influence on the final outcome, is a stupid injustice.

    1. The idea of losing time behind someone who has no right to be racing you doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

      If you can put a car on the grid, then you have every right to race. Go back twenty or twenty five years, when cars that were five or six seconds off the pace of the leaders was not the exception, but the rule. Did you ever hear Prost and Senna complain about it? Maybe – but they never demanded those cars be denied the opportunity to race.

      If a driver cannot lap a car that is five or six seconds than he is, then maybe he is the one with no right to race since he obviously can’t drive too well.

    2. I read Brenden’s comment below yours first, but I also completely agree with you.

    3. Except it would be the same for everyone. But no, it’s not a perfect idea and would need to be tested thoroughly. And to be honest in a few years when the new teams catch up the justification for removing them altogether will be gone. But relaxing them might add a new element of skill into things without the dire consequences of abolition.

    4. It’s a perfectly valid point, but I’m not sure the backmarkers would actually put up any sort of a fight. They just want to run their own race without being slowed even further by blue flags.
      Keep blue flags to alert the slower driver that he’s about to be lapped, but don’t make it mandatory that he pull over before he passes 3 of them, let him decide when to pull over.
      Defending the position would slow them down just as much as pulling over does now, but if they could pull over when the faster car is actually on their gearbox instead of 3 seconds behind, then they lose less time without having too much of an impact on the faster car’s race.

    5. l would like to add that there are many circuits where is virtually impossible to overtake, like Monaco and Valencia. Do you remember Enrique Bernoldi (Arrows) vs David Coulthard GP (McLaren and pole position) during Monaco 2001?


      1. But Coulthard was fighting for position there, so blue flags wouldn’t feature regardless, wasn’t it?

        1. Thats not the point. The point was that despite being in a much faster car, he couldn’t pass because of the narrow circuit. So in actuality the fact that there are no blue flags IS the point

  4. I agree, removal of the blue flag rule is a stupid idea thought up by people who’s teams are at the back of the pack and desperate for a few more minutes on TV. The race leaders have done all the hard work and should not have to deal with slow cars and bad drivers more than they already do.

    1. Were you watching the Singapore Grand Prix? Only ten drivers finished the race on the lead lap. Of the rest, only two of them – Lucas di Grassi and Heikki Kovalainen (technically) – were running at the end of the race. Yet I don’t see you calling for the scalps of Renault, Mercedes and Toro Rosso, since Vitaly Petrov, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi and Michael Schumacher were all at least a lap down.

      And I don’t think those drivers who did not finish on the lead lap can reasonably be classified as “bad”. Jean-Denis Deletraz was a bad driver, but is Timo Glock? No, he’s not – he’s just in a car that is yet to be fully developed. I wholly expect Virgin and Lotus to be fighting the other teams by the end of next season at the latest.

      1. Fully agree with you on this PM! Look at the laptimes of these guys, the first lap they lose because they are slower, but then they lose loads of time just by getting waved the blue flags at them slowing them down even further.

        So it does not even work for the front runners, as they get to pass these cars even more often with the blue flags.

    2. I completely agree with that. Blue flags could be seen to be a form of punishment for being too slow. Drivers should not be punished for leading a race or for being fast by having to deal with traffic that are laps behind them in the race.

  5. Lotus are to to use red bull gearboxes and hydraulics next season. Via @MyLotusRacing on twitter

  6. The idea of axing blue flags at first didn’t sit well.
    But… after some thinking on the subject i do believe it will create better racing.

    If a car is being lapped the other car clearly has a large advantage in speed on either the straights or the corners. The only instances i see problems is either on tracks like monaco where it’s impossible to overtake, or if teams begin blocking certain people passing and not others to favour teams.

  7. I can’t understand the arguments for keeping the flags as they are.

    Dragan says that if you are slow enough to be in a position to be lapped you are automatically too slow and should get out of the way: considering that at some circuits you can be in this position by the end of a race merely by lapping 1.5 seconds slower than the leader, does this mean that anyone not in the top 3/4 teams falls into this category? This also ignores a leader going off-track and/or having to pit for a new nose for example – are they automatically ‘slow’? All the hard-work will only be ‘ruined’ by a backmarker if the driver isn’t good enough to negotiate them – it sounds like rallying is more up your street, outright pace unimpeded by other drivers or having to overtake (maybe Vettel has missed his true calling!).

