Ecclestone bribe case decision due

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: German prosecutors prepare to announce whether Bernie Ecclestone will face charges over claims he bribed Gerhard Gribkowsky.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Bernie Ecclestone’s future as F1 supremo may soon be decided (FT)

Bernie Ecclestone’s future as Formula One supremo could soon be decided after German prosecutors said they had completed their investigations into bribery allegations against him and would reveal their conclusions imminently.

Mateschitz: F1 is not racing anymore (Autosport)

“Everyone knows what happens here. This has nothing to do with racing anymore. This is a competition in tyre management.”

Track rage: Why the paddock’s glitterati are losing their grip and calling for tyre change (The Independent)

“Ordinary tyres usually wear in a linear fashion, but when F1 tyres reach their wear limit, as often happens with these quick-degrading Pirelli tyres, the performance can drop off instantly – ‘dropping off a cliff’ as drivers call it.”

Tyre farce mars Alonso victory (The Telegraph)

“Even Alonso, amid the euphoria of this triumph, could not comprehend how any viewer without a chemistry doctorate was supposed to have kept track of it all.”

The Game Changer (The Buxton Blog)

“What did Ferrari do on Sunday? Did they drive to a delta? Did they try and make one fewer stop than their rivals? Did they hell. They went out and they pushed. Every. Single. Lap.”

2013 Spanish Grand Prix – Post-Race Press Conference (FIA)

Fernando Alonso:”Then we undercut and we passed Sebastian in the pits and Rosberg two laps later at the first corner, from that point we just pushed 90 percent, more or less. You have enough pace to open the necessary gap and you know that if you push 100 percent maybe you kill the tyres, so it’s more or less normal driving, let’s say, in 2013 races. You try to control the pace and the tyres and you put in balance these two things.”

Mercedes favourites for Monaco – Alonso (BBC)

“It’s more difficult to overtake in Monaco… so maybe they can keep good positions for longer.”

Gary Hartstein – I was just a Doctor (YouTube)


Comment of the day

Most readers are putting fingers to keyboard about one subject at the moment:

F1 is definitely losing its appeal to me as a sporting contest. Sure, it’s an interesting technical challenge for engineers, but I’m finding it boring. To me, it’s as if F1 – in its desire to increase excitement – has done the equivalent in football of widening the goal so that we can see more goals per game. Sure, it ensures that you’re seeing the ball hit the back of the next much more and the end of boring nil-nil draws, but when your granny could score a hat trick every game then the gimmick has gone too far.

I found myself during the Barcelona race wondering if someone would have the balls to ban all aero devices so that we could go back to driver versus driver, with real dicing. What I want to see is speed, bravery and racecraft triumph. Not tiptoeing round to keep the tyres in a workable temperature window, tricky as it may be. Perhaps I should just go and watch Formula Ford instead.
Dan Harrison

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On this day in F1

Nigel Mansell made his final F1 start in the 1995 Spanish Grand Prix. Here he is making a pit stop and then getting out of the car for the last time:

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87 comments on “Ecclestone bribe case decision due”

  1. Poor Paul Hembery, come here kiddo I give hot chocolate and tell me about your troubles…

  2. @COTD

    Sure let’s replace the current rules with the ones from 60 years ago and ban all development!

    Wouldn’t be artificial at all…

    1. Actually the rules from 60 years ago allowed almost unlimited development, and that is what made F1 great.

    2. @tmekt exactly as @hohum said – if that were the case, cars would generate so much downforce they’d knock the drivers out round corners and we’d be back to F1 being a martyr – that’s exactly what modern F1 doesn’t need!

      What we really need is development freed up in areas which are more relevant to the modern day – engine development (preferably Hydrogen I think) and drivetrain etc, with major restrictions on aerodynamics (I think ban front wings, limit rear wings to single plane ones and re-introduce highly restricted grouch effects): that way we can go back to 80’s-style tyres which need some nursing but not a lot and we can have proper wheel-to-wheel racing.

    3. To COTD:
      And how people imagine banning aero I wounder? There are only two ways. One way is to make the drivers wear space suits and race in vacuum, the other way is to have strict stock car racing without any setup or anything, but that would be somewhat against the the whole point of F1 (and the aero effects would still be felt). Or there is a third way, destroy all civilization, destroy all of our knowledge (books, drawings, things, HDDs etc.), then set up a racing series while the people(children of the survivors) have not yet discovered the importance of aero, and repeat the cycle.
      People are being delusional, thinking that aero can be banned, apart from racing in vacuum, there is no way, even if we ruined F1, and made them race in stock boxes, the knowledge of areo would still make people find areo gains from the seemingly an aerodynamic shape, by suspension adjustments (height, pitch etc.) and so on. Technology and knowledge, unlike people, never die.

