Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Hockenheimring, 2014

Lotus and Sauber expect to be quicker in Singapore

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Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Hockenheimring, 2014In the round-up: Lotus and Sauber expect the tight Singapore street track to suit their cars better.

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Street entertainer (Lotus)

Romain Grosjean: “Singapore offers less in terms of compromising the downforce for straight-line speed, so we should be able to fight higher up the grid.”

Preview – 2014 Singapore Airlines Grand Prix (Sauber)

Adrian Sutil: “Sheer engine power is not crucial here; rather a high mechanical grip is important because of the many tight corners. Good stability of the car as well as high downforce will be essential, as the circuit has several kerbs and is quite bumpy in some places. I think we will have the best chance for a better result there.”

Magic at Monza (ESPN)

“The story was that he was the sheriff and he wanted some deputies for the grand prix. So at each team he had two deputies wearing the cowboy hats. The only team that didn’t take part was Mercedes, but after what happened in Spa-Francorchamps you might be able to understand why!”

The First Time – with Force India’s Sergio Perez (F1)

“When was your first big accident in a race car?
SP: It was in Formula BMW – at a testing day in 2006 I rolled over a couple of times. There was no one (around to help) and I found myself all alone – that was not a nice experience.”

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Comment of the day

@Maarten-f1 is sceptical about Ross Brawn’s denial of an F1 return with Ferrari.

It’s a very carefully worded denial. “At the moment” he’s not considering a return, so tomorrow that could be different. Or he’s not “actively seeking”, but when asked he might consider. So no untrue words have been spoken.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re going to approach him in the near future. But we’ll see I guess.
@Maarten-f1

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On this day in F1

Having been dropped from the F1 calendar in 2009, Montreal was given its place back for the 2010 season five years ago today.

Image © Sauber

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Keith Collantine
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  • 80 comments on “Lotus and Sauber expect to be quicker in Singapore”

    1. If coaching on driving by team radio is falling foul of the “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.” rule, then surely the beeps instructing drivers when to lift and coast should also be banned?

      1. @icytrue
        That’s a function of the car though, no different to shift lights

        1. I don’t think it is a function of the car. From the F1Fanatic radio transcripts back in April we had:

          “OK Daniel, just hit the beeps. Hit the lift-off beeps. Fuel is OK, hit the beeps”

          Lift-off beeps must be generated as a function of track position and speed and are of similar principle as the “carrying more speed entry apex turn 11” or “You’re pressing the brakes when on throttle into turn five”

          1. No, the indication is that the beeps are linked to the rev limiters of the cars – in that instance, I believe that the shift lights had failed on Daniel’s car and therefore he was having to rely on the audio signals alone to judge when he could shift.

          2. You are right that the beeps give the driver similar guidance on how to drive to the radio messages. The difference is that as a function of the car, they have to be set up either by the engineers before the car enters the circuit (just like they can still give the driver advice in the garage), or by the driver while he’s driving it. Neither involves someone else helping him while he’s driving. If that sounds like a trite distinction to you, you would be right.

        2. Hm, if its a function of the car doesn’t really matter though, does it? Otherwise active ride cars would be fine too, after all that is just a function of the car too @george

          1. @bascb
            Active ride was banned through a technical regulation though, if they want to ban shift beeps it has to be a technical regulation too, not a sporting one.

            1. As far as I know it was something the FIA actually targetted to have with the ECU, so don’t see why they would even want to get rid of that. I was just saying that “its part of the car” is no argument against the “no driving aids” rule @george.
              The moment the FIA would judge it to actually be such a driver aid, the teams would still have to immediately stop using it, even if it was an integral part of the car (much like the FIA changing its interpretation of FRIC from a well developed suspension towards seeing it as a moveable aerodynamic aid)

      2. @icytrue I thought that the beeps were part of FIA system supplied to the teams that gives them the blue and yellow flag warnings as well?

      3. Now that this is decided all championships won with radio aid should of cause be disgarded.

        1. Nigel Mansell won a championship with a car that has a now illegal system on it, is that championship disregarded? No. Of course not. The champion made the best use of the rules as they were at the time, whether that is one set of rules all the way through, or numerous rules coming in and out of force each weekend (no matter how much we dislike inconsistency). Vettel made the best out of 2010-13, Mercedes have made the best out of 2014, we are still waiting for which driver.

