Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Shanghai, 2013

‘I have potential to match Ricciardo’ – Vergne

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Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Shanghai, 2013In the round-up: Jean-Eric Vergne, who was passed over for a seat at Red Bull this year for Daniel Ricciardo, says he could achieve what his former Toro Rosso team mate has.

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Vergne: I could match Ricciardo (ESPN)

“When you look at my results compared to Daniel all of our career, I have the potential to be what he is.”

F1 teams question high ticket prices (Autosport)

“Wolff says that teams are aware of the difficulties race promoters have, which is why they have mentioned the issue to Ecclestone, as well as making it clear that F1 cannot turn its back on traditional venues.”

F1’s radio ban – full details of what is and isn’t allowed (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“The FIA has confirmed that the restrictions ‘apply at all times the car is out of its garage during the event,’ which means all practice and qualifying sessions are included.”

FIA issues radio message guidelines (BBC)

“From the race in Japan next month, teams will also not be allowed to warn drivers about brake wear or temperatures, or tyre pressures or temperatures.”

Felipe Massa, Williams, Monza, 20142014 Italian GP report (Motorsport)

“I have now been informed Massa was using the overtake facility at the time Hamilton passed him. He’d been told the previous lap not to use it, but the delay in transmission to the TV feed made it seem as if he was being told not to use it only seconds before Hamilton passed him.”

Williams not satisfied yet Williams (Sky)

“It’s relatively easy to turn around a team that’s in ninth and take it up to fourth, but when you want to start challenging for a championship it’s a whole different piece of work.”

Peter Prodromou arrives at McLaren (McLaren)

“Peter, who previously worked for McLaren between 1991 and 2006, joins the team after a very successful stint at Red Bull Racing, and is a key appointment for the McLaren team as it pushes ahead with the specification and development of next year’s MP4-30 Formula One challenger.”

Sochi Autodrom – virtual tour

360-degree views of the track which will hold the Russian Grand Prix next month.

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Comment of the day

Readers seem to be split between those who think the restrictions on radio messages will make races more challenging for the drivers and those who will miss the insight offered by unrestricted radio communications.

I want more pit radio not less. It adds to the concept of F1 being a team sport and shines a light on the great work the rest of the team are doing. Knowing the context of what’s going on behind the scenes makes a lot of situations, that would otherwise be boring, quite interesting. To know that a driver is going to “attack at the end” adds suspense to the mix.

So while I agree that messages concerning the actual driving (braking points, lines etc…) should go, I believe the chatter about settings, strategy and the condition of a cars systems would be missed. If they want the show, why ban this?
Benjamin Hoffmann (@Bcrh)

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On this day in F1

Five years ago today Renault announced they would not contest the FIA’s charge they had caused a deliberate crash in order to help Fernando Alonso win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, and that managing director Flavio Briatore and director of engineering Pat Symonds had stepped down from the team.

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  • 84 comments on “‘I have potential to match Ricciardo’ – Vergne”

    1. Comment of the day is very much correct.

      Also, latest rumours are that Vettel and Alonso will be doing a direct swap for 2015, but I have to thank you Keith, for not putting in every small unsourced rumour that emerges or it would be constant rumours flying all over the place.

      1. The following is one of the allowed:

        Information concerning damage to the car

        So if there is damage can the team tell the driver how to limit the damage and what modes to go into to do so? A bit of a contradiction there really.

        1. It sounds like Hamilton would have been expected to either keep his Monza start problem or try and figure out and implement a complicated reset procedure by himself… unless you take ‘damage’ to include software faults, which would be entirely reasonable unless they specify the damage to be physical, which they haven’t. But then aren’t messages such as he received in contention of the following?

          Adjustment of power unit settings.

          If so, are those messages allowed or not? And if there is a problem with the cars which means the PU looks like it might expire, that would surely class as damage and allow information (which would surely include a solution) to be provided. So a common solution might be to turn down the engine- which then contravenes the following.

          Adjustment of power unit setting to de-rate the systems.

          The trouble with this rule, even if the spirit of it is sensible, is that it will be full of difficult definitions, leading to multiple interpretations which will lead to contradictions in how messages are actually assessed and penalties for seemingly minor or even entirely innocent ‘infractions’.

          Also, all of the bite point and start-line settings seem a silly thing to ban given how incredibly complex these cars are. Not as silly as extending this ban to practice though, which has got to serve no purpose at all besides reduce the radio insights for viewers.

