Sepang conditions masked Lotus pace – Allison

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Sepang, 2013In the round-up: Lotus technical director James Allison said the circumstances of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend served to disguise how quick the E21 actually was.


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Allison believes Lotus has genuine pace and will continue to challenge at the front (James Allen on F1)

“If you look at Romain [Grosjean], who had a fine drive, he was 26 seconds down after seven laps and 35 down at end of race using a strategy that probably cost us seven seconds overall. So he only really lost two or three second to [race winner Sebastian] Vettel over the dry portion of race.”

Christian Horner: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber ‘not after revenge’ (Metro)

“They know the real opponents sit outside of the team, not inside the team.”

Malaysia 2013 – race edit (F1)

A couple of new bits from the race including Vettel being given the now infamous “multi map two one” instruction and what caused Kimi Raikkonen’s complaint about Nico Hulkenberg.

Gutierrez will show his worth – Sauber (Autosport)

Monisha Kaltenborn: “First of all you do look at the performance potential, then you look at the commercial potential. That can either be that he brings his partner along or how marketable he is.”

My future now lies in sports car racing: Chandhok (The Times of India)

“F1 is F1, everyone knows financial situation. F1 is difficult at the moment unless you have millions. I like to do more (races) in WEC and fortunately, there’s no clash in calendar. In the future, both WEC and GT are good options.”

Newman: Blocking a “chicken way of driving” (NBC)

“If I can get through the corner better than you, then we?ll race, but blocking is an IndyCar form or F1 form or an open wheel type move it seems like. It?s not to say they don?t do it in NASCAR; obviously they do, but to me it?s just a chicken way of driving and not very respectful for the guys around you.”

F1 tyres no longer acceptable (MotorSport, registration required)

Nigel Roebuck: “This is how Le Mans used to be in times gone by ?ǣ but that was a matter of lasting for a day and a night, not an hour and a half, and it is a supreme irony that, in this era of sports car racing, for such as Audi and Toyota Le Mans ?ǣ unlike a contemporary Grand Prix ?ǣ is flat out all the way.”

And at the weekend… (ESPN)

“For the passionate motorsport fan, there is no better way to get involved in the sport than to volunteer as a marshal. It is hard work, but offers a level of access like no other, with the ability to watch racing from close quarters or spend an afternoon in the pit lane.”


Comment of the day

@Electrolite on Red Bull’s record pit stop:

Anyone always going on about Red Bull being where it is because of Newey and Newey alone should take note of things like this. They seem to not only be on top in terms of car design but everywhere else as well.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to D_omin!

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On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Luiz Razia who is 24 today. Last year’s GP2 runner-up was supposed to make his F1 debut with Marussia this year but it didn’t quite work out.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 61 comments on “Sepang conditions masked Lotus pace – Allison”

    1. @electrolite – that is one of the best comments I’ve seen in a while: I always find it bewildering how people think Newey is solely responsible for that team’s success!

      1. I agree, this guys and girls work hard in every way. To say it if just Newey should take note on the people that work behind the scene.

      2. Red Bull have set the bar for a championship team model. Over time they have simply pulled all the pieces of the puzzle together to create that champion formula. I mean for sure, Newey, along with Vettel are a larger part to that puzzle, but a jigsaw puzzle is not complete until even the smallest pieces are in place.

      3. But Adrian Newey can ignore the laws of physics, his cars are unbeatable! Seb doesn’t even need to drive the thing, he just sits in there and Newey does the rest with his aero magic!!1!

        Yeah that talk gets real old. Red Bull are on top of their game, all of them, and are building an F1 empire. Fair play to them. Some may not like them but at this stage you have to respect them.

        1. Yes, sadly RBR are unfortunately the best, most complete team on the grid today.

          This was incredibly frustrating to watch during the 2012 season. McLaren build a car as fast or faster than RBR, but constant screw-ups in strategies, pit-work, and the unreliability of the car cost them god-knows how many points. Meantime, Ferrari were virtually flawless in team work, but they simply couldn’t build a fast enough car. Only Red Bull were able to do both.

          The only way I can see Red Bull beaten is if Ferrari and McLaren join forces. With McLaren’s quick cars, and Ferrari’s team work and reliability — RBR doesn’t stand a chance.

