Ricciardo named Laureus ‘Breakthrough of the Year’

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo has been awarded ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ at the Laureus Awards in Beijing.


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Ricciardo wins Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award (Formula1.com)

"The Australian earned the accolade after surpassing all expectations in what was his first season with the team, which included scoring the first three victories of his F1 career - he was also the only non-Mercedes driver to triumph - and eclipsing four-time world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel. "

Nico Rosberg has moved on from Shanghai and is looking forward to Bahrain (Sky)

"Rosberg: 'I said what I felt and now it’s a thing of the past. We did discuss it, which was important to go through it in detail and now it’s behind us.'"

Button tells Rosberg: Actions speak louder than words if you want to rattle Hamilton (Mirror)

"Button: 'Talking in the press about something you are unhappy on only makes Lewis stronger. Lewis is a very competitive individual when his head is in the right place. It is about toppling him in other areas.'"

Boullier: McLaren-Honda to start 'ramping up' Formula 1 performance (Autosport)

"McLaren will begin ramping up performance after showing good reliability in the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, according to racing director Eric Boullier."

Will Stevens: Who is Formula 1's new English driver? (BBC)

" In China last weekend, Stevens finally managed to do what he is there for and take part in the race. There was progress. Both cars finished the grand prix, and this time the fastest Manor - Stevens - was less than three seconds behind the McLaren-Hondas in qualifying. "

Human rights and Formula One (ESPN)

"In recent weeks a new statement has appeared amongst the legalese found on the official Formula1.com website. For the first time in its history, Formula One Management has taken an official position on human rights, and published that position for all to see."

Bahrain Grand Prix Betting: Improving Ferrari Form Makes Them Tempting (Unibet)

"Last year the (Mercedes) pair duked it out in a thrilling fight for supremacy in Bahrain in which they repeatedly came close to colliding. Their rivals’ best hope is one of them will go a step too far this time."

Hot Topics: Could the WEC become as big as F1? (Red Bull)

"But could the World Endurance Championship become as big as the daddy of motorsports, Formula One? We put the question to a panel of top motorsports insiders to see what they thought."


Comment of the day

The new GP2 season kicks off in Bahrain this weekend with DRS being introduced into the mix for 2015. When it comes to DRS in F1, however, @afonic is not convinced.

You can find dozens of videos on Youtube with great overtaking action before DRS, when passing someone was really hard, even if you have a superior car.

DRS killed waiting for the unexpected, trying to get that better exit from the corner or following your opponent lurking for even a small mistake. Check the pass Hakkinen did on Schumacher at Spa 2000, while lapping Zonta, one of the best overtakes of all time. It would not have happened in DRS-era Formula, Mika would have waited to use DRS and make an easy pass. Sure we have more overtakes, but they are by-the-book, boring DRS-aided moves.

Secondly, DRS makes many alternative strategies impossible. When you are slower, you can’t defend against a faster opponent. So usually, using a strategy that will result in having worse tyres at the end of the race, will get you overtaken. Besides that, even great defensive drivers, like Button often give up when in DRS disadvatage. That way we have even less fights, and we lose some great defending action, which to me is equally impressive as the attacking moves.

For me DRS has removed a lot of elements of the sport that I used to enjoy and each year I am wishing it gets removed. With “designed to fail” tyres, it’s useless anyway.

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110 comments on “Ricciardo named Laureus ‘Breakthrough of the Year’”

  1. Top COTD. Congratulations @afonic for presenting such a compelling observation.

    1. Yep, agreed with every word. I remember someone likened DRS to making the goals in soccer twice as big. Sure, goals are exciting but if every game ends with both teams in the double digits, doesn’t the sport lose most of its character? Same with DRS as the COTD rightly pointed out. It takes away defensive and attacking skill, engaging battles and thrilling moments.

      1. I’ve agreed since the begining. Why, why are forced to still have this stupid/ridiculous thing in F1?

        We honestly need to do something collectively.

        1. Start a change.org petition perhaps? There’s regularly a couple of thousand people voting in F1F polls I think so maybe if @keithcollantine led on it we could give it enough momentum to actually take off…

        2. Why get rid of DRS, when you can take care of the problem in one rule change, that is ban TV cameras at the circuits :)

      2. @colossal-squid
        Almost agree with your comparison, but I think it’s actually worse: It’s like making the goal twice as big – but only for the team that’s one goal down.

        Spot-on COTD on DRS, though I entirely disagree with his criticism of the tyres. Pirelli are doing a great job, very often nailing the balance between durability and degradation that leads to good racing.

