Massa quickest in touring car weekend at Interlagos

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Felipe Massa tops two practice sessions driving a Fiat Linea at Interlagos.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Massa on track at Interlagos (Ferrari)

Massa was quickest in both free practice sessions in the Copa Fiat series. As a guest in the series, he had use of an extra set of tyres. However he will not compete in this weekends’ races at Interlagos.

Ecclestone close to completing new Concorde Agreement (AutoWeek)

“We were happy to go there, the teams were happy, the FIA was happy. If we can solve this problem, Turkey can return to the Formula One calendar. Let’s wait and see.”

Mike Hewland passes away (Autosport)

“Mike Hewland, founder of the Hewland Engineering company that became synonymous with motorsport transmission technology, has died at the age of 89.”

Watching the Olympics, Seeing Formula One (International Herald Tribune)

“I kept an eye on the Olympics, and since it is the summer break in Formula One, I tried to keep my mind off Formula One. But, inevitably, comparisons of the two spectacles kept entering my thoughts ? especially since Formula One has for many years hyped itself as the world?s third most popular sporting spectacle, behind the Olympics and World Cup soccer.”

Mystery document plagues F1 funding (Kxan)

“Continuing the legal saga over Formula 1, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released an opinion Friday leaving more questions about whether the Grand Prix event should be able to receive state funding.”


Comment of the day

Is domination by one team always a bad thing? Pete_H thinks not:

I remember a time when a team/driver dominating a season was applauded as it showed technical excellence by the team and great driving from the car.

Nobody complained when Lotus and Clark were dominating seasons in the sixties, Nor when Fangio was dominating seasons in the 50s. We saw some dominance by teams/drivers through the seventies and eighties and the complaints from fans was minimal because they understood the sport and that a more open formula sometimes allows this sort of thing as there is always the possibility for one team to find that something extra.

The problem today is that its seen as a ‘show’ and must be ‘entertaining’, If a race doesn?t include a hundred overtakes and if one team/driver does a much better job & dominates then its labelled ‘boring’ and I think that’s wrong and shows just how far the sport side has fallen.

People label 2011 as boring because Vettel/Red Bull dominated, I say it was a good season purely because of that as it highlights what F1 was always about and should be about again.

The results of this weekend’s Caption Competition will be in tomorrow’s round-up, so you’ve still got 24 hours to come up with the best caption you can:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Harry Palmer!

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On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Nico Hulkenberg who is 25 today.

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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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69 comments on “Massa quickest in touring car weekend at Interlagos”

  1. Finally a place where Fernando is not faster!

    1. Very droll!

    2. My thoughts exactly @plutoniumhunter, maybe a good idea for him to make a name for himself in touring cars then!

      1. @BasCB I think the fact that Massa was able to beat Caca Bueno actually reminds us that Felipe is still one of the very best drivers in the world, even if he has struggled to find those last few tenths over the last years. Bueno is a top class driver, he has won the Stock Car Brasil, considered the major South American motorsports series, many times. I also remember his guest appearance at the WTCC, where he was on the pace immediately.

        I believe that Massa doesn’t deserve to be at Ferrari anymore and I will be disappointed if Maranello decide to keep him for 2013. But I tend to think that he still has what it takes to be an F1 driver.

        1. ‘Caca, Felipe is faster than you.’

        2. I sure think that Massa is fast enough to be an F1 driver, but its unlikely he will be easily back to winning in the series. So wouldn’t it be better for him to go and have fun winning a lot in a touring cars series than to struggle in a mid-back of grid team @girts?

          1. @BasCB I think it depends on whether he prefers being a mouse’s head over a lion’s tail :) Michele Alboreto ended his F1 career at Minardi after having won races with Ferrari some years earlier. However, Massa has already hinted at a possible future in touring cars if he cannot get a competitive seat in F1 anymore so I guess you might be right.

    3. Perhaps he does have a future in motor sports, just not F1.

    4. Fernando wasn’t exactly there to beat him…

  2. Massa Quickest ?? I must be dreaming !!

  3. Wow. Poor Lewis. :-(

  4. raikkonen tried rallying in summer break and the next season he ended up rallying, massa could be in touring cars championship next season
    said he wanted a competitive drive if he was replaced but where though exactly? which competitive drive is there next season for massa?
    massa to touring cars next season you have heard it here first

    1. Lol, i like how you claim he tried rallying.. hes Finish, he was going 140km/h sideways threw a forest while still in diapers… Hes finish, rallying is in his blood.