          1. Not as silly as extending this ban to practice though, which has got to serve no purpose at all besides reduce the radio insights for viewers.

            I’m in favour of the ban but I have to agree with this, what difference does it make if they share the information while they’re driving or while they’re in the pits? Surely that’s what practice is for?

          2. Hamilton and the rest of the field should not be able to use engine modes for the start in the first place – it is akin to launch control.

          3. So automate the more complex parts of these systems – drivers would be free to override the automatic “safe” settings but at their own risk, without help from the engineers in the pits.

      2. Can teams pass info through dashboards? Can they use the old school boards? The nostalgic folk would love to see those boards being used more often….

        1. Pretty sure the teams can’t send any message directly to the dash/steering wheel, because they are not allowed to adjust the car from the pits.
          I fully expect to see the grid full of pit boards with start modes/clutch settings written on them for each driver.

          1. The regulation that the FIA are using to push through this change is not specific to radio messages at all. Anything banned over the radio is also implicitly banned from the pit boards. Conversely, nothing that traditionally appears on the pit boards is banned from the team radio. Still doesn’t mean teams won’t try covert means to get the information to the drivers, but the pit boards aren’t a loophole.

            1. Hmm, you make a very good point, but the letter from Charlie Whiting was specific to radio so it’ll still be interesting to see what happens.

              “In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 20.1 of the F1 sporting regulations are respected at all times FIA intends to rigorously enforce this regulation with immediate effect. Therefore, no radio conversation from pit to driver may include any information that is related to the performance of the car or driver.”

            2. From the newer article on FIA monitoring all radio messages:-

              The FIA has also confirmed teams will not be allowed to communicate the same messages with their drivers via pit boards.

        2. @jcost It’s quite clear in the Adam Cooper article:

          Messages not permitted (either by radio or pit board)

          And they are stil used by the way to show gaps to other drivers.

      3. @strontium According to who?

        1. @keithcollantine sorry for the late reply, but it was this Italian article with rumours started by Sky Italia. I don’t think it is at all reliable though.

          http://www.gpupdate.net/it/notizie-f1/316221/sky-clamoroso-scambio-alonso-con-vettel/

          1. @strontium I had a look on Sky Italia at the time and didn’t see anything about it on there. Seems to be a load of garbage though.

            1. Must be, which is why this website is so respected :)

    2. On the team radio matter, I’m pretty sure that coded team orders are still banned, with only clear ones allowed, but is this still the case? Multi 21 comes to mind.

    3. Peter Prodromou to Macca…. That actually sounds promising!

    4. I think Vergne could be a very good #2 driver for someone, when he’s not retiring from technical issues he’s a very solid racer, and doesn’t have the absolute qualifying pace likely to upset a #1.

      Also, I cant stop laughing at Alonso’s tweet.

      1. He’s turned Rosberg into Louis van Gaal!

        Someone should tell Massa (not over the radio though, that’s not allowed) that his overtake button is connected to Hamilton’s engine.

      2. Yeah I’m also in stitches at that tweet from Alonso ;D

      3. Very funny feom Alonso.
        Probably this is an indication that he wants to swap teams instead of swapping hairstyles.

    5. That street circuit looks permanent with the way it has been done. I’m quite confused.

      Although that 360° viewer is cool! Can’t help but notice yet more Tilke apexes which have a wide entry and a normal exit. I would have thought they’d have learnt by now that that is not required for proper racing.

    6. “From the race in Japan next month, teams will also not be allowed to warn drivers about brake wear or temperatures, or tyre pressures or temperatures.”

      I understand about not telling the driver how he should approach corners, which corners he is slow and so on, but how can a driver know of the brake wear, temperatures or tyre pressure and how he should manage it without the help of the team?

      1. @wackyracer
        How did they know before team radio?

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          16th September 2014, 1:46

          They didn’t.
          They just applied the brake, nothing happened, and they went through which ever piece of scenery they happened to be aiming at, at the time.

          Unless the drivers have some way of monitoring it, not allowing them information on their brakes could be incredibly dangerous.

          1. But they CAN monitor that information, it’s just a matter of showing it to the driver directly instead of letting the engineers tell him over the radio.

            1. Does the Mclaren ECU have a mode for that? Theres a real possibility they’d have to ship a new one thanks to the FIA.

            2. @austus They have sensors which will register and send to the pit wall, therefore there must be a way to have it display on the steering wheel screen for those teams that have them.

            3. That’s completely asinine to not allow radio messages about performance during practice… IT’S PRACTICE. What’s next? No performance-related radio messages during testing?