    2. I don’t mind DRS. When I see one car stuck behind another I get a faint notion of the fustration of being stuck in traffic.
      The designed to degradation tires bother me. Let them race hard instead of babying the tires.

    3. Yeah..absolutely agreed. Ive been watching the odd youtube clip featuring racing from about 10 to 15 years ago..plenty of exciting battles between Schumi, Montoya, Kimi, Mika, DC, Alonso etc. Who said you need play-doh tyres and DRS?

    4. Yes, DRS really does the sport no good at all @afonic

      1. Yep. I’ve given up all hope it will be removed now. Why they haven’t run a race without DRS in the Pirelli era is beyond me.

        1. I really wish they would. There would be 1/5 the number of passes, and maybe then, people would find something constructive to complain about. DRS is being used as a scapegoat, and keeps us from races that you can predict the end of after lap 3.

          I’ll use two examples, both from Hungary, to counter the COTD:

          1) Lewis Hamilton on Jean Eric Vergne, turn 4, Hungary 2014.
          2) Lewis Hamilton vs. Kimi Raikkonnen, Hungary 2012

          In #1, Hamilton pulled off exactly the kind of move the COTD says never happens anymore. In #2, the slower car (Hamilton) held off the faster car, in spite of DRS, for something like 20 laps.

          Finally, I’ll add that in Bahrain 2014, widely regarded as an excellent race in terms of wheel-to-wheel battles, Rosberg never could have challenged Hamilton lap after lap without DRS.

          Is it a gimmick? Yes. Is it artificial? Yes. Does it help to counter the disadvantages of the overly aero-sensitive cars that the FIA keeps producing through over-regulation? YES.

          You want rid of DRS? Fix the fact that the FIA is using ineffectual methods to slow the cars down. We need to reduce reliance on front-wing downforce– Not by trying to force the aero into a box, but by giving the teams active suspension and limited ground effect again.

          The net result of the last 10 years of rule changes is to make the cars more likely to crash, more difficult to pass, more expensive to design, and just plain dangerous when the race goes from dry to wet.

          1. awesome- so you have to go back 1 and 3 years to find 2 examples to counter the DRS haters… I think you just sealed the argument.

          2. @cartwheel: Right– because going back *10* years before the introduction of DRS to prove DRS is bad, that’s OK.

            … but using two examples from last season (and there are others, I just couldn’t be bothered) is somehow “bad”.

            Pointing at DRS and whining is about as effective (and relevant) as Bernie blaming Mercedes for the poor state of F1 viewership. It’s missing the point at olympic-class levels.

    5. Thanks to @keithcollantine for COTD and to everyone for your comments. I’m happy to be a part of F1Fanatic community!

    6. Seriously, so much confirmation bias, it actually hurts. This was the most painful COTD in a long long time.
      You are comparing 10seconds highlights from the past 20 years, and you think it is better?
      And above all else, you say that alternative strategies are off the table.
      It’s the opposite! Actually it’s the only thing which makes different strategies viable. Noone would 3 stop on a 2 stop race, because they couldn’t manage the trafic without DRS.
      If you are faster, than they wouldn’t catch up to you, it is as simple as that. Is it far, that the guy in front has more downforce? It’s like if you are close to someone in a marathon, you get 10kg of extra weght. Does it seem fair? DOES IT? Well, that’s what happens in the corners. If the guy in front is overall faster, he won’t be in the 1 sec window. And it’s not like they are changing places every lap, the guy in front easily overtakes, and the next lap, vice versa…
      You guys are crying about DRS for 3 years now, and it’s pathetic, really.
      Imagine 2011 Canada without DRS. The ‘pass’ wasn’t even under DRS, but in no way was it even remotely possible to Button to get through the field without DRS.
      So when you highlight one of the best overtakes of the past 20 years (Spa 2000), maybe think about the other highlights which are ONLY happened because DRS.
      Ohh yeah, go back and watch a random race pre 2007. It’s pretty booring with todays standards. Pole sitter has 20 sec advantage in 30 laps, and that’s it. Not even only in the Schuacher era. So when you are thinking about the past, don’t consider 10 second highlights… Even in the booring australian gran prix, there is a 10 second highlight in there somewhere…

      1. Good points.

      2. Agreed. Pre-DRS racing was processional. Sometimes the length of the DRS zones can be too long so overtaking becomes a bit easy, but on the whole DRS is a definite improvement.

      3. I didn’t say that racing is boring now or that it was boring before. I love F1, I am watching since 1995 and I have literally hundrends of races on my computer. Nothing would make me stop watching F1, be