Alexander Rossi says he’s getting closer to F1

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Alexander Rossi says his 2011 campaign improved his chances of reaching F1.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Rossi ‘many steps closer to F1’ (Crash)

“2011 was great year of hard work and many new successes and we are now many steps closer to F1.”

Di Resta predicts Force India progress (Autosport)

“If you see the difference from where we started this year to where we moved on to, it has been incredible.”

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Comment of the day

Toro Stevo on how ever-improving reliability is affecting Formula 1:

I’m not surprised that the numbers of DNFs due to mechanical issues is dropping. It was becoming clear at Valencia when everyone finished, and where the mechanical DNFs for the top three teams over 19 races can be counted using just fingers. Just one example, Red Bull have had just two DNFs due to mechanical reasons in two years.

I’m happy the number of potentially injury-causing accidents due to mechanical error is dropping. However the ability for some of the smaller teams to get a taste of success and TV time is diminishing. None of the smaller teams get that rare race meeting where enough mechanical issues occur to give them a chance.

In the last 17 races only five drivers have finished on the podium, and only 6 drivers have finished in the top four in that time (Schumacher’s fourthin Canada being the only time the Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Webber and Alonso stranglehold was broken). By the end of the season, I was just hoping that anybody, even Massa, would drag themselves onto the podium, just so the post-race press conference would have somebody different.

It probably has a lot to do with minimal car and engine development that is allowed. It’s encouraging more conservative car design.
Toro Stevo

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55 comments on “Alexander Rossi says he’s getting closer to F1”

  1. Whenever the issue of improved reliability comes up, one thing always comes to mind: Hungary 1997. To which I might add, the same race where mechanical gremlins for others gave Stewart GP won their only race was the same that mechanical problems denied Luca Badoer and Minardi the 4th place they’d inherited. It’s a double-edged sword.

    1. my heart went out to luca that day. He was ahead of irvine and mika at the time too!!! a day cant go by where he doesnt think about that race. that result would of been mind blowing!

    2. That was one of the races I was thinking of where mechanical DNFs can help. I’d forgotten about Luca though, you’re right it is a double edged sword.

      Most of the races I was thinking of in retrospect involve Monaco. Irvine one year in a less than fancied car (can’t remember which year), Williams 2-3 placing in 2005/06, Trulli’s and Panis’ wins, and RBR’s first podium with Coulthard. There was also either the ’94 or ’95 GP in Adelaide, very few runners left but I think Panis may have come 3rd.

    3. Indeed it is, @ichthyes, but you cannot deny it makes watching a race more tense and keeps us sharp all race to know it might soon be over.

      Currently saying anything can still go wrong in the last few laps of Vettel leading by his customary margin often sounds more like a cliche than anything realistic. At last Red Bull helped us a bit with their flailing KERS system into the mix last year then to keep it exiting!

        1. Good point, but I still think I’d rather have mechanical failures. It means nothing is certain, which I love about F1.

  2. Lotus has been changed to Caterham, Renault has been changed to Lotus and Virgin has been changed to Marussia. Please note your preferences may have been changed accordingly – e.g. if you were previously a supporter of Lotus you will now be shown as supporting Caterham.

    It hasn’t happened for me just yet – I’ve still got Virgin on my profile.

  3. Say what you want about Bernie – you can’t deny the man has a sense of humour with his Christmas cards.

    1. Probably be a bit more accurate if it were the other way around, and if the grammar were correct, but still pretty funny nonetheless. I think I liked Webber’s more, though

      1. hahahahaha I didnt see this red bull card last year but its amazing lol

  4. Anybody else see Adrian Newey included in the new year honors list? OBE for services to motorsport.

    1. Was about to post this. A thoroughly deserved recognition for one of the greatest engineers of motorsports history.

    2. I hadn’t seen that, but it’s very cool! Also, Nigel Mansell was made a CBE:

      Nigel Mansell, a former Formula One world champion, was made CBE while the work of Adrian Newey, the engineer behind the current world champion Red Bull team, was recognised with an OBE.