          2. It’s not dangerous. The list of drivers in the history of F1 who have died or gotten seriously injured as a result of brake failure is small. In 2014 and beyond, with the current safety level of the cars and circuits, I’d wager that list will be a big round zero.

            1. with the current safety level of the cars and circuits, I’d wager that list will be a big round zero

              @marciare-o-marcire you’re missing the fact that telemetry, feedback and managing problems is part of the reason why that will be ‘a big round zero’

              The list of media personnel killed or injured by flying wheels in the pitlane is also small, it doesn’t mean the ban on media in the pitlane isn’t a perfectly sensible safety precaution to take.

      2. I wonder if this is all a marketing strategy, similar to the introduction of driver numbers, to try and make the pilots appear more heroic, as they did in the past. The current situation makes drivers seem reliant on help, and undermines their ‘superhero’ status. MotoGP riders often seem quite superhuman, and their races also include (though to a lesser degree) tyre conservation and monitoring gaps. I think F1 wants to get some of that nostalgic, how-do-they-do-that feel back, and less “I could do that if I had someone telling me what to do all the time”. And they want this without stopping team-radio broadcasts, which have been a hit. Perhaps.

        1. @splittimes But surely a better approach would have been for FOM to make sure that the radio messages which undermine the superhero status are not selected for broadcast. That way we can continue to have complex formula one technology, good reliability and the drivers still get to be heroes.

    7. On this team radio ban…what happens to the encrypted radio feed that teams use for “sensitive” info?

      1. @jaymenon10
        I think that the FIA must have access to that radio, and is just not given to FOM, but I’m not sure. This sure gives Ferrari an advantage though, as most of their messages are in Italian, Charlie better start learning it, or hire a very good translator with motorsports experience. I could be wrong about the encrypted radio being given to FIA though, if anyone knows for sure, please tell me.

        1. @zjakobs There is no encrypted radio for sensitive messages, all radio communication is now open – that’s why we get to hear sensitive messages on the live feed.

    8. So any team using Mercedes engine need to ask for permission to use the overtake mode?
      THAT is the type of thing only drivers should be able to decide whether to use or not.

      If the engine does fail. That will be the driver’s fault.
      It is just plain ridiculous to have to ask your engine supplier (rival team) whether you may or may not use a faster mode.

      #radiobanfail

      1. Mercedes will embed an engineer within the teams that they are providing engines to, and that engineer in turn provides information on whether or not it is advisable to use the overtake mode on the engine. It’s exactly the same procedure that Renault and Ferrari use for their customers, and it’s a method of engine support that has been around for decades (I’m fairly sure that Cosworth was embedding engineers within some of the larger F1 teams during the DFV era to advise on engine performance settings even then), so I don’t exactly see why it should suddenly be such a revelation.

        Now, whilst there is a certain need for support from the engine supplier to use an engine mode that runs the risk of increased engine damage, that is not necessarily the same as requiring permission – after all, Bottas was using the overtake capability on his car as a defence against Hamilton the German GP and, as Mark Hughes now admits, Massa was using the overtake mode in an attempt to defend against Hamilton in the Italian GP.

    9. On Jev – Yes, you have the POTENTIAL, not the actual performance, that’s why you’re not in. It simply can’t be all bad luck that you’re getting. Right attitude draws right fortune.

      On team radio ban – Wow, I thought brake and tyre temps are already out of the picture immediately. I guees that small bit makes managing Singapore a tad easier.

      On the haircut swaps – Ricciardo looks totally like a… well, not straight. :P

      1. On Jev – Yes, you have the POTENTIAL, not the actual performance

        @atticus-2

        What are you on about? At Toro Rosso, JEV matched up to Ricciardo. In fact I thought there was nothing to choose between them at the end of the 2 seasons.

        Ricciardo got to exploit his potential when he moved to Red Bull, while Vergne didn’t. I don’t see how your argument of ‘you might have potential but not performance’ makes any sense at all

        1. How did getting constantly outqualified by Ricciardo and then only seeming to move forward because he overtook the slower cars he qualified around (whilst on new tyres mind you) whilst Ricciardo was usually mugged by the faster cars he qualified around (inside the top ten so no new tyres for Ricciardo) equal ‘matching’ Ricciardo???

          Consider their performances even from just after when the 2nd Red Bull seat was announced as available last year. Ricciardo thrived under the pressure and went on a qualifying rampage, JEV wilted and then told everyone how he was a match for the newly promoted Ricciardo. Now he’s doing it again…

          Hey JEV maybe worry about matching your new rookie teammate Kvyat for pace before you set your sites on Ricciardo again?