    This also brings me to Brennan’s argument that leaders shouldn’t have to ‘deal with’ ‘slow cars’ and ‘bad drivers’. Apart from the fact that it isn’t just bad drivers and slow cars that get lapped, it stands to reason that they should be easy to negotiate if they are that terrible (and maybe if they were allowed to it might let the backmarkers show their skill) and if a driver isn’t aggressive enough to get past them without having mummy tell the nasty man to let them through then maybe they don’t deserve to win.

  8. Well it wouldn’t be an Alfa if something didn’t go wrong at a critical time!

    1. Especially the fabled electrical “reliability”..

      Okay, I’d best not jinx myself into being stranded by the road shoulder tomorrow morning!

  9. Absolutely agree with relaxing, but not axing, the blue flags. Drivers in exponentially faster cars should not havde much trouble lapping backmarkers. If a driver does have trouble with it – it’s a skill to develop. I say relaxed, because you still need to have a measure of insurance against lapped cars purpousefully blocking the leaders, but I see no good reason why backmarkers have to compromise their already difficult races for the sake of making life easy for the leaders.

    I’ll bet anything that the nays and yays in this debate will follow the same lines as the ban on refuelling debate last year – age groups. People who remember F1 without blue flags will want them removed because blue flags took something away from the sport that was a test of driver skill and often added to race intensity.

    1. Relaxing is the way to go, even if it’s just a stepping stone to total abolition. Blue flags could be increased to one lap, then two laps the next year, etc. and exceptions could be made for street circuits.

  10. It’s also José Froilán Gonzáles’ birthday today, who I think I’m right in saying is the oldest living Grand Prix winner.

  11. Brilliant COTD, I’ve been saying much the same with the whole “Massa was too far behind” argument for justifying the switch at Hockenheim. It’s not exactly proof that it’s wrong but many don’t even consider the possibility. Confidence is massively important to an F1 driver.

    I still find it amusing some will say that Massa wasn’t good enough to go for the championship and that the team orders ban is unenforceable on the very same weekend when Massa developed race-winning pace and the ban was enforced for the first time!

  12. Great COTD from Sean. I fully agree that a driver who knows his ambitions are capped upfront can never achieve his full potential.

  13. http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/243967/under-the-spotlight-comparing-the-points-systems/

    Now that’s weird. The former point system would actually give a tighter spread for the top 5

    1. They have it slightly wrong though. Under the medals system ties would be settled on points, not countback.

      1. no, ties would be settled on countback, not points.

  14. Racing is actually moving from one point to another. It doesn’t matter if its over a hundred meters or a hundred kilometers.
    The impracticality of staging a race over a hundred kilometers forced the designing of race circuits.
    Which brings me back to the point. If you are already ahead of someone, will you still encounter him again, if you were racing in a straight line?

  15. I think that the proposal of Branson is a good one.
    I also wish he would also buy the Liverpool Football Club – there will be a fire sale in a few eeks and he would get it at a good price!

  16. Posting too much about this today, but here’s a thought: part of the rationale bout relaxing or removing blue flags is that the top drivers should be good enough to get past backmarkers unaided. Bear this in relation to Alonso not being good enough to pass Massa unaided at Hockenheim, leading some to say it’s against the spirit of the world champion being the best driver if he needs a rival eliminated for him. Not everyone subscribes to this argument but it’s an interesting correlation for those who do.

  17. Some Dutch new for F1 2011 > Seems Giedo van der Garde is returning to the F1. He can become a testrider of a higher ranked team and drive for that team in 2012 (probaly Force India) or take one seat in Virgin or Lotus and drive 2011. HRT is not a option.

  18. I would not be surprised if, hypothetically speaking, when blue flags were relaxed or removed teams suddenly came to an agreement on new aerodynamic regs which drastically improved the handling of cars following closely behind other cars. This would then have the additional benefit of aiding overtaking in all situations…

    1. Well in that case the relaxation of blue flags clearly will have turned out to be a great move!

  19. Regarding blue flags, I can’t help but think that the slower teams are not reading the rules close enough. As I read them the car that has been caught has to ALLOW the car behind to pass. It does not say that they have to slow up and move out of the way. Surely leaving a car width at the apex of most bends and not weaving on the straights leaves plenty of room for the following car to pass, if they cannot do so then it is hardly the back markers fault and they shouldn’t be penalised, the penalty is for not allowing them to pass… I’d certainly like to see one of the new teams try that when they have nothing to loose and argue along those lines to the stewards.

  20. Bring back the 107% rule – but make it 102% then blue flags wouldn’t be needed – sorted

    1. Not your best idea – under a 102% rule only four cars would have started this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix!

  21. Then the rest would have to try harder

  22. you missed Froilan Gonzalez 88th birthday :O!

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