  5. I hope Rossi is indeed a step closer to F1. It’d be great if Caterham at least gave him a one-off race seat for Austin next November for the return of the US Grand Prix. (that is IF Austin actually happens)

    1. They didn’t give Chandhok a seat for India, so I don’t think they’ll give Rossi a drive for Austin.

      1. Although, it’s a shame Vitaly Petrov isn’t at Lotus any more. Because then you could have Petrov in the Lotus and Rossi in the Caterham and – provided the cars are relatively equal – you could bill it as a new Cold War.

        1. Sometimes I suspect you think too much :D

          1. Welll, when I’m not, I think too little – rather than plan everything down to the last detail, I have a tendency to plan everything except the last detail – so it kind of evens itself out in the end.

      2. I would say, @prisoner-monkeys, they gave Chandhok a chance to prove he is worthy of driving in India for them, but he did not do enough to secure that drive (weather and lack of running might have been a factor in that).

        So that Rossi might get a chance as 3rd driver and if he impresses get a one off drive in the USGP?

    2. If they did… I think we’d have to criticize it as we did Karthikayen… Other wise we’d be hypocrites.

      1. To be fair, Karthikeyan was surprisingly strong in India. He was just two hundreths of a second shy of Daniel Ricciardo in qualifying (the exact margin was 0.012 seconds) and beat both the Virgins in the process (only to take a grid penalty for a blocking Schumacher). He went on to finish ahead of Ricciardo and Trulli in the race, and I think he might have been within sight of d’Ambrosio. So while it was obviously a stunt by HRT to run an Indian driver in the Indian Grand Prix (and to swap Ricciardo into Liuzzi’s car for the weekend to give Karthikeyan lead driver status within the team), it’s not as if Karthikeyan was completely incompetent.

        Of course, it remains to be seen about Rossi, and I’m still against the concept of giving guest drives based on the driver’s nationality, but Karthikeyan wasn’t a liability in India the way everyone assumed he would be.

        1. He gave his all in that race weekend, and didn’t embarass[sic] himself in his last race.

          1. Indeed, he showed they did the right thing by giving him that chance.

    3. @US_Peter Like @prisoner-monkeys said, I can’t see them doing it. I didn’t mind HRT doing it, clearly they were after the sponsorship, seeing them bumble from one day to the next is quite endearing. A team with a solid financial backing and genuinely considering themselves a threat to the mid-field need to keep their feet firmly on the ground though.

  6. Re reliability, get used to it, the current engines are all restricted to less power than they were producing at the beginning of the rule and the 2014 rules are so restrictive that they should be 100% boring, sorry, reliable.

    1. @hohum What governing body of a sport is going to engineer the rules so that reliability becomes an issue? Remember, you’re looking at some of the major sports car manufacturers in the world, unreliability will not sit well with them and rightfully so.

      1. The FIA did in 2005 when it required drivers to do the whole race on the same set of tyres. The experiment was ended at the end of that season.

        1. That didn’t make the cars themselves any less reliable.

      2. @andrewtanner, I am not suggesting that engines should be designed to explode, merely that the engineers be allowed to explore the limits of power output and decide for themselves what is the acceptable tradeoff between power and reliability. Not only does this research and experience help the engineers design faster race cars but it also helps them design more efficient,reliable and lighter engines for their road cars, allowing them to amortise the cost of their F1 campaigns.

        1. @hohum You do have a point about the engineers being able to explore the limitations much more but this would carry a heck of a lot of cost with it which would seriously impede the smaller teams.

        2. You would have to take away the past 15 years of experience with simulation, design, material science, manufacturing and quality control to achieve that.

          There is just so much more things engineers can willingly do and check up on that no engine will be built that is in an experimental state like the F1 engines were only until a couple of years back.

          Just think about how many thousends of hours of running they will have done even by the end of this year on the test beds and dynamos. Although having no limit on amount of units used during a weekend might get one or two suppliers experimenting a tad more.