          1. @keeleyobsessed it is difficult to tell and I may be wrong but I cannot help but think that @kelsier may have been sarcastic.

      4. Football is less complex than F1 and players can get live coaching from the bench… double points is OK, team-radio is devil? How inconsistent can it be?

        “you can spot the fly on horizon but can’t see the elephant in front of you”

        1. Yes, it’s like every goal scored in the final 5 minutes in regulation and/or overtime counts doubble and all coaches are banned from the pitch…

          BTW, sudden death of in footbal was exciting too but banned because it was too random and unfair. Mind you the dinosaurs at Fifa are a few million years older than the reptiles at the FIA haha

    2. Adrian Sutil: “Sheer engine power is not crucial here; rather a high mechanical grip is important because of the many tight corners. Good stability of the car as well as high downforce will be essential, as the circuit has several kerbs and is quite bumpy in some places. I think we will have the best chance for a better result there.

      Isn’t stability one of the main weaknesses of the C33? I don’t see how the tight and bumpy roads of Singapore are gonna help them…

      1. @fer-no65 I don’t think the C33 has any main weaknesses, per se, with that car, everything’s a weakness

        1. @zjakobs they struggled massively with the brake-by-wire, I think. But yeah, it’s a dog to drive that thing.

          Not that the drivers are capable of turning it into gold either…

          1. @fer-no65 Possibly the most vanilla drivers in f1 coupled with a horrid car doesn’t give good results. Alonso they ain’t!

          2. @fer-no65 And good responsive brakes are especially important here being a street circuit. One only needs to ask Paul di Resta.

      2. @fer-no65 That was before their Hungary-spec upgrade package and the ban on the FRIC suspension. If you remember, last time we were on a slow and twisty track they came within a second of the points

        1. @montreal95 albeit in tricky weather conditions… doubt they’ll have that advantage at Singapore…

          1. @fer-no65 You’re right about that of course. But given the weakness of their power unit, and the relatively better performance of the chassis at the moment it’s clear to me why they think they have a better chance of a good result in Singapore. Of course that’s probably just gonna be P13 instead of P15…

    3. I really can’t see the Lotus being fast anywhere. It rides curbs and bumps like a milk float, not helped by the removal of the Enstone team’s very advanced FRIC system. Their car honestly looks like the most difficult to drive out there, and while watching Canada I declared that the Sauber was actively trying to kill its drivers, with the removal of FRIC I think the Lotus now holds that mantel. I also must encourage anyone to watch the Formula e race if they haven’t, it was genuinely entertaining, although I’m still gutted for Heidfeld…

      1. @jmc200 With regards to F-E, the racing was good, as expected. The series has incredible technology and the speed is… reasonable. Enough to send Heidfeld flying, so that’s good, and more will come with time. I only hoped the cars will be quieter. But it seems it might have been the microphones and sound set up.

        Better not bring up the fanboost or the “music”, I still struggle to comprehend that that was reality and not a nightmare.

      2. Watched the Formula E race because of your comment. Agree it was genuinely entertaining. After going through the forum thread though I’m surprised so many people are complaining about the music. It really seemed like an accident to have it playing for the race start, like they forgot to turn it off after the grid walk-through, because it went away and was never heard from again. Agree it was annoying though.

        Other than that I loved the actual racing, the cars seemed so slippery and the acceleration was awesome to watch. Really seems like they need better gear-boxes though, the shifts are way too slow.

        As for Prost I almost feel sorry for the guy, sure it was a stupid mistake but it’s one he’ll remember for a long time. Found it funny how many times he checked his right mirror, complete brain-fart from a driver at that level, I can’t imagine anything but the adrenaline of the situation getting the better of him.

        Definitely feel sorry for Heidfeld though, amazed by the lack of medical personnel for such a small circuit, thought he was going to have a punch on with Prost the way he ran over there, would have been rightly so too.

        All in all though it was what the series needed, even though it’s never good to see such a potentially fatal crash, the headlines it provides can’t do anything but raise exposure for the series. I really hope it continues to grow as the technology definitely has promise.

        1. Heh, Prost should have checked his right mirror too…. Just a dumb mistake resulting in a huge crash and had huge consequences for them both in terms of the race result. I don’t believe it was deliberate at all. Just very stupid.