      How did the plan of banning some aero devices to cut the downforce by some 30% after 2008 work? Yep next year the cars were faster in some places, and the following year we witnessed the introduction of one of the most powerful aero devices ever, the exhaust blown floor. It is not as though FIA mandated that exhaust blown diffusers are developed, and even though they “banned” it, we still have it today. The reason is that unlike many (the grass was greener…) fans, the engineers and mechanics are not delusional, they know that aero is and always will be one of the main factors of performance or the main factor even, so that is where they look for performance.

      1. @mateuss, even in the 60’s aero was a factor even if it was the opposite of aero today ie. drag reduction was all important, and today it would be simple to ban front and rear wings which in one simple stroke would eliminate the effect of turbulence on following cars. Yes some designs would be a little better than others but cars could race nose-to-tail through corners without the loss of grip currently caused by turbulence.

        1. @hohum I know that, I did not want to further complicate my already complex argument.
          Its not just 60’s, even in the 20’s the Grand Prix cars were being made with aerodynamics in mind. Which makes me face-palm every time someone says, back when there was no areo nonsense… That happened only a few a times in the whole of human history, and it was during the Apollo missions when they were driving the Moon-buggy on the moon!!!

          1. @mateuss, yes but even exhaust blowing can (and should) be eliminated, as I read next years regs it will be. It is the flat panels, wings, floors etc. that provide most of the downforce but also suffer most from turbulence, eas to fix.

  3. As I commented yesterday, I think the criticisms of the 2013 Pirellis are overdone.

    Alonso’s total race time was 7 seconds slower than Maldonado’s 2012 time. That’s 0.1s per lap.

    Guttierez’s fastest lap was fractionally quicker than Grosjean’s 2012 best.

    It’s fair enought to say that Pirelli has to tweak things slightly to alter the balance slightly so that we have no more than 3 stops per race, but to suggest that drivers are tippy toe-ing around the circuit are, in my view, a triumph of perception over reality.

    1. @tdog, 7 seconds slower than Maldo in a Williams, wow, that’s progress. How did it compare with the previous 10 races, or for that matter 20 and 30 years ago ?

      1. @hohum It’s funny, I got a similar response yesterday, people seem to want to respond to a different issue to the one I am raising.

        I’m not seeking to comment about the increase or decrese in the pace of Formula One cars over the last 10, 20 or 30 years. I am commenting on the 2013 Pirellis versus last year’s. Given the relative stability of the regulations this year it’s a valid comparison, the tyres are the biggest change and it’s clear from the numbers that the cars aren’t going significantly slower than last year.

        What has happened, in my view, is that team radio messages from teams struggling with the 2013 tyres (Mercedes, McLaren etc.) broadcast on the FOM feed are influencing perceptions in a way which distorts the true picture. I didn’t read it until after my first comment, but have a look at the SomersF1 piece linked below by @satchelcharge – couldn’t have said it better myself.

        For the record, I am not a fan of the 2014 engines, weight increase etc. and I wonder what the reaction from F1Fanatics will be if the cars as predicted are seconds per lap slower. I don’t want to see F1 cars going significantly slower.

        However that’s a different issue to the impact of this year’s Pirelli tyres upon the standard and type of racing we are seeing.

        1. @tdog, Yes, but the 2012 tyres were already bad, these are worse not better.
          I am not concerned about the ultimate race time, in fact I would be happy to see lap times increase if it allowed for close car on car racing.

        2. (@tdog) I understand what you’re trying to say, but I think the issue isn’t necessarily the lap times per-se, more the Pirelli effect on the potential lap times. The cars have clearly grown quicker, as the drivers are nursing these tyres like they’re made of cheese, yet the lap times are relatively similar. It’s not the specific lap times that people bemoan, it’s the aggression (or lack thereof) that the drivers are able to put on the track – it was the onboard on (I think) Massa’s car that proved this, and Coulthard explained just how gently he was being forced to drive. I’ll agree that I’m getting sick to death of discussing tyres, and hearing more lame excuses from poor old Paul Hembery, and I’ll also agree it’s clear a return to 2012 tyres would also see a return to the RB dominance (it’s clear they have huge potential in hand, but literally can’t put it on the road with the cheese tyres) which would ruin the sport as well. But clearly something is awry with the current system, and I agree it’ll be interesting to see the outcome of the huge regulation changes. Actually feel (@vettel1) here;

          What we really need is development freed up in areas which are more relevant to the modern day – engine development (preferably Hydrogen I think) and drivetrain etc, with major restrictions on aerodynamics

          as it’s clear real-world applications of F1 technology is grower increasingly rarer.


          1997 — 1:30:35.90
          1996 — 1:59:49.31
          1995 — 1:34:20.51
          1994 — 1:36:14.37
          1993 — 1:32:27.69
          1992 — 1:56:10.67
          1991 — 1:38:41.54

          Interesting data, but why the huge jumps in 1992 and 1996?

          1. @sgt-pepper

            Interesting data, but why the huge jumps in 1992 and 1996?

            Well both of those races were wet: of course the 1996 GP being that famous race where Schumacher was lapping four seconds quicker than everybody else!