    2. thatscienceguy
      31st December 2011, 9:26

      Limiting power outputs or restrictions promoting “conservative” designs aren’t responsible for an increase in reliability. It’s from new techonology, better production methods, better materials etc.

      Carbon fibre is now produced much better than before, meaning that components are stronger and less likely to break. Same for metallic components, they’re produced better and are able to be assembled with much smaller tolerances. New metallic alloys have been developed, better abilities to control temperatures etc. Far better QC/QA practices mean less dodgy components get used.

      Engine builders are far superior to even 10 years ago, and so are other component builders. It’s just because they are far better at their job that things are more reliable. You can see the same in road cars, even road cars which ‘push the boundaries’ are far more reliable than they have ever been before.

      The formula can have it’s wick turned up, but it won’t affect reliability one iota. Manufacturing has advanced so far, there will be nothing which returns us to having unreliable cars.

      I was watching a race from 1999 with a mate today and we had this exact discussion, yes reliability has changed F1 and made it less unpredictable, and it’s worse for it. But it can’t be fixed.

      1. Only with complete freedom, like -You can generate this much power with this amount of fuel – we would get this back, with Diesels, electric/hybrids, hydrogen etc etc

      2. Not entirely true. Engines would certainly become less reliable if they weren’t so restricted and didn’t have to last several races. If that was reversed and they only had to- barely- last the duration of a race, producing 1000bhp along the way, it would certainly be a regulation change that would affect reliability.

        1. Not really, the engine would then simply be designed to adhere to the new usage duration. In the same way that engines designed to last for a few races stand up pretty well when used for a couple of races, an engine designed to last for one race will be perfectly reliable if used for just one race.

          As engineers we only design something to be as durable or reliable as it needs to be. For example, if it assumed that long haul aircraft will undergo 1000 landing an take off cycles, then the aircraft will be designed with materials with that sort of fatigue strength – ie the plane isnt designed to be indestructible, simply to be reliable in its working lifetime.

          So with restrictive homolagtion of engine designs, where there are no significant unsolved engineering problems with the architecture, then mandating that the engines no longer need to last any longer than a race wont bring about unreliability after the seasons its introduced. Its the same with suspension, cooling etc.

          What will bring about the unreliability is hideously expensive, suffocating and exciting de-restriction of the formula.

          1. Fair enough. But, if engines only last one race rather than 3, then if nothing else there would 3 times as many engines being used through the season, which means it’s 3 times as likely there will be engine failures.

      3. @thatscienceguy, that is a little simplistic, it is like saying that grip and downforce are so superior now that the cars will never spin off the track, the essence of racing is exploring the limits. Just as the driver has to know at what speed centrifugal force will overcome the coefficient of friction between tyres and track the engineer has to know at what power/boost/rpm the engine components will fail. The rules require the engines to be made only of iron or aluminium excluding many alloys used in modern road car & bike engines, not a lot of useful research there.

      4. You are incorrct, we can have unreliability again, all we need is less engine development restrictions, and the old points system. in the old days the engineers were really going for broke, less points positions means flat out or bust.

      5. Even worse, if we look at DRS having been introduced to “fix passing”, just think of what they might come up with to “fix” reliability!

  7. I’ve been following Rossi’s career for about 3 years now, and I think this kid has got what it takes. He’s barely 20 years old, and yet he’s never finished below 4th overall in any series he’s entered, even in his rookie years when he’s competing against older, more experienced drivers. My advice to him would be to compete in WSR next season (instead of moving over to GP2), and try to win that series resoundingly. He’s also American, which can’t hurt him in terms of marketability, sponsorship potential, etc. now that F1 is moving back to the US market.

    1. The problem is that we’re got a lot of promising drivers – like Wickens – who are struggling to break into Formula 1 because old fogies like Jarno Trulli and Rubens Barrichello insist on staying in the sport when their careers have long since passed their peak. I fear the same thing will happen to Rossi. Although being American with two American rounds in the championship from 2013 certainly won’t hurt.