        2. Lotterer: “Well, it’s easier to beat Ericsson at driving than at taking selfies!”

        3. @skipgamer Have to say with regards to the crash I was amazed how it took almost minutes before marshals arrived on the scene.

    4. I must say, I’m not a huge fan of selfies, and my god, are the Footballers huge fans of them… However, Ericsson’s selfie is actually v cool.

      1. Maybe he’s so used to going slow he can take one hand off the wheel while driving?

    5. The very first thing I thought of after that crash in Formula E was deja vu.

        1. @zjakobs, yep. Thankfully, both Prost and Heidfeld escaped unharmed.

          Even so, for inaugural championship races, that was one to remember.

          1. Put a big exclamation mark on the end, almost guaranteed to get a lot of publicity.

      1. The first thing i thought was – i hope Heidfeld isn’t dead. The second was – still havent seen him qin a race… been a fan a loooong time. Thirdly, deja vu a little… but much rougher here.

        1. Same here. Especially after seeing how the car landed into the barriers. I thought that he hit the barriers with his head after spinning in the air.
          Prost was never my favorite name in the Motorsport and after this incident I guess I have even less respect to it.
          Gutted for Nick though as it was his race to win and very nice move.
          I actually miss him a lot from F1, quality driver and definitely above many current F1 drivers.

        2. Have to say the moment the car went spinning I was sure he was dead. I was absolutely amazed to see him just climb out in the way he did and even more so, horribly shocked to see how long it took for marshals to arrive to help.

      2. I really wasnt expecting Heidfeld to get out of that car… what a great moment when he not only got out… but ran over to Prost too!

        Very dissapointed Prost hasnt recieved a penalty, when you think of KMags penalty in Monza with no contact compared to Prost’s move… that was just criminal.

        After the race Prost Senior tweeted that his son drove briliantly in the race… it has since been deleted.

        1. Same thoughts. I was sure his helmet was the first thing to hit the barrier.

        2. @BrawnGP

          He’s been given a 10 place grid drop for the next race. But i don’t feel this is enough. I just can’t work out what he was thinking ! Terrible driving.

          1. @f190 If it were up to me it would be an instant race ban.

            It was simply unacceptable what happened, especially after he just walked away and his attitude towards it was disgusting.

      3. I just watched the crash for the first time, Prost’s driving was just moronic. Certainly worse then anything Maldonado’s ever done. He should just been banned from the series from the off. 10 place penalty isn’t enough.

      4. What was Prost thinking about? Jeez!

        1. Actually think it’s the worst racing move I’ve ever seen!

      5. Everybody is excited to say “Prost” again and again. “It was Prost’s fault. Prost is an idiot.”
        “Why did Prost do it? Prost should not have done it.”
        Seems like nobody knows who Nicolas is… :P

    6. .. as opposed to slower, which quite frankly would be difficult in Lotus & Sauber’s case.

      Just sayin’

    7. Ericsson should focus on trying to beat his teammate atleast. He has performed miserably in this season. Even Chilton looks very good in comparison with him.

    8. Formula E

      Admittedly I only watched the highlights but I thought it was the most boring event I have seen for a very long time – I switched off at the car change over point. Having been at Monza the previous weekend didn’t help the E cause.

      1. The highlights must be terrible, then. The race was action packed. The cars aren’t as fast as F1, but the whole event was great, for me.

        Just wish Prost had checked his mirror.

        1. Prost did check his right mirror. He knew he wasn’t there so swerved left. A 3 race ban is what he deserves.

    9. Lotus and Sauber expect to be quicker in Singapore

      But so do Ferrari, Redbull, Mclaren and others. So net gain; about nothing.

    10. Formula E:

      Firstly, I love the design of the cars. Retro and futuristic in equal measure.

      Unfortunately (so far) that’s where the positives end.

      Maybe it was just me but with the high-pitch whine coming from the cars and the jittery way that they moved around the (truly mind-numbing) circuit I kept thinking I was watching remote-controlled cars being raced. The only time I got any sense of scale was during the (terrifying) last lap crash.

      It would be premature to write-off the series after one race but it’s going to have to go some way before it carries any credibility for racing fans.