      1. @iabuser
        Some say, he goes through 30 sets of tyres a year on his daily driver. And that his diet consists of five ice creams and a daily total of 570 degrees of slip angle and two handbrake turns. All we know is, he is called Kimi Raikönnen.

        1. brilliant

        2. I hope you will not get a bill for that from Mr. Clarkson …… and The Stig of course!

  5. Quickest in a racing event that he owns, hmmmmm.

    1. HAha! I blew the news first.

      1. *you

  6. I disagree with Pete_H. I get where he is going with it, but saying that this year is random, is exactly the same as saying it was random last year, where, as you may remember, one driver and team did a much better job and dominated.

    Yes people complain when there is only one winner, but that’s because not everyone is a fan of that driver, and I don’t see why they have to be. And I’d wager a guess that people complained back then too, just not on social media…

    F1 has come a long way from Clark’s days, and I think that it’s very easy to point at gimmicky things and words used like “entertainment”, but that’s just how the world is nowadays. Cricket is doing the exact same thing (along with many other sports). And at the end of the day, it’s still a competition, just because the rules are somewhat designed to make things exciting for the people watching doesn’t mean it’s any less so. Does it?

    1. Yes people complain when there is only one winner, but that’s because not everyone is a fan of that driver, and I don’t see why they have to be.

      It would be so refreshing if more people would frame their objection in those terms instead of pretending it’s the domination per se that they object to.

      People started complaining/panicking about the “boring Vettel domination” very early in the season last year, at a time when it was hard to believe that they were already soooooo veeeeery booooored. It was painfully obvious what was really bothering them.

      Maybe the sport has become more partisan (among fans) since the days of Fangio and Clark? What driver did people loathe back in the 1950s?

      1. pretending it’s the domination per se that they object to

        Not everyone is pretending it. I don’t like domination even when it’s my favorite driver.

        I was happy to see Mansell (my all-time favorite) finally win a WDC, but I definitely would have preferred he took one of Piquet’s championships from previous years instead of winning a year after which ignorants will put his becoming one of the champions down only to a great car.

        Schumacher was my next favorite driver, and I was happy for him to finally win with Ferrari, too, after the “barren” years. But then he went on, continuing to win and win and win (and win), and after about his 4th championship it simply became boring and pointless for me to root for him.

        Though when it’s not your favorite drivers who do the domination, it’s obviously more distressing :-)

        What driver did people loathe back in the 1950s?

        There is perhaps a small difference between an era when millions follow a sport; and another era when hundreds of millions. An era when media was not about making news, twisting everything out of shape and playing to the lowest common denominator, and an era where this is par for the course. An era when hero-worship was only that, and another era when it’s compensated by at least as much gleeful hero-bashing.

    2. I think that some of the main reasons why Vettel’s dominance was so unpopular were as follows:

      1) The 2010 season will probably be remembered as one of the best ever, because while the individual races weren’t exactly phenomenal, the overall championship fight was so tense that Vettel did not actually win the title until forty-four seconds after he crossed the finish line in Abu Dhabi. To go from such a tight and tense title battle one year to Vettel trouncing everyone the next would have been very anti-climactic.

      2) Rule changes introduced in 2011 – DRS and the Pirelli tyres – were specifically designed to make the racing closer. And they did … the racing was just close for second place. No matter how much more intense the racing was, it didn’t change the fact that everyone was still trying to be second-best, and it was immediately apparent from the first practice session in Melbourne.

      3) Red Bull’s attitude leaves a lot to be desired. The rules prevent moveable aerodynamic parts, and key parts of the Red Bull were visibly flexing, only to pass all of the FIA load tests. It felt like a bit of a sucker punch to see that. Likewise, the off-throttle blown diffusers used by all the teams felt a little cheap.

      4) Likewise, Vettel’s attitude was unpopular. The upraised finger every time he scored pole or won a race took a lot of criticism. As I have said in the past, there is a big difference between expecting you will be competitive because you know the capabilities of your car, and assuming you will be competitive irregardless of the capabilities of your car. Vettel seemed to fall into the latter, assuming that he would be on pole and win rather than earning those positions. How many times were we watching an incredibly tight qualifying session, only to have Vettel emerge in the last few minutes, thrash everyone by half a second and spoil it all, then park the car and smirk for the camera with his upraised finger?