          2. (@vettel1) Oh they’re the spanish races! Got it! Sorry I was being an idiot, I thought he’d gone to great lengths to average out the standard race length per year or something like that, was over-thinking it :/ Thanks!

        3. I think that the current tyres actually aren’t too bad grip and degraation wise, we are seeing faster quali times than in previous years. The biggest problem I have is that the tyres seemingly can’t cope with the rest of the features of a race fuel-laden car. Hence we get people trickling through the race to get in the best position they can for the final stint ready to push on low fuel.

          So – I believe Formula 1 has the name, or at least the “Formula” part all wrong. DRS, lifeless tyres and full fuel tanks doesn’t work

          We could have DRS, these tyres and bring refuelling back
          DRS, full tanks and the never-ending bridgestone style tyres

          I miss the refuelling days when you would literally see the best drivers doing quali lap after quali lap and really pushing it to the limit – that was exciting, guessing how much fuel they had, how many laps they would do, seeing the teams/drivers pushing the limit – that for me is what F1 is about. Not a bunch of guys in cars driving at 80% just to get through the race.

          I’m finding myself going from being an obsessed fan to merely checking on results (or even just falling asleep in front of the telly)

      2. Here is the total race times for every F1 race at the track. 2004 is when they started running 66 laps instead of 65, keep in mind there is also differences in the layout of the track over the years as well as aero/engine/rules packages and weather.
        2013 — 1:39:17.00
        2012 — 1:39:09.15
        2011 — 1:39:03.30
        2010 — 1:35:44.01
        2009 — 1:37:19.20
        2008 — 1:38:19.05
        2007 — 1:31:36.23
        2006 — 1:26:21.76
        2005 — 1:27:16.83
        2004 — 1:27:32.84
        2003 — 1:33:46.93
        2002 — 1:30:29.98
        2001 — 1:31:03.31
        2000 — 1:33:55.39
        1999 — 1:34:13.67
        1998 — 1:33:37.62
        1997 — 1:30:35.90
        1996 — 1:59:49.31
        1995 — 1:34:20.51
        1994 — 1:36:14.37
        1993 — 1:32:27.69
        1992 — 1:56:10.67
        1991 — 1:38:41.54

    2. “Alonso’s total race time was 7 seconds slower than Maldonado’s 2012 time. That’s 0.1s per lap.”

      But the pole position time was a full second quicker this year.
      Which demonstrates that during the race drivers are unable to use the pace of the car to race.

      1. You might argue that’s not comparing like with like.
        So what about the winners’ Q3 times ?
        Maldonado 2012 – 1:22:1
        Alonso 2013 – 1:21:2

        Still think nothing has changed since last year ?

    3. 4 minutes slower than Webber’s win in 2010. Says enough right there.

    4. I can’t see why anyone would find it difficult to see that the drivers are not maximising the cars in the race. If the cars are faster, Q3 times are faster, pole time is faster, but race time is generally slower, what elso do you need as proof?? This really beats me.

  4. Rui (@ruicaridade)
    14th May 2013, 0:26

    It seems that on Williams people are also looking at other categories to see some good racing

    1. Abdurahman (@)
      14th May 2013, 4:39

      INDY! yah it’s true. their racing is whooping f1

  5. all british media and lewis fans are upset when the main reason for his falls has more to do with him not finding the right balance for the car (look at his teammate).

    team should aim to do 4 stops, and push all the way like Ferrari did.

    1. Ferrari was not pushing, even Alonso admitted he was not pushing. Buxton started a rumor that he can’t hope to support with facts. This years time was 4 minutes longer than in 2010, and that’s during a time when the major rules remained stable. Surely during such times the cars should become quicker, and they have as shown by qualifying yet races remain the same or get longer.

    2. Lewis can’t set his own car up, I read about him ages ago being totally reliant on mclaren to work his set ups out for him, dunno how much truth there was to that, at the time I didn’t know whether to believe it, but seeing how he’s handled the merc, I’m thinking it probably was right. Rosberg, on the other hand, had three years to learn from schumacher, who has a way better understanding of car set up than any current driver. I believe we could see Rosberg embarrass Hamilton over the course of a season, as he seems to find much better set ups than Lewis. Lewis is an excellent driver, no doubt about that, but I don’t think he has the complete package.

  6. Button-

    “Some people will think there is a lot of overtaking.

    When we are going around three seconds slower than a GP2 car did in qualifying, and only six seconds quicker than one in GP3 did in the race, there is something wrong. This is the pinnacle of motorsport. We shouldn’t have to drive around as slowly as this to look after tyres.”

    He’s right, There’s a lot of passing but very little of it is fun to watch & in some cases the 2 drivers are not even really racing because of the tyres. There’s also very little real overtaking thats actually fun to watch now, its all done half way down a straght with the drs.

    His point on GP2/GP3, If I wanted to watch cars lapping at those speeds I would watch GP2/GP3, F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of open wheel racing so to see the cars lapping slower than GP2 cars & only a few seconds faster than a GP3 car is pathetic & embarrassing.