      1. Yeah I must say we all complain about Tilkedromes but in comparison to this 90° straight 90° chicane straight chicane straight 90° straight circuit.. well it makes Tilke’s tracks appear to be good!

        Having seen some future circuit designs thankfully none of them so far seem quite as bad.

    11. I quite enjoyed the Formula E race. Few observations:

      – The noise bothered me a lot to start with, but within a few laps I stopped really noticing. I even caught myself enjoying it at one point

      – Track was dreadful. Combination of 90 degree bends and chicanes. They tried to talk up how each chicane was different and demanding in a different way, but ultimately the cars looked slower and clumsier than they should have. Formula cars never work well around street circuits.

      – Much more action than I was expecting, and a slightly lower rate of failure. Some really good battles, especially early on, and the drama of the last few laps as Heidfeld chased down Prost was as good as any racing you’ll find anywhere. Great quality and depth in the field of drivers, so while the last corner incident will be what people remember, there was also a lot of very fair, close, wheel to wheel racing.

      – The cars seem able to follow each other very closely, which is great for good racing

      – Friend pointed out how flimsy the front suspension looks. Sure enough, in the first lap a car went out with broken suspension, and when Prost hit Heidfeld, it broke the suspension for both the cars. Admittedly that was quite a wallop, but you can’t help but feel that an F1 or GP2 car would have just bounced off, and not been sent uncontrollably into the barriers. Maybe they need to look at that. Though obviously there are weight concerns with these low powered cars.

      – Pitstops were less odd than I expected. It works logically and did seem to add an element of tactical intrigue. I expect this will be more of a feature in future as teams get better at finely judging power levels and extracting the maximum from the battery. Some drivers were pitting with well over 10% battery life left, so there’s the potential there for more performance to be extracted

      – Fan boost didn’t seem to even register. I thought they would be making more of a feature of it, but I don’t think it was even mentioned in the commentary.

      – Great, in-depth coverage from ITV4. They did a really good job.

      All in all, I was impressed. I think this is a series with real potential to entertain, and it has piqued my curiosity enough that I’m going to see about getting tickets to see them at Battersea. The technology is very new, and I expect that this will look very slow compared to future iterations. But this is absolutely the future of motorsports. I think it’s only a matter of time before (in the fairly near future) F1 becomes an electric series, possibly using petrol powered range extending generators at first.

      1. Wasn’t Di Grassi about the only car in the top of the field who had Fanboost, after the likes of Buemi and Bruno Senna were already out early on?

        Agree on the suspension, that would need a bit of a rework to be more robust. As for the track, yeah, I feared we wouldn’t get to see any overtaking, good that was proven wrong, but the track itself was boring.

        1. I think the track just wasn’t challenging enough to show the drivers and cars properly on edge. Plus of course, this being the first ePrix, they were all being a bit conservative. I enjoyed seeing a bit of oversteer from the cars, and I think with the road style tyres, in faster tracks you might see a bit more slidey action through the turns, especially once they start to have a bit more confidence to push the cars.

          Other thing I noticed – a lot of conventional wisdom about strategy doesn’t apply to these cars. They don’t get faster as they run out of charge – the performance is pretty much stable other than tyre deg. So the ultimate strategy is to simply split the race in half, pretty much depleting the battery of both cars over half the race duration. Other than conserving a bit of power to have a go at overtaking while others are driving cautiously. The strategy is completely different to a conventional ICE powered race car.

      2. @mazdachris I felt that the ITV4 coverage during the race itself was quite good, and I was pleasantly surprised by their commentary, which at first I thought would be poor (but it nowhere near the likes of David Croft, James Allen, Martin Brundle, and Charlie Cox).

        I think the pre-race stuff and the post race stuff was poor and quite irritating to be honest. It seemed very bland and there was nothing going on, along with a qualifying report that lasted about 20 seconds instead of showing 5 minute highlights or something.

        Fan boost annoyed me a lot. In all honesty I think people voted for Senna because of the history with Ayrton, etc., and Legge because she is female (not being sexist or anything, please don’t take this in the wrong way, I’m only stating what I believe to be the truth. Honestly I doubt many people had ever heard of her before). So the entire concept is already shambolic.

    12. I loved the formula e race, it had action, overtakes and controversy. What’s not to like?

        1. fantastic point! yes that, apart from that its great.