      1. @prisoner-monkeys

        This year’s Valencia qualifying comes to my mind. No one expected Vettel to be on pole position and that too 3 tenths quicker than the time set by Hamilton. He definitily deserved to show that Upraised Finger;)

        1. Valencia is precisely what I’m talking about: everyone produces a hard-fought qualifying session, then Vettel comes out and lazily sets a quicker lap time and spoils the whole thing. Then he smirks at the camera and sticks his finger up as if he was entitled to pole position and setting a lap time was a mere formality.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys – I’d hardly say Vettel “lazily” sets a quick lap time, he can just go faster because he is a good qualifier. Nobody complained when Hamilton was much quicker at the start of this year. His Valencia lap was close to perfect anyway, that’s the main reason why the margin was so big: car and driver in perfect harmony.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys – Every person has a different way of expressing their joy, different way to celebrate. So if you assume that Vettel’s upraised finger is nothing more than his arrogance that he is entitled to be on pole, then you are wrong. He achieved something remarkable and he is just showing his way of celebrating it. And likewise you may then hate Nadal because he also bites the trophy after winning the grandslam. His way of celebrating is diffrent from what other people usually do.

    3. COTD! a relief. I am not alone thinking that dominance isn’t boring. It is racing, and if a driver/team is good enough to win almost anything, I don’t what is wrong with that.

      1. its like that stupid argument that a driver has to win from a low grid position for it to be a great drive.
        Actually, the great drivers get the best out of it all the time, so they put it on pole and win f if the car is capable of that.
        If the car is only capable of 9th, he’ll qualify 9th and finish 9th (unless there’s any attrition/errors ahead of him)
        If you have a driver winning from 6th/7th or whatever, you have to question his qualifying performance (except in cases like Malaysia, wet race/SC/tyre changes)

        1. its also seems to be a mentality that Brits have (and maybe others) that we cannot accept a good performance unless its one of our own. Rather than congratulate someone for walking the race by 20 secs and qualifying half a second clear, we class it as ‘boring’ and tend to find an excuse to downplay the achievement

        2. If the car is only capable of 9th, he’ll qualify 9th and finish 9th

          You forget the quite frequent case when a driver excels in qualifying but delivers lacklustre performances on racing day, or vice versa.

          It’s possibly a different skill set, mindset, talent package that enables you to produce one quick burst of excellence in more or less controlled conditions, and another that will carry you to the top through the fighting, strategizing, opportunistic gambits and interpersonal risks of a bruising 300 km race.

          1. Also @MJ4 if the car is more suited to qualifying than the race or vice versa then the driver can be expected to perform better in that area. For example, during the Spanish GP last year, the Red Bull was 8+ tenths quicker than the McLaren, but the McLaren was arguably the fastest car in the race (which is why Vettel was pressured until the end by Hamilton). Lotus prove almost every weekend that their race pace is much quicker than their qualifying pace; precisely why Räikkönen has been gaining a lot of positions recently.

  7. Something I would like to add to the discussion of dominance in the comment of the day; a major factor that prevented ‘dominance’ in previous seasons from being boring was unreliability. Lotus were always notorious for their unreliability, and until the mid 80s reliability was not something you could expect, even from the top teams. Even up until the mid 2000s, reliability often decided races and championships. The element of unpredictability caused by unreliability made for an entertaining shake-up of the race. It still does, just look at Valencia.

    This is related to what @Pete_H was saying about technological progress. In recent years, the sport has rowed-back in many ways from the bleeding edge of technology and as such cars are no longer operating at their limits. Drivers too are not really having to drive at the limit throughout the race. These factors used to make ‘the show’ entertaining by themselves, in the new Formula 1 that the governing body has created, artificial devices are now required to replace them.

    1. That is exactly the point I was about to make. Did Lotus dominate back in the day? Sure they did. But their cars were glass cannons, quick as hell, but at times quicker to fail. In today’s F1 it’s not even that common for a backmarker team to have a technical hitch.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      19th August 2012, 13:54

      Sure cars are on the limit today. It’s just that their engines and gearboxes are not designed to last a race but 3-4 races.

  8. can i ask a question…
    in 2006, during a wet race (cant remember exactly), Alonso pitted on inters and only changed his front tyres. is this still allowed? if not, when di it become illegal?

    1. Drop Valencia!
      19th August 2012, 2:09

      You can change a single tyre if you like, but you can only run 1 compound, although Verne ran a mix of compounds earlier this year to good effect.