    Im a long time F1 fan & have attended a lot of races yet im getting so disillusioned with what F1 has become with the tyres & drs that im starting to lose interest in the whole thing :(

    1. That’s why I voted for Hamilton as DOTW, his radio comments were the most entertaining part of the race after the 1st. lap which was where the racing began and ended.

    2. I took a look yesterday and I think the GP2 pole time was quicker than 55 of Rosberg’s 66 laps, it’s ridiculous.

      Good quote from Button, I’d not seen that anywhere up to now.

      1. Shame not more people are bothering to read it. It rises very good points.

      2. Great link @bryan, very interesting read and really made me take a step back from everyone’s moaning and see the bigger picture, thanks! :)

    1. Very profound ;)

  7. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    14th May 2013, 1:09

    Perez, I don’t believe you (even when a clash would have destroyed your tyres for sure)

    1. @omarr-pepper hehehehe me neither amigo

    2. @omarr-pepper – Do you have any particular reason for not believing Perez? Where is the evidence that just because he was going faster than Button until the radio call was made, McLaren gave him a team order ot back off? They didn’t gain anything from issuing an order to Perez, since they’re at the point where they need every place they can get. Assuaging Button’s ego at the cost of World Championship points goes against everything the team have been pushing for since the start of the season.

    3. @omarr-pepper haha he’s in denial already, but we all knew this was going to happen sooner or later.

    4. Have you not seen the picture of his front tyre at the end of the race ?
      Worn right through the tread.

  8. @COTD, to be honest I don’t care to see just “driver vs driver”, for me the battle between the teams and the ability to catch up like Ferrari did last year is just as exciting.

    There’s a lot of spec racing series out there, but I don’t care to follow them because at the end of the day they’re driving a car made by other people, if the team works as hard as the driver to beat their rivals, then it should also have an influence in the speed of the car.

    1. I don’t believe the COTD called for a “spec” series, rather it called for a return to the days of mechanical grip rather than aero grip by getting rid of the wings and allowing nose to tail and side by side racing.

      1. Perhaps a partial spec series – like the Indycar ICONIC project – might be a viable answer.

        First, the FIA would have to hire someone like Adrian Newey to write a bulletproof set of regulations. Then, he would have to idnetify the areas of the car that produce the most downforce and develop spec parts of them. At a glance, they would probably be the front splitter, floor, diffuser and exhaust exit. The teams would be provided with the plans for these parts, and would not be allowed to alter or modify the design in any way, but would be given free reign to develop the rest of the car as they saw fit. The spec parts could be used for the next three seasons, at which point they would be reassessed and redesigned if necessary – or better still, the FIA could gradually deregulate the development of these parts so that the teams get more and more freedom to work on the design, but nobody is going in a silly direction the way they did with off-throttle blown diffusers.

        The plans for these spec parts would have to be finalised well in advance, so that the teams could work around them, but it would keep costs down because there would be no expensive development of aero-intensive parts.

  9. fascinating and scathing interview with dr. hartstein. thx for sharing it.

  10. COTD says about Formula Ford? The series which had no wings last year? The series which features nowhere on the motorsport ladder in this era?
    Seriously, some people…

  11. Let’s get this straight, let’s be honest. What exactly do we want? Towards the end of last year, we were generally having 1-stop snoozefests on Tilkedromes. We didn’t like that, we wanted change. Radical change. Pirelli went back to the drawing board and changed the tyres to make them softer. Nobody said anything at Interlagos last year, when teams got a chance to test the tyres. Very few people said anything when Grosjean did a full race simulation at Barcelona where he stopped four times in 66 laps.
    So why now? What is racing? Racing flat-out? 100 percent all the time? Ayrton Senna, one of the most revered drivers in F1, said in 1994(when mandatory refuelling returned), that the new rules were made to “spice up the show”. It meant pushing flat-out, going all-out, whereas “before the understanding of when to push and when to conserve was needed”. Refuelling converted F1 into “frenzied scrambles” which put added pressure on the drivers.
    Racing in the ’80s is considered to be the best. Better than the ’90s. Better certainly than the ’00s. Why? There was an element of unpredictability. That was the engine, the fuel, the whole reliability. Now, it is the tyres. Back in the ’80s, there were generally more championship contenders, more race win contenders. Look at now. Red Bull, Lotus and Ferrari are all race winners. Gone are the days of the 2000-2008(except 2003), when only 1 to 2 teams featured at the top generally.
    Lotus and to a lesser extent, Ferrari realised the importance of building a car around tyre usage in the winter. Mercedes, and to a lesse extent, Red Bull, did not. Why should the rules be changed, when they will clearly play into the hands of some teams? That too mid-season?
    2013 cars are very similar to 2012 cars, which is why we are seeing such a big difference between the top teams and the midfield. Yet, there appear to be at least three contenders for the championship. In earlier years, could that be imagined, with similar no. of rule changes? The answer is Pirelli. When did we last see a driver win from fifth at Barcelona? Never. The answer is Pirelli. Would we rather watch the record of polesitters at Barcelona winning stay intact? Races nowadays are ten times better than what they were in the last decade. If there’s anything which is making it look artificial, it is DRS, not Pirelli.
    A guy recently said that, in a forum, that refuelling should be brought back. How many of us have watched races in the majority of the ’00s? Do we remember the processions? Do we remember the acute difficulty to overtake? Do we remember the golden rule of “pit earlier, impossible to jump”? Do we remember fuel burn?
    The only thing Pirelli should do is modify the tyre structure to prevent delaminations, because that is a safety issue. That, and only THAT should be their prerogative now.