      Rossi has been linked to a GP2 drive with Caterham, and that is certainly not a bad move for him to make. Luiz Razia was in his third year of GP2 this season and Davide Valsecchi his fouth, and the team managed to finish sixth in GP2 and seventh in GP2 Asia in their first year of competition. Compare that to the other debutant team, Carlin, who finished in last place in both championships.

      1. Dear @prisoner monkeys, I hope that you get asked to leave your chosen profession before you turn 40 in order to make room for younger candidates who may or may not be able to do better job than you, I know of course that were this to happen you, you would be glad to leave the profession in order to give someone younger a chance.

        1. Oh dear, please insert the “a” and “to” in the appropriate places.

          1. I know quite a lot of teachers who never make it to their 40s before they end up in sick leave from the stresses of the job.

            And surely one would want young teachers with fresh knowledge to teach instead of having old fogies teaching our kids, eh!

  8. Okay, we all remember my little rant against Autosport for making headline news out of a non-story with Damon Hill talking up Raikkonen’s return. I said I could understand it if Hill offered a dissenting opinion, so I find it very interesting that Autosport have ignored Gerhard Berger’s thoughts on the matter; Berger has publicly said he would not have re-signed Raikkonen “I would be surprised if he has the strength, discipline and ambition to return to the front”.

    1. thatscienceguy
      31st December 2011, 9:33

      Let me paraphrase you yesterday: “Why do these old drivers who are so far removed from F1 insist on providing their opinion?”

      It seems interesting you had a problem with Hill answering a question (yes, you directly attacked him and then changed to attack the journalist) when his answer is contrary to yours, and now you’re criticising Autosport for not publishing someone providing their opinion.

      It certainly sounds a little like you think only people whose opinion aligns with yours should be published.

      1. No, I’m not criticising Hill for answering a question. I’m criticising Autosport for making headline news out of it. As has been pointed out, Raikkonen was not the only thing Hill was asked about – but it was the thing Autosport ran as their headlines.

        If you look back over the past year, Autosport and The Team Formerly Known As Renault have become quite close. They sponsor the Autosport International show, for one, and during the dispute with Tony Fernandes, Autosport’s articles usually favoured Renault a bit (if you look at some of the comments on their forums, their readers picked up on it and were quite critical of it, but a lot of them were pro-Fernandes). And now they’re drawing Raikkonen’s return out whilst ignoring stories that provide a different opinion.

        1. Autosport for making headline news out of it

          Haha, PM, not sure if you have noticed, but that’s their job.

          Seriously though, I think the answer is that, “Kimi can do it” makes for a positive article that people like reading. “Kimi can’t” makes for a negative article, that generally speaking isn’t great for viewers appeasement.

    2. Another opinion -that like Hill’s – wont change anything. I don’t see your point and why you find it necessary to become righteously indignant with anything that doesn’t fit your global utopian vision. Its not like Autosport have released an article denouncing Berger in the wake of his comments.

      1. Its not like Autosport have released an article denouncing Berger in the wake of his comments.

        They don’t need to. Ignoring him says it all.

        1. maybe they just did not have the interview with (german speaking) Berger, so they deemed it better not to quote others but keep with their own sources?

  9. Pretty sure that ‘Delhi belly’ is a very well-known phenomenon for people visiting India. I don’t really see the offence in a joke at the expense of that. Hammond got ill on last years special and I don’t remember any furore, even though his clichéd illness was heavily joked about.

  10. Because Autosport is a British magazine and Damon is a former British driver AND World Champion unlike Berger which is neither. Also until recently Hill was the head of BRDC which successfully built the new Silverstone Wing and kept the GP at Silverstone. Donnington’s massive screw-up absolutely helped Silverstone but Damon was at the BRDC at the time so the victors get the spoils / recognition.

    Berger makes headlines in Germany where Hill certainly wouldn’t. Some Schumi fans probably still hate him from the battles in the 1990’s

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