          Vodafone Ferrari McLaren Santander F1 — Make it happen.

          1. @kingshark
            Shouldn’t that be:
            Scuderia Vodafone McLaren Marlboro Ferrari Santander F1

            Maybe they could call the car the MP4-F166

            The only way I can see Red Bull beaten is if Ferrari and McLaren join forces.

            I appreciate this is tongue in cheeck but similar things were once said about Lotus, Williams, McLaren & Ferrari to name but a few, sooner or later another team (or teams) will rise to the top, maybe next seasons engines will mix things up a little and leave Red Bull playing catch up for a couple of seasons. Stranger things have happened (the spontaneous combustion of the Mayor of Warsaw in 1546 for one).

      4. Wait until 2014 when another parts of the car like engines ERS …will be more influential than the exhausts and the wings…
        Another thing it is true that there is many talented people working with Red Bull, but who hired them ?? who build the team like that ?? and don’t tell me Christan Horner please !!!!!

        1. Well I can tell you who hired Adrian. It’s Mr. Helmut Marko:)

    2. I know Lotus seem to be struggling for sponsors but they seem to have a new comment every day about how fast they are. Maybe they should tone down the uptalk until they score a 1,2 a few times. Not even Red Bull spend the weeks between races blabbering on about how amazing they are…

      1. @nick-uk You’re wrong buddy. Yesterday even RBR made a comment about their pit-work. I think you’re opinion reflects what Lotus is seriously trying to avoid, disbelief. Maybe you are right and they should go for less talking and more racing, in the end that was the way RBR behaves now being a front runner knowing that everyone is wary of them.

      2. Im disappointed with their wet pace………i thought it was fixed.

        They are not going to win more races if they aint going to improve their wet pace and quali pace.

      3. “Sepang Conditions masked Lotus pace”

        The thing is it masked the true pace of a lot contenders. None more so than Mercedes. Judging by there pace in qualifying, I think they would have run away with it had the weekend been completely dry.

      4. @nick-uk

        I know Lotus seem to be struggling for sponsors

        I’ve noticed that they’ve even ggone silent on the talk of luring Honeywell into the fold. The presence of a few Unilever brands was probably a bit of a deterrant.

        I wonder if McLaren haven’t netted them for 2014 instead.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys

          I can’t remember an official representative of the team ever specifically commenting about Honeywell. As far as I recall it’s been, for the most part, plain Twitter rumors. For all we know they might still be in the negotiations (if they have ever been) and it’s still possible that Honeywell will decide to go with Lotus as the logos haven’t appeared on any other car yet. McLaren does seem like a very possible candidate for the company as well, the Vodafone-deal ending and all.

          I can’t imagine any Unilever brands acting as deterrants though, the companies operate in complete different branches of industry.

          1. As far as I recall it’s been, for the most part, plain Twitter rumors.

            Even those have died down. Which is kind of my point.

    3. Except for FP1, Lotus’ pace seemed to slowly disappear there after. It must be worrying for them how they could not find any pace on new intermediates for the final run in Q3 as the Ferraris and Redbulls. It might not be too big of a problem if Raikkonen was just fighting Vettel, but everytime this happens there is Webber and the 2 Ferraris to take away huge chunks of points from Kimi. They might be putting too much pressure on themselves to expect to win the titles based on the Melbourne result and their kindness to tyres, and pressure brings out Kimi’s fallible side.

      1. bad…I thought it was an updated article from Monday!!.


      2. Dated April 1st…I’m always suspicious when things look too good to be true and now I’m doubly so!

    4. It’s great to see that Lotus are practising pit-stops. All teams must be practising pit-stops but Lotus had very poor performances in the first 2 rounds of the WSC, especially if you don’t include FI in the frame. Subtracting the time lost by Lotus in the pitlane to James Allison own maths, Lotus overall time gap was even less significant, what’s more significant is that Lotus themselves are still unfazed by RBR’s display. Let’s hope for more promising races.

      1. I agree with that, good to see they know what they need to work on to carry this championship very far!

    5. Zantkiller (@)
      4th April 2013, 0:51

      but blocking is an IndyCar form or F1 form or an open wheel type move it seems like.