    1. I think you are right about the fact that the racing is much better from what we had in the ’00 snoozefests. But Pirelli have gone way too far. I mean when I heard Hamilton saying that he can’t go any slower, I thought that’s pathetic. Some drivers weren’t driving at 85-90 % but lower, just to preserve the tyres. I would prefer watching Rosberg or Hamilton win ( maintaining the record that polesitters or front row starters win the race in circuits like Barcelona,Monaco, Budapest ), than watching Alonso or Vettel win from fifth or lower. At least Quali meant something at places like this.
      Pirelli did excellent job in 2011-2012 bringing the field closer. But in 2013 they’ve gone way more aggressive than they had to. If they stick in the next years, they should make the tyres a bit more durable and safer like in 2011-2012 and let the drivers push, not just conserve the tyres.

      1. @black

        I would prefer watching Rosberg or Hamilton win ( maintaining the record that polesitters or front row starters win the race in circuits like Barcelona,Monaco, Budapest ), than watching Alonso or Vettel win from fifth or lower.

        Would you prefer watching Alonso or Vettel winning from pole too?
        Let me get this straight, you want people to convert their poles to wins just because qualifying should remain important? So then you would rather watch processions!! And it is completely Merc’s fault and no one else’s that they have built a race car that is dialled in over one lap and useless over a race distance. We should actually not have races at all! Just drivers getting points on the basis of their qualifying position!!!

        1. I didn’t said that I want every race to be procession won by the polesitter. Of course I want exciting races. But even processional races are part of the sport whether we like it or not. But watching the 2 Mercs lock the front row and then finish 6th and 12th, it’s just sad even if you’re not a Mercedes fan.

          Would you prefer watching Alonso or Vettel winning from pole too?

          Of course not, but even if Alonso were on pole what difference would have made. The Mercs gave up so quickly that it seemed that they weren’t even on pole. I hoped at least they battled for podium not just for points.

          I don’t want at every race the polesitter to win by 20+ sec, but neither I want every race to be a tyre conservation snoozefest like Sunday where at the end the most tyre friendly car wins no matter where it starts.

    2. Fuel stops could return, but only if the tyres were used for the whole race like in 05. Those rules really helped racing without it being OTT.

      Better still when the tyres drop off they should be 2 seconds slower not 5-7. Then that would open the strategy window a bit more and make racing better. At least then the guy in front could attempt to defend for a bit.

      1. I wondered when this would be brought up. If you think the current Pirelli’s are unsafe, think back to this era, when the ends of races we boring drudges because everyone went ultra conservative… We also had the farce that was the US GP.

        1. The racing in 05 was excellent. Indy was a one off that for many reasons shouldnt of happened. The rules didnt cause that, michelins miscalculation did.

          Again as a season 05 was brilliant, those rules worked. They were only changed at ferrari and bridgestones request as they were not competetive enough.

          1. The racing in 05 was excellent

            2005 had the least no. of overtakes of any season(apart from 1996): only 201. That’s around 11 overtakes/race on an average.

            Those rules had only one objective: to end the Ferrari-Schumi hegemony. Nowhere in the world, in no other sport, are steps like this taken by a governing body. Just imagine: ATP realises that Rafael Nadal is too strong, they decide to make courts faster to hinder Nadal’s style of play; or Barcelona being asked to play with spike-less shoes so that their ball control and overall performance drops. Are those scenarios imaginable? NO.

            Indy wasn’t a “one-off”, it was an accident waiting to happen. Bespoke tyres were bad for the sport, and the “one race tyre” rule was even worse. But for it, Raikkonen would have certainly finished the 2005 European GP, probably on the podium too.

          2. if number of overtakes is the answer why are we moaning now???

            2005 was racing. Real racing. We had less failures of tyres than we have now. Europe with kimi was his own fault. He flat spotted them and decided not to pit. He was allowed to pit and change that one tyre.

            Have we had better races than Imola, Monaco, Europe, Spa or suzuka which is regarded as one of the best races of all time?? no not this season

            Again as for Indy. Bridgestones were fine. And michelin had similar issues at the track the season before.

            The rules werent changed to stop michael. If they were why were they changed back.

            Sport isnt about wiki stats its about tension, closeness, fighting and fair for everyone racing. We had that in 2005 if you like it or not. If you want races that go to the last lap then the rules then we perfect. If you want a million pit stops with fake overtaking, no defending, drivers cruising a million miles off the pace and no tension as you know the guy behind WILL get past very easily then stick with what you got.