      1. You’re talking about the 2006 Chinese GP, right? Frankly, that strategic decision cost Alonso both the win and the championship lead that weekend.

      2. No. You can’t. Modern F1 tyre rules work in ‘sets;’ Vergne didn’t have two compounds. He had some contact which removed the markings onthe rear tyre. I believe Force India have been caught out by mixing up different sets of the same tyre in the past.
        You cannot change any fewer than all 4 tyres.

        1. Actually, there has been a clarification by Charlie Whiting to the teams earlier this year, saying that he didn’t care which sets the tyres were from, as long as they were all of the same type.

  9. In regards to Pete_H’s comment of the day:

    I think the reason dominance is not celebrated as it may have been in days gone by, is more down to fan’s preferences. I, like many others, disliked the constant poles and wins for Sebastian Vettel in 2011, because he’s not a driver I’m particularly fond of. However, should we ever see a season of dominance from, say, Lewis Hamilton, then I would be ecstatic.

    I think most would, sometimes begrudgingly, admit that they appreciated what Sebastian was able to do race after race last year. It’s just that many post their thoughts straight after a race or qualifying session concludes, so their feelings towards someone they don’t support taking the chequered flag or pole position, may be somewhat negative in the immediate aftermath.

    It might also be down to the ability for people to air their opinions so much nowadays. In the years of Lotus’ supremacy; it was harder to establish how the fans might have been feeling about the season’s goings on.

  10. Cool COTD!!!!

  11. “If we can solve this problem, Turkey can return to the Formula One calendar. Let’s wait and see.”

    I’d be very happy to see Turkey return. People bemoan the loss of the old “classic” circuits, but I genuinely believe that Istanbul is miles better than some of the old circuits that have been dropped, like Magny-Cours, Zandvoort, Estoril and Buenos Aires. And it’s better than some of the old circuits that have stayed on the calendar, like Catalunya and the Hungaroring. I’d welcome any move that could get Istanbul Park back on the calendar.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys
      I whole-heartedly agree, except for the last sentence.
      Realistically, which circuit do you reckon would be shafted if Istanbul were to return?

      1. @pielighter – Reading between the lines of the article Keith posted, it appears Bernie is trying to get more than twenty races on the calendar. It was rumoured earlier in the year when he was said to be pushing for twenty-four races with the return of Mexico, Argentina and France, but none of thsoe races seem to have panned out for 2013, so the calendar is likely to be limited to twenty races. Since it’s very unlikely that a deal could be brokered for Istanbul to return next year, I’d say it’s far more likely that it will return in 2014, on a calendar with more than twenty races. Therefore none of the existing circuits have to be removed from the calendar.

        1. It seems that the article certainly is part of the negotiations ongoing @prisoner-monkeys

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        19th August 2012, 13:57

        I’m thinking Korea will be dropped. Although they signed a contract that goes beyond 2014 the financial situation doesn’t look good and it won’t be on the calendar for long.

    2. Exactly, I would even go further and say it can match the likes of Spa and Suzuka in terms of layout.

      1. I’d say it’s about as good as Spa, but then Spa is only fourth on my list of favourite circuits behind Interlagos, Suzuka and Silverstone.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys, rain rain and more rain, do I see a pattern there.?

          1. No, you don’t.

    3. @prisoner-monkeys Ditto. It’s my favourite F1 circuit and I was really disappointed when it was dropped for this year. However, I do find it niggling that they probably won’t be able to fill the seats.

  12. I have no problem with domination per se, but it all depends on the context.

    Let’s look at 2009 rather than 2011. Even though Red Bull and Brawn ended up sharing the lion’s share of the victories, the season was pretty much over as a contest after Button’s dominant first seven races. That made the rest of it pretty boring, I thought – it was definitely less interesting than the seasons either side of it. Imagine, though, that the season had played out in reverse, with Button trailing Vettel for most of the year and then putting in an incredible run of wins and podiums right at the death to snatch the championship. That would have made for fantastic viewing, wouldn’t it? There would have been exactly the same level of domination as in the real 2009 season, because the results would have been identical, but the context would have made it immensely thrilling.

    It is only predictability which I find boring. When you already know the outcome of the season after a handful of races, the rest becomes a lot less interesting. Exactly the same applies when you already know the outcome of a race after qualifying, for example at tracks where it is very difficult to overtake.

    1. @estesark

      the season was pretty much over as a contest after Button’s dominant first seven races. That made the rest of it pretty boring, I thought

      Ah, but was it? After Button’s victory in Istanbul, the team’s performance nosedived. They brought an upgrade to Silverstone that failed dismally, and spent what little money they had left on trying to make it more competitive. By the end of the season, Red Bull, McLaren and Toyota had surpassed them performance-wise, and Ferrari were competitive enough to threaten them depending on the circuit. It didn’t help that the team was relying on local sponsors (like Canon and Qtel and Mapfre) just to get to the next race, either. After all, when Button won the title, he had driven a car that had contested every single pre-season test, practice session, qualifying session and race since the start of the year. When most of the teams would normally built eight cars to last the season, Brawn only had enough for three – and since Rubens Barrichello had to take the spare after crashing during qualifying in Singapore, Jenson Button had to go two or three races where a single mistake could write his car off and put him out of the championship altogether.

      A lot of people thought that Button did just enough to win the title and then coast to the end of the season, but I think you’ll find that it was quite the opposite: he and the team had to fight for every last point they scored from the middle of the season on. That’s what made the season so exciting.

      1. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the difficulties that Brawn faced, including everything you wrote there. I was very happy for them to get both titles in their one year in the sport after coming so near to closure. But I’ll be honest: I wasn’t thinking about Canon, Qtel and Mapfre when I was watching the races that year. I was more interested in seeing who was going to win, and in that regard, I didn’t think it was a very exciting season.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        19th August 2012, 22:08

        Sure Brawn’s difficulties in the season were exciting, but would people watching the races know that?

    2. I think you might have the crux there @esesark, the predictability of it gets tedious. It was like that with Vettel for pole and win last year, it was like that for schumi winning another one in 2001-2002 and 2004 as well. Finishing was something that one could never take for granted in the periods of Clark, or Fangio, making the the result unpredictable

  13. rip Mike Hewland. In my mind, he was one of the true geniuses of Formula 1, designing a gearbox that became the basis for all gearboxes to come, even today’s gearboxes still have a little Hewland.

  14. As for the COTD, I can partly agree with it but I think it’s only a part of the whole story.

    First, you cannot really compare the F1 of nowadays with the times of Fangio and Clark as then there was almost no TV coverage and no Internet, the way fans followed the sport was much different and so were their expectations, too.

    Second, I think that there is a difference between a domination by one team and that by one driver. While Senna & Prost were both similarly strong at the dominating McLaren team in 1988/89, Schumacher and Vettel had no competitive team mates in their glorious seasons many years later.

    I agree that we demand too much show everywhere these days and that seasons such as 2002 and 2011 have some appeal, too. But it’s also understandable why they’ll never be generally recognised as classic and great as, let’s say, 1982 or 2010.

  15. I completely agree with COTD, the culture of today is to try and knock tall poppies down, rather than laud their achievements.

    I look back to Schumi’s domination in Ferrari in late 90s, early 00’s, and that brought with it a fight back from other teams to try and do better. Now look at McLaren and now Red Bull who are resurgent post that era.

    If a team/driver is doing something right, then why shouldn’t they win?

  16. “Wake me up when September starts”…

  17. @prisoner-monkeys

    Every person has a different way of expressing their joy, different way to celebrate. So if you assume that Vettel’s upraised finger is nothing more than his arrogance that he is entitled to be on pole, then you are wrong. He achieved something remarkable and he is just showing his way of celebrating it. And likewise you may then hate Nadal because he also bites the trophy after winning the grandslam. His way of celebrating is diffrent from what other people usually do.

    1. oopsss….dint wanted to post here

  18. Is there really a point to Twitter? ‘aunt’s dying ima fly back to see her’ Seriously!? Way to totally cheapen a private family tragedy. Maybe it’s just me – what with remembering a world without internet and all – but I don’t get it.

    1. @maciek I’m of a similar mind. I use social-networking a lot but I always manage to keep my personal feelings and family out of it. There’s a difference between conversing with folk and tweeting something like Lewis did. I saw his tweet and was a little taken back to be honest.

  19. I saw the COTD and thought it was really good. I’ve said similar before but I didn’t word it as well.

    For a sport that thrives on engineering I do find it a little weird how people who are close to the sport don’t seem to appreciate the feats these teams achieve as much as they should.

  20. Higor Wendrychowski
    24th August 2012, 0:36

    He’s a great driver, but Alonso is genius.

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