        2. @todfod

          First of all, on one lap, Ricciardo always held the upper hand. That’s the number one thing.

          On race pace, they were most often evenly matched and even being almost equal on points by the time Red Bull made their decision, Vergne had a lot more bad luck.

          But even then, I got the impression he handled pressure worse than Ricciardo (number two thing). I remember him running wide in quali or race in Chapel, pursuing a valuable grid position or track position, and throwing away precious places while doing so.

        3. At the end of the day, there MUST have been some difference between the two which tipped the balance towards Ricciardo; Red Bull won’t just roll the dice and see who’s number it shows.

          I don’t think national bias played any part – in fact, Renault might have even been happier with a French driver than an Australian, the latter of which is another representative of the nation a – from a Red Bull point of view – slightly ‘problematic’ Webber came from.

        4. @todfod yeah that Vergne is really destroying Kyvat the rookie…

    10. If I’m honest I also believe Vergne would’ve out qualified Vettel this year but beyond that I don’t know, Daniel has shown he’s very good on race day whether is keeping the tyres alive or fighting closely for position against world champions.

      1. No he wouldn’t. Riccardo was destroying him in qualifying and Vettel seems to be pretty much there with Riccardo in qualifying.

    11. JEV could quite possibly do a lot better in a top car than he’s being given credit for. After all, the jury was rather split on who was the best Red Bull candidate, even inside Red Bull themselves. And, not that many actually predicted correctly the huge success that Ricciardo has obtained so far this season. Hats off to Daniel, he is one of my favorite F1 drivers. But, let’s not discount JEV before we see what he can do in a proper car. I’d love to see him move up so we can find out the true answer to this question.

      1. 100% agree mate. Dan is my absolute favourite driver, and I believe JEV is a brilliant racer. Just look at how close they were after two seasons at STR. Imagine Seb going to McLaren next year, with JEV making the jump to RBR.

        1. How did getting constantly outqualified by Ricciardo and then only seeming to move forward because he overtook the slower cars he qualified around (whilst on new tyres mind you) whilst Ricciardo was usually mugged by the faster cars he qualified around (inside the top ten so no new tyres for Ricciardo) equal ‘matching’ Ricciardo???

          Consider their performances even from just after when the 2nd Red Bull seat was announced as available last year. Ricciardo thrived under the pressure and went on a qualifying rampage, JEV wilted and then told everyone how he was a match for the newly promoted Ricciardo. Now he’s doing it again…

          Hey JEV maybe worry about matching your new rookie teammate Kvyat for pace before you set your sites on Ricciardo again?

          1. You’re only good as your last race eh? JEV has comfortably matched and even slightly outmatched Kvyat this season so far on average

            1. @montreal95
              Nope, he hasn’t. It’s just that Kvyat’s car was failing almost every time Dani was inside the points.

              Speaking of the last race.. He outqualified JEV, and after starting from 21 was to finish ahead of him, in the points, if not for another mechanical failure.

              I like JEV, I think he’s a formiddable racer. But to say that he comfortably matched Kvyat this season can only a man who hasn’t been following races and is looking at the scoresheet only.

        2. The idea they were close is a diluted one. JEV was inferior in every place actually. Points don’t tell the full story. Is the same situation with Button getting about the same points as Hamilton during their three season together. But if you look at the races and how everything went you realize that Hamilton was vastly superior.

      2. @bullmello – Ricciardo’s brilliance can be viewed as keyhole peek into the breadth of true star quality throughout the field. His form in 2014 not only flatters him, but JEV and Kvyat too. I would hope the decision to take Ricciardo over JEV was more than a knee-jerk reaction to some impressive qualifyings from the Aussie (although I say “hope” in that Red Bull’s decision to stoop to the ridiculous, a 2015 race seat, to stop Verstappen being poached by Mercedes hardly made them look clever with Lynn, Gasly and Sainz already on their books), and perhaps a reaction to JEV’s failure to translate the blistering raw pace he showed in his junior career to impressive F1 qualifying performances. I would suggest, versus the form he reliably shows both in the wet and in the race, that Vergne is a touch averse to the sensation of an F1 car on fumes…

        Not that that is not something a big team could effectively help him improve with some focused testing and setup work. Perhaps he wouldn’t be wiping the floor with a quadruple world champion, but JEV would have still been impressive had he been promoted; I am certain of it. However whilst the man he ran so close in 2012/3 is a global media darling and facing a long and stable career of emphatic stardom, Vergne is facing expulsion from the sport. There are no options for the unbacked JEV, with the higher placed teams content with their line-ups, and the lower ranking teams requiring hefty subsidies. See you at the Silverstone 6 Hours in April, Jean…

    12. Those face swaps are terrifying

    13. Will the teams (re)start using the pit boards to relay information to the drivers?

    14. That’s completely asinine to not allow radio messages about performance during practice… IT’S PRACTICE. What’s next? No performance-related radio messages during testing?