            I dont mean to be rude, but clearly some people are not remembering 2005 as it was.

          3. as for indy. michelin didnt do their homework on the resurface.Bridgestone with their CART/INDY teams did. It would not of mattered what rules were happening the same thing would of happened. It had very little to do with 05 rules.

            Then when a solution needed to be found the powers at be did not do their job.

          4. He was allowed to pit and change that one tyre.

            No he was not. Only after that race were rules modified to allow flat-spotted tyres to be changed.
            Overtakes shouldn’t happen the way they are happening now, true. But 11 overtakes per race? Sorry, but that’s just too less. And the tension you’re talking about is only related to the race lead. I had no doubt that Kimi was going to win at Spa. He was fighting for the championship, after all, whereas his teammate was out of it. What was the tension there? Imola was good only w.r.t. Schumi’s charge and the Alonso-Schumi battle. The only tension in Europe was when Alonso was closing in on Raikkonen. Same thing was felt in a race as drab and insipid as the 2011 Singapore GP, when Button was closing in on Vettel at the end.
            And even in 2005, there were at least six drivers who simply could not push throughout the race. Imola was an exception to that rule. One swallow does not make a summer.
            Suzuka was the only good race we had. Not only was there a battle for the lead, but some heart-stopping overtakes(yes, they are important) and two high-profile charges.

          5. michelin didnt do their homework on the resurface.Bridgestone with their CART/INDY teams did. It would not of mattered what rules were happening the same thing would of happened.

            – So you are saying that Bridgestone finding out they were in trouble early, but being carefull NOT to alert their competitor was fine?

            How would Michelin have been able “to do their Homework” without themselves suffering severe problems in a pre-indy test they could not take part in because they were not suppliers to the series? Had Bridgestone informed Michelin or the FIA of the trouble they ran into themselves, Michelin would have had tyres that were perfectly fine and we could have been spared a fare of a race there.

          6. I didnt say it was fine. But it had nothing to do with rules that season.

            Plus Mich had failures already at indy as i already said. WIth ralf and fernando so the arguemant holds no water when attacking the rules of 2005 that provided good racing.

            Massa changed his tyres in the race, due to damage. And i remember brundle and JA arguing over if he should pit on safety grounds or not and take a safe 3rd.

            So really dont get where he is coming from. End of day 05 had some great races.

          7. JA made a mistake. Brundle rectified it after the race.

        2. He could pit on safety grounds. Watch the race again. He may of got a pen. But it was his fault.

          As you mentioned all those races had tension. And not just at the front. Imola had a fantastic battle between the williams, Villeneuve and a few others.

          We even had overtaking at monaco.

          Spa was exciting for the lead changes and the battles down the field. Remember buttons move on JV??

          again overtaking stats dont mean much. Yes we still had boring races at the usual tracks. But that was the tracks that are to blame. Spain, bahrain, hungary.

          Im not sure what season you watched, or what you are looking for in racing. 2005 at the time was classed as a great season. If that perception has changed then its due to people spending to much time reading books or wiki. Get the dvds out and watch it.

    3. The Senna quotation here is very interesting. The fact is that conserving tyres always used to be an important component of F1, and would have been part of any great driver’s skill set. Now we have a generation of drivers and fans who grew up in the refuelling era and have mostly forgotten this.

    4. Well written, point well made @wsrgo

  12. I see that everyone here is getting into the detail of is it the tyres thats the issue or isn’t it.

    Well, I dont profess to know the answer to that but I can comment on is how I feel about the racing this year so far.
    I’m not enjoying this season as much as the many previous ones I have watched. It doesnt feel like the drivers are pushing to the limit for a sustained period thorugh the race.
    I understand that there is much more to F1 than driver and machine running flat out for 60+ laps and that there is always strategy to consider. Infact thats why I love F1 over other motorsport.
    However now it just doesnt feel right.

    Lets hope its improves over the season or we see the return of a more balanced aproach to strategy and driver out and out pace.


  13. I thought Buxton’s commentary of GP2 this weekend was pretty decent, but his blog just irritates me.

    Fernando Alonso’s opening stint was mesmerising. He was running quali laps on full fuel.

    What race was he watching? He was stuck in a train behind Vettel and Rosberg! Perhaps he meant the second stint, in which Alonso cleared Rosberg, but even so.

    Did they drive to a delta? Did they try and make one fewer stop than their rivals? Did they hell. They went out and they pushed. Every. Single. Lap.

    I think I know what’s going on here. Buxton must be fed up with all the complaints about Pirelli and in his irritation he launches into an extreme hyperbole.

    I can understand his feelings, but mine are on the opposite side of the argument. I have been mostly neutral on the subject of Pirelli tyres, but the arguments of their proponents often irk me, and sure enough Buxton trundles them out too:

    Mate, everyone is complaining about the tyres. But the guy who wins… does he complain? No. You should ask them why they don’t complain when they do well, when the day before they were saying it was the end of the world.