      Wait, what?
      Has he watched any F1?

      1. Well at least fans in the comment sectin of the article don´t agree with him

      2. A bit of a strange one, isn’t it. But as @celeste notes, the fans do not agree with him too much. And from the comment made by Dale Earnhart Jr. on it, NASCAR drivers don’t all see it like that.
        Maybe the comment stems more from being angry at a recent crash hindering his championship than from reality

      3. The way he portrayed blocking as a “chicken move” I found bizarre though: does he expect drivers to just let faster cars through? If they did that, we wouldn’t have had such memorable races as the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix to name just one, where Senna managed to hold off a far superior Willaims by virtue of his perfect car placement.

        In fact, I think blocking improves the racing – it is not to the detriment of it.

    6. I 100% agree with Nigel Roebuck in the article regarding tyres (And DRS), summed up my utter hatred towards both perfectly!

      1. also interesting how 99% of the comments under it agree with the article.

        just shows that the majority of fans are not as happy with pirelli & drs as there supporters would have us believe.

        momentum swinging, pirelli should alter its compounds & drs should be banned, If both remain the same i predict f1 will begin a slow death as the long-time fans tune out hating the artificialness of it all & the casual fans will get bored & also tune out (as happened to nascar when it ‘artificially spiced up the show’).

        1. Remember that Pirelli are only delivering the tyres that the FIA ask them to.

          However, so many people seem to lose sight of this that it’s probably doing Pirelli no good anyway.

          1. Remember that Pirelli are only delivering the tyres that the FIA ask them to.

            The FIA asked Pirelli to create tyres that created varied strategies, They never asked them to make tyres that are as sensitive as what we now have.

            The problems with the current tyres are 100% Pirelli’s fault, They could quite easily create tyres that are more durable & allow drivers to push hard but that still allow for more varied strategies.

            1. Yes they need to be more consistent. If they were they would make going down different strategies worth it, rather than a lottery

    7. Even Horner doesn’t believe himself…

      1. Yeah I thought the first person a driver had to beat was his teammate..?

      2. For good reason

    8. Eh……. Red Bull KERS isn’t so great

    9. “They know the real opponents sit outside of the team, not inside the team.”

      Yeah, right! Webber knows his #1 opponent is parked right next to him in the garage… It would be great that if Webber should aspire to anything with respect to “team” for the remainder of this season, he aspire to be Alonso’s most-valuable “team”mate. Would love nothing more than to see MW repay Vettel’s treachery with a little back-stabbing of his own (since Vettel reneged on a pre-race agreement, after all), and for Alonso to win the WDC as a result! and anyone other than RBR the WCC!

    10. Horner, however, insists there will be no payback

      Maybe that what he wants but i think that Webber already made his revenge to Vettel, i don’t believe he got away with it

    11. Regarding the COTD, Fernando Alonso was bigger critic than us.
      “They have the best car but we have the best team”


      1. i can’t see Ferrari drivers clashing each other on the podium

        1. @tifoso1989 – that is mainly because Massa is a perfect no.2 to Alonso, whereas Webber and Vettel are actually genuine competitors. So obviously there is going to be more friction in that relationship.

          1. Genuine competitors isnt how id put it. But yes they race more

            But at least with ferrari when they do something to benefit one driver they dont lie about it.

      2. @neelv27 Good point.

      3. And he was, is and will be right.

        1. I disagree. Team’s only goal (on the sporting side) is to create a better car, strategy, and generally perform better than their competitors. Obviously the end results in all these areas are directly proportional with how “good” the team is.

          Ferrari hasn’t won any titles with Alonso and Red Bull has won them all, so clearly they haven’t been better.

          1. @tmekt – I agree, I found Alonso’s comments bizzare because the team builds the car and the engines! So evidently Red Bull were the better team all-round.

    12. Nice read about Marshalling Keith, thanks for putting that in the roundup

    13. RE: Comment of the day, and some people saying the team is more than just Newey. I agree completely, that it is a team effort, but Newey is the differing factor. He is also no longer, if he ever was, solely a designer. He is at the heart of the team, and makes sure that his decisions are respected throughout the entire team. Both Ferrari and McLaren have commented on this, and just watching a race weekend, it is sometimes hard to say who is the team principal at red bull.