          1. And the music. Othirwise, yes, I agree.

        2. It should be noted that the winner, di grassi, said he didnt use his fan boost Much respect to a true racer for not using that gimmicky stuff

      1. Embarrassingly slow.

        Irritating noise.

        Similarities with watching an RC car race.

        Did I mention slow? It was like a bicycle race, without the EPO.

    13. Formula E didn’t let things like a woefully boring track layout and comparably slow performance with other single seaters prevent it from putting on a fantastic race. “Talent will out” is something the series certainly illustrated in great detail, with the field of familiar faces all proving their class, and Heidfeld especially giving a snapshot of the fantastic job he has been doing for the Rebellion LMP1 team in the past few years by being denied the win only by a Suzuka ’89 esque move from none other than Heidfeld’s Rebellion teammate, Prost Jr. Couple that with star performances from Sam Bird and Franck Montagny, and on-track, Formula E failed to disappoint…

      And yet, I felt a touch uncomfortable watching it. No, I am not beating the oil and metal purist drum, innovative technology is innovative technology, so I had no issue with these purely electric single seaters, but I can’t help but feel I wasn’t (sat in my brown slippers enjoying a kipper or two for breakfast) the series’ target audience. Parking the abhorrent Fanboost as a way of interacting with the [young] fans who use social media, which I am happy to report had no impact on the race whatsoever, I noticed the most unnecessary and irritating music throughout ITV4’s broadcast. Not only did it block out the rather nice (if unconventional) noises made by the cars, but it appeared to be an attempt to turn a sporting event into a nightclub. Come on FIA, let the “pork pie brigade” enjoy Formula E too!

      1. The sound of the cars was a bit noddy. Why not have electric drive cars with an onboard genny instead of batteries. Then you could drive a whole race distance in one car, have more power available, still be advancing electric drive systems and even use green biofuel. Missed a trick, but racing was good. Prost was a silly boy and should have either accepted 2nd place or tried the switchback out of the upcoming last corner. He obviously felt stupid and embarrassed walking back o the pits. Felt sorry for Heidfeld too… I will watch again, but ITV is not the best and there could definitely be improvements. Fanboost is such a bad idea!

        1. I think the reason is that developing battery tech is the direction for the future. Yes you can have onboard electricity generation, but ultimately the cars of the future are going to have high tech batteries, and this is the main area of development. Electric motors themselves are a very mature technology and aside from some slight efficiency improvements, aren’t really a massive area for development. Whereas batteries and energy recovery/conservation systems are definitely the future.

          1. @mazdachris – I don’t particularly know why your particular crystal ball is telling you that battery tech supersedes the development of onboard power delivery. It appears to me that sustainable methods of retaining battery life by having an onboard method of generating power would be as beneficial to electric cars of the future as advanced battery ion technology (technology that presumably would allow for better capacity)…

            1. It depends on what you mean by onboard power power delivery really. At the moment the most effective means of achieving that is through a small capacity petrol engine running as a generator. Not exactly what you’d call environmentally sound or sustainable. If you’re thinking about other technologies, like hydrogen fuel cells, well those technologies are nowhere near ready for this kind of application. You simply wouldn’t be able to generate enough power to make a racing car go fast enough. And even with those sorts of technology, you’re still going to use a battery like a large capacitor – something that battery tech is currently working towards. Something which can charge and discharge quickly and simultaneously.

              But the setup where you have a battery and a small motor as a range extender is going to be a stopgap until battery tech matures enough to be quickly chargeable and holds a lot of power. Once you can get, say, a couple of hundred miles for less than an hour’s charging, then range extenders start to become a bit obsolete.

            2. Yes, stored energy systems aren’t really the way forward (though compressed air actually has some promise). I see the hydrogen fuel cell as the eventual settling place for mobility technology, so it would be better to work toward a solution aimed at onboard electricity generation vs battery tech. Batteries are ahead now, but they will never be more efficient nor ecologically sound than the hydrogen-water cycle of energy storage and retrieval (that’s why they’re used in spacecraft). In order to reach that goal, fuel cells must become much cheaper, which can only be achieved by mass production. The bits that could become more efficient through racing would be KERS and drive systems. It would appear that they have one electric motor driving a transmission, but I would like to see one drive motor on each wheel perhaps tied to Williams flywheel tech for regen braking. Actually, this is where they could open the formula up a bit and just specify weight and max power in Kw for the drive systems to allow for different solutions to compete on track.