    For this reason I was thankful that Red Bull were complaining about the tyres because they were winning, and are leading both championships. Last year it annoyed me no end that the complaints of the sports’s most successful and second-most experienced driver were brushed off with: “Well, he’s not winning.”

    Buxton continues with the “same-for-everyone” argument:

    The only one who understands it is Kimi. He says it’s the same for everyone. If you don’t like it, [****] off, do something else.

    These drivers have spent their whole lives fighting to reach the top of the sport they love, and when they get there it changes in a drastic way that is not to their liking, they are not allowed to voice their complaints? And what about the fans? If they don’t like the changes, should they **** off and watch something else too?

    Furthermore, it is at least very frustrating for a team and its fans that a team is unable to get a handle on its tyres. Take Mercedes; they have a bunch of talented people working there – they managed to produce the fastest F1 car of 2013, after all – but have been unable to get their car to work with its tyres over a race distance. I cannot help feeling that an element of luck is involved here: all teams set out to build a quick racing car, and some turn out to be inherently better on tyres than others, which probably isn’t something their traditional development tools like windtunnels and CFD can help them with.

    I do agree with Buxton that all these complaints can be damaging for the sport, or for Pirelli in particular. There is no contract with any tyre manufacturer for next year yet, and Pirelli have already indicated they want a deal done by summer, or they have to find different work for their people. Currently, it’s not hard to imagine Pirelli walking away from the sport, and who knows what we will be left with then?

    1. Spot on about the Buxton article, I couldn’t read all of it as it was annoying the crap out of me. I don’t think Pirelli have got it horribly wrong either, for me it was just a bad race where they could’ve done with a harder prime compound. Buxton’s blog reads like some football terrace drunkard explaining why England should always play a 442.

  14. Excellent article by Will Buxton. Everyone moaning about the tires should read it very very carefully. That’s me included because I’ve also had criticized them after the race before actually realizing that Ferrari won the race by actually pushing throughout. and if RBR or Mercedes can’t get around the tires, they have only themselves to blame since it’s the same for everyone. It would also be unfair to change tires in the middle of the season. I’d complained loudly, along with many others about the Ferrari International Assistance banning things on a Renault to benefit Ferrari but this is just the other side of the coin.

    It’s sad to see all the pathetic portraying of Pirelli as the pantomime villain as well. If I were Paul Hembery I would announce departure at the end of 2013, unless written in to the contract that it is prohibited for F1 personnel to criticize the tires in public. That would be funny to see, F1 scrambling and begging tire companies to come, which they of course won’t do, seeing what treatment Pirelli received

  15. I hope Dan Harrison goes to watch Formula Ford because he doesn’t have a clue as to what F1 is about.

  16. I think, that saving tyres and not pushing 100% is normal racing. I don’t think that there were times when drivers could push 100% all race long. But tyre saving must not go too far, as it happened in recent races. I’m a huge supporter of degrading tyres, but last weekend was a bit too much. Bahrain was not so bad, because most drivers were stopping 2-3 times, as was the case in Chinese GP race. But Barcelona and Malaysia had too many pitstops and it made a bit boring. In my opinion, Pirelli should make tyres just a tiny bit more durable and that would be fine, because in the end of the season, teams will find way how to make the tyres last more.

  17. I was at the race when Mansell retired, sitting in the stands at the end of the pit straight, the McLaren was almost undriveable through turns 1, 2 and three, looked as if it would shoot off the road any second, was no surprise when he parked it that day.
    Was a boring race from what else I remember.

    1. he qualified well only a tenth off mika which considering the extra time in the car mika had and how good mika was.

  18. How many people can really say they’d know that drivers are driving to delta, or holding back, or that they are making 4 stops because tires are bad (they’re not bad, they are just made to have a shorter life by the recipe), if it weren’t for media and disadvantaged teams and drivers complaining.

    Think about it.

    1. You don’t hear drivers on team radio or in the media bringing it up.
    2. You don’t hear team personnel on team radio or in the media bringing it up.
    3. You don’t hear commentators and you don’t read it in the media because of the above points.

    How many of you would actually be here complaining about it? Are you seriously telling me that you can see a driver is pushing carelessly or consciously picking the best breaking point and corner line by watching it on TV. The fastest laps in the quali are never the ones where driver is locking up and sliding all over the place, giving off a sense of pushing more. It’s usually the one that seams effortless, with a perfectly judged breaking points and the smoothest lines.

    My point is, Pirelli are not really negatively affecting racing at all, because the aspects teams are complaining about aren’t the ones that viewers can see any way. On the other hand, the aspects that are making it more interesting and that fans do can appreciate, like different strategies and suspense, are brought back.

    If Rosberg and Hamilton fall back massively, it means something is fundamentally wrong with that car, because they don’t fall back compared to some invisible divine presence, but compared to the other 20 cars. That should give you enough of an idea of how bad they screwed up with their own car design. Other 20 cars have the same tires and if the tires are not the variable between the teams, than it must be down to their own car.

    1. If you have a look at what drivers and the teams were saying on the radio during the race (there’s a lot of it on the F1 Fanatic Live Twitter feed) it’s inescapably obvious that they are having to hold back because of the tyres.

      1. @keithcollantine The thing I find interesting is that, if you look at it, it appears that all of the teams are in the same boat. This notion about certain teams having apparently found a sweet spot seems inaccurate – all of them are struggling, it’s just that some are struggling more than others.

        The other thing I find interesting is the assertion from Hembery that a significantly harder tyre would play ingot RBR’s hands, since they have a lot of extra speed in the car that they’re not able to use because of tyre degredation. Now, naturally Hembery has access to telemetry that we’ll never see, so maybe he knows something we don’t, but on the evidence of what we see on the track, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Yes, they are carrying more downforce, as evidenced by their speeds through the speed traps. But if degredation is the limiting factor, would it not make sense that they would at least be able to harness their alleged immense speed at least for one lap during qualifying? Given what Hembery asserts, you’d expect them to have a similar pattern to Mercedes – qualifying on pole but rapidly dropping back through the race. But instead they can’t even produce a really decent qualifying lap. Are we really to believe that RBR are unable to maintain the tyres long enough to even set one decent lap?

        Their performance doesn’t bear this out at all. They have the appearance of being generally slightly off the pace, but setting consistent times throughout all sessions, and finishing the race roughly in the position they start in. If they have a load of extra speed in their pockets, they’re doing a damn good job of hiding it!

        1. @mazdachris I have a feeling they are dialling back the car somewhat to sacrafice some qualifying speed for better tyre management in the races, something Mercedes haven’t done which is exemplifying the speed of that car. Lotus in particular seem to be taking that to extremes, although I have a feeling that is partially due to the fact they just generally lack downforce.

  19. I’ve kept fairly quite on the tyre front until now. But I must say, considering Red Bull are leading the Driver’s AND Constructors championship – in this stage of the season (where everyone’s understanding of how to manage the tyres is relatively low), I think it would be an atrocious decision to turn around now and make the tyres harder. It would honestly make F1 a laughing stock. Think about it – just how unfair would that be? The tyres are supposed to be the fixed variable, and it is the cars that get developed for the optimum performance in the races. Tyres de-laminating so easily, on the other hand? Yeah, that one needs to be sorted out…

  20. That Will Buxton blog post is interesting, but ultimately nonsense when you read Alonso saying immediately after the race that for most of it he was driving at 90%

  21. Will Buxton, emminent F1 journalist that is he, is clearly talking rubbish on this issue. His claims that Fearrari were pushing has been systematically debunked by quite a few people already via analysis of Alonso’sfuel adjusted race times and opposed to his Q3 time. Alonso’s assertion that he was driving at 90% has also been debunked for the very same reason. At most he was driving at 70%. Even the 90% he claims is simply not acceptable. 90% of what? His abilities, or the car’s?

  22. Alonso’s remark made me laugh as, even though I have a PhD in chemistry, found the central part of the race rather confusing :)

  23. what monaco will look like?

    a mercedes front row, everyone will be stuck behind them since you can’t overtake on monaco… the first person to overtake the mercedes is most likey going to win the race!

  24. i’m sorry but crying that ferrari pushed every lap and the tyres are fine is a rubbish argument. vettel pushed every lap last race and he won too.

    just because a car on that weekend in that temperature can use its tyres doesn’t mean that the tyres are OK.

    sure, race to race, there’s going to be a car that will fall into the window of “the tyres dont overheat when we use them”.

    stop listening to the idiotic media who can’t see past the current race.

    perez fastest lap in malaysia (terrible car?) gutierrez fastest lap in spain (cant even get a point).

    if the slowest cars on the grid are pulling in the fastest laps, i doubt the leaders are really going all that fast.

  25. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    14th May 2013, 20:55

    Mateschitz: “Ferrari/Lotus got it right, and we didn’t. This has nothing to do with racing anymore.”

  26. Why don’t F1 us the Delta Wing concept or make the rules to allow a car shape like the Delta Wing.

    I mean the Delta Wing solves the turbulence problem, it reduces power needed to drive a car by half,etc.

    1. Whoops ..its *use*


    BERLIN – Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone faces charges in Germany relating to a bribery case, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Tuesday.

    According to the paper, the charge sheet is still to be translated into English before being transmitted to Ecclestone and his lawyers.

  28. Spanish GP 2011: Winner: Sebastian Vettel, 4 pit stops (lap 9, 18, 34, 48). Total of 75 pit stops in the race.
    Spanish GP 2011: Winner: Fernando Alonso, 4 pit stops (lap 9, 21, 36, 49). Total of 79 pit stops in the race.
    Mateschitz is full of ****.

  29. “Everyone knows what happens here. This has nothing to do with racing anymore. This is a competition in tyre management.”</blockquote

    As I said before: this is now the FIA Rubber Championship

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