      1. I’m afraid FIA will soon force drivers to change tyres by themselves (but still feel OK about double points).

      2. @beejis60 Completely agree. That is what practice is for, to get to learn and push and find where the time is to be gained.

    15. What I find interesting is the following:
      Messages not permitted (either by radio or pit board)
      Any message that appears to be coded. <— ok how are they going to know that?

      Messages permitted (for the avoidance of doubt):
      “Push hard,” “push now,” “you will be racing xx,” or similar. <— hahaha; my first thought was "Piquet". This can clearly be used as a coded message. By rearranging the words and the phrase and/or the tone of the phrases, one could invent an entirely new way of communicating just using the indicated words.

      The radio ban rule is a fail before it even starts.

      1. @maksutov yeah they have literally gone and opened a tonne of loopholes already.

        Team orders ban didn’t work and I doubt this will either.

    16. All this talk about the use of radio messages between the driver and pit wall seems to ignore the fact that teams used to once use pit boards along the pit straight to communicate gaps between drivers…I for one would not be opposed to seeing more of this happening. Teams could still communicate messages via the pit board and it is then down to the driver to spot them, interpret it and make the necessary adjustments?

    17. Whilst I agree with the decision to ban radio messages conveying information on how to drive I don’t think it is reasonable to expect the drivers to be software engineers. The PU’s of F1 2014 are clearly highly computerised and as such rely on the proper functioning of myriad computer programmes. It is unreasonable of the FIA encourage/mandate such complex pieces of technology then expect engineers not to have a greater role in the racing/running of them.
      I can kind of fathom how it is reasonable to convey info related to tyre wear and brake temperature on pit boards or dash displays but I don’t think a driver should need to know what switches,turns etc. to press in order to reset or adjust software.
      It is going to be intriguing to see how all this turns out. I wonder if there be more running during free practice rather than less as was suggested by Steffmeister yesterday.

      1. @arki19 Plus the drivers at 150mph have already got to make adjustments during the race without having to work it out themselves. Talk about safety, this is just distracting.

        As for the engineers, what on Earth is the point in having them do stuff in the race if it doesn’t do anything in the race?

    18. A lot of people have commented that drivers shouldn’t need to learn to control the software to manage the car but I disagree. A lot of consumer cars today have complicated software to control settings and while admittedly they’re not as crucial to the running of the car as Formula 1, it is still a skill of the driver to be able to determine what settings you should activate under what conditions and how to access them when needed.

      It is however the job of the manufacturer, or in this case the team to ensure that important, and even the less important functions are easily accessible for the driver. Some of the communications akin to “turn this nob 8 times then go to the 4th setting then press the 3rd button down on your right side 6 times.” are simply ridiculous and I have no problems at all with the FIA forcing the teams into using the technology well and truly at their disposal to push this avenue of accessible car setting control development.

      The drivers should be the ones making the calls on what settings to use when, not the teams, and if the driver is unable to do so, then that is entirely a failure on the teams part as a whole.

      1. The cars are called prtotypes, they are not finished products. More so with the new engines, that the manufacturers are still learning about. ERS, Energy store, Turbos etc. You could make a game out of managing these systems and subsystems but while trying to overtake at 200mph, ridiculous.
        Some restrictions should be imnposed but progressively.
        Some of the roles the engineers play over the radio are control functions that are difficult to automate because sometimes they are new faults.

        1. Agree — they should have just banned the messages like “you’re loosing time in turn 4, try a higher apex speed, brake on the entry 5 meters sooner” type messages instead of the “watch your brake temps” or “Yellow R 4” type messages.

      2. @skipgamer But an F1 team is full of engineers who work during the race, and it is a team sport, so more than just the drivers are involved in the race.

    19. If

      Williams needs the permission of Mercedes whenever it wishes to use the ‘overtake button’

      how are they going to tell their drivers under the new ‘radio ban’ rules?