            3. Just to clarify, I was agreeing with William B, not MazdaChris – I also misused the term “stored energy” in that all vehicles use stored energy, what I meant to say was “stored electricity” aka batteries. In a sense, petrol, diesel, and even H2 gas are merely other forms of a battery, it’s just that the L-Ion, although offering good power/weight are not totally ecologically sound to manufacture and they are relatively heavy and prone to spontaneous combustion. Far better to have something you can refuel quickly instead of recharging or swapping cars. Also, the most efficient genny would not be petrol, rather diesel. This could be biodiesel, ethanol to replace petrol, etc. what you ideally want to aim for is a high percentage of the power in Kw to a F1 engine with much less weight

        2. @abbinator – I pretty much agree with you, although I don’t think we could have expected a better noise from a battery. I think Prost is out of practice in defensive driving having been in WEC for the past two years, and simply went to defend much too late. It wasn’t malicious merely silly and very clumsy. I certainly agree about ITV’s coverage…Jennie Gow was terrible…

    14. Well… Lotus and Sauber couldn’t be much slower…

    15. Keith (@keithcollantine),
      What about having a list of all recent FIA decision on F1, and have a simple vote by us on what’s been good and what has been bad for F1?
      – double points;
      – standing restarts
      – (partially) banning team radio
      – V6 hybrids
      – less strict on ‘policing’ incidents
      – etc.
      And then prepare a list of best/worst decisions.

    16. Nicolas Prost move is called myopia.

      1. No, Heidfield tried to pull a suicide move. I’m surprised people are so hard on Prost.

        I mean, Heidfield was only fully alongside, on the inside, and outbraking Prost while keeping the car under control.

        Textbook divebomb, Heidfield should have pulled out of the overtake, and should get a penalty for damaging the wall.

        1. I shouted at the TV when Prost jinked sideways.
          My stomach went cold and I felt sick when I saw Heidfeld flip up and hammer into that barrier. From the camera angle we had when it happened, I couldn’t see how it was survivable. I really thought he was dead.
          @casjo – “I mean, Heidfield was only fully alongside, on the inside, and outbraking Prost while keeping the car under control.” Absolutely. It was clearly the only move he could make if he wanted to win (and obviously he did) yet Prost looked the wrong way and still jinked. Baffling.
          I’m very glad that the damage was to the car, not Heidfeld. In the slow-mo it looked like it took a big hit, terrifyingly close to his head.

    17. Prost has driven in the 24 hours of LeMans with Heidfeld as a teammate and friend and there’s no way he did that purpose.

      He actually looks away from his mirrors at the exact same time that Nick moves over to pass. And at that moment he made a really boneheaded move to defend way into the braking zone. A little bit of pressure on a son of a champion getting to him, and not helped at all by the fact he couldn’t hear any engine noise coming alongside him.

      This is crappy for Prost because it was still a dumb move, but all hats off to Nick.

      To come out of the car upside down with all of your adrenaline having led up to a last lap, last corner victory that would have, in an instant, redeemed 12 years of being a “loser” in F1, given huge heaps of joy for his new Venturi team….and yet he restrains himself from beating the hell out of Prost…… because its his good friend who’s just made a big error of judgment that will spell the end of any hope he had to make a name for himself for the right reasons.

      That was maybe the most sporting behaviour from Heidfeld I’ve ever seen from anyone in a Motorsport accident ever. And he didn’t even need to study the replays in detail like I did to recognize that.

      If you think Heidfeld was coming in too fast, well Prost apologized already, and you obviously didn’t follow Heidfeld’s carrier much.

    18. Sorry…. career!

    19. There is no doubt in my mind that NP swerved at NH deliberately to intimidate him. There is no way you’d put that kind of steering input in to make a corner. Check his approaches to corners further back in the race – he is way much smoother on the wheel which is what he should be. That violent swerve had nothing to do do with not “seeing” him (NH) and everything to do with wanting to impress Daddy with a lights to flag win.

      Sorry, it’s an opinion of course, and it’s mine so it cant be wrong…just an opinion.

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