      I respect him for his achievements as a designer, but wish he would stop driving. Destroying E-Types and classic GT-40’s DOES NOT ingratiate you to racing fans

      1. hear hear

      2. @damleda – absolutely, Newey is an exceptional member of that team, as is Vettel and Horner, but he is just one member nonetheless. They have an incredibly hard-working team behind them and it shows in things such as their pit-stops.

      3. So then how does Newey’s presence affect the speed of their pit-stops?

        The point of the COTD was that Red Bull has many areas of performance where they perform better even though Newey in particular has very little effect in it. So obviously he isn’t the only differing factor.

        1. Newey isn’t just there to design cars, his input in all areas (including strategy) carries enormous weight. He may not be physically involved in changing wheels but you can bet your last penny that he was involved in making those pit stops as successful as they were.

          1. Absolutely but he can’t do it all by himself and that was my point. If you were to remove him from Red Bull, they wouldn’t suddenly slump in between Toro Rosso and Marussia.

            Red Bull has evolved into a winning machine that is a sum of its parts and to imply that Newey has created all these parts is just plain ridiculous. It’s pretty much imppssible.

            1. Red Bull appreciated his contribution to their meteoric rise enough to give him one of the 2009 RB5’s (a ~£3 million ‘thank you’ gift), the car that gave the team it’s first pole position, first win and first 1-2 in addition to his estimated £6.5 million a year salary (more than most drivers).

              He and Ross Brawn are the only technicians to have won championships with three different teams, they have more influence than you might think. Red Bull had their whole engineering department built around Newey as he requested, and just to be sure we are on the same page, the engineers in the garages at a race weekend – including the pit crew – are part of the that department, and they don’t design cars.

              “If you’ve looked at his cars, and the car is a reflection of the man, then you’d have to say that he’s got an inescapable attention to detail On top of that he’s original. He sees the bigger picture, the complete car, so it has his hallmark over the whole thing. It’s not a collection of diverse solutions that have been brought together by different people“…

              “You can’t doubt his success. He is fairly unique. The only criticism you could level at him is that he does leave the team exposed if something happens to him. You have to be sure that the organisation that is left is able to maintain a high level of competitive design into the future.” – Bob Bell


              We are talking about a man who – in addition to having a keen eye for the small details – likes to oversee every possible improvement, likely a consequence of Senna’s death in one of his cars.

              He left Williams in 1996 for McLaren because he could not get more control of the team (this is a man of such independence that he once painted his office in non-regulation colours – a demonstration of his strength of mind). Williams, needless to say, have never been the same team since; under Newey, McLaren and Mika Hakkinen went on to win two world drivers’ championships.”


              “If you’ve got a superior car, it’s relatively easy to win the championship”…

              “I have the highest respect for Sebastian, but he could not have achieved what he has without the Adrian Newey factor” – Jackie Stewart


              The final word on the matter should go to Adrian himself:

              “Red Bull was a much bigger task, one I underestimated. When I first joined, it wasn’t a design job, it was more trying to create the structure and the research capabilities within the team and getting the people working together in a way that we could then go forwards and make it into a design job. I guess in a way there’s a career risk doing that, so it’s been very satisfying to have achieved it.” – Adrian Newey


    14. That look on Alan Webbers face when Webber gets overtaken is priceless!!

    15. To be honest I’ve found such comments from the Enstone camp a little more believable than most in the paat.

      At somewhere like China where we’ve seen tyres produce unbelievable races I wouldn’t bet against them next race! Grosjean’s first win? Well no one thought Nico would do it last year…

      1. It will very difficult for Grosjean to win if his team-mate manages to set-up the other car even remotely optimal way.

    16. What about this article? Weber is a protected FIA driver?

      1. @jorge-lardone An un-bylined article quoting an anonymous source in another publication? I wouldn’t give any credence to it.

    17. @bernard That’s exactly the points I was making, but kudos on the quotes. I can never be bothered to go and track them down. :-) It’s one of the best posts I’ve ever read. many thanks.

      1. @damleda

        Thanks for the kind words Paul. :)

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