    20. The cars are called prtotypes, they are not finished products. More so with the new engines, that the manufacturers are still learning about. ERS, Energy store, Turbos etc. You could make a game out of managing these systems and subsystems but while trying to overtake at 200mph, ridiculous.
      Some restrictions should be imnposed but progressively.
      Some of the roles the engineers play over the radio are control functions that are difficult to automate because sometimes they are new faults.

      1. They definitely should have given this at least until the end of the year, if not until 2016 to introduce the rule with all the new technology.

        1. But life is much more interesting when the goalposts have legs! ;)
          Which is also akin to saying that Double Points keep the championship interesting! (that’s irony BTW)

    21. Love this radio ban thingy. Doesn’t go far enough though – as I’ve said previously, make all radio traffic one way only (driver ->pits) and let the driver drive on their merits, not through copious analysis of data by engineers sitting in front of laptops.

    22. Formula Indonesia (@)
      16th September 2014, 9:09

      Yes, JEV had the potential, which COULD be : Dan = JEV > Vettel, anyway it would be interesting if Vettel move to another tram

    23. People saying that Austria was a success, while Hockenheim was a disaster oversee such a tiny detail as capacity. Austria has a capacity of about 45,000 while Hockenheim 120,000. So Actually there were more people in Hockenheim than there were in Austria. Empty grandstands are empty because the circuit was rebuilt in 2002, in the middle of Schumacher era.

    24. Verge vs Ricciardo.
      They were teammates at Toro Rosso in ’12 & ’13.
      – VER scored more points per race finished than RIC: VER 1.0 vs RIC 0.9
      – but RIC qualified higher: RIC 13th, VER 15th
      – (when) finished an average 11th vs 12th for VER.
      – and RIC scored 30pts vs VER’s 29pts;
      At the end of 2013 RIC won most of the inter-team battles (4/5), by up to 5 places. RIC probably evolved more than VER.

      But now RIC is beating a 4x WDC by similar margins.

      It would be good to see VER prove his skills next year with another team.

    25. On MotorSports Magazine you can read:

      “Williams needs the permission of Mercedes whenever it wishes to use the ‘overtake button’ and that permission tends to come more readily when the fight is with a Red Bull or a Ferrari than when it’s a Mercedes… Massa’s engine wasn’t in overtake mode at that moment, Hamilton’s was.”

      Can anyone explain this to me? Is this written in a contract?

    26. Sochi sure looks like a challenge for the drivers, I like it, plus the walls it’s going to give some close racing I predict.

    27. I never thought I would say this – I now rate the FIA under Mosley higher than the Todt era!
      – double points;
      – ‘half pregnant’ radio ban;
      – stewarding tightening and then loosening;
      – cost control on/off/on/off;
      – standing restarts;
      – Pole Position Trophy;
      – etc. etc.
      The decisions are ill conceived, unclear and do not make the racing/spectacle better.
      It seems the FIA is trying to kill F1 by a 1000 cuts.

      1. Double points deserves a double listing as it is worth two lots of bad it is that bad.

        And let’s not forget about in-season testing which between 2011 and 2015 has constantly alternating between banned and allowed.

        1. Only allowed if your team name is “Mercedes” “Red Bull” or “Ferrari” and your drivers wear black generic helmets.

    28. Next season a minor will be racing in F1. Max Verstappen will be employed by a team to drive a car, presumably in all 20 rounds of the 2015 season. But as he will be under 18, and thus legally a minor, consideration needs to be given to the different jurisdictions F1 operates in. Some jurisdictions will place responsibility for any harm he causes, or which might befall him, onto the team, the local promoter, or even his parents. I can’t imagine how difficult the insurance situation must be. And if he was involved in a serious incident, the press for F1 (and Red Bull) would be horrendous. The headlines write themselves.

      But more than just the legal issues of having a minor race in the senior motorsport event, what does this say about the credibility of F1? Is it really a sport you have to work hard at for years to get into? No. You need a rich benefactor, a few years in karts, and to be well connected. It looks more like One Direction than Formula One.

      Add to this the perennial problem of F1 doing business in dubious places, the mysterious and asymmetrical terms for competitors, and the utter lack of concern shown to long-term F1 supporters, and I think it’s fair to say that the sport – if it can still be called a sport – is in the wilderness.

      1. I’d have a seasoned JEV over a green Verstappen any day — but Maybe Torro Rosso is not 100% interested in getting as many points as they can… This seems like a fairly dodgy arrangement (a 4-car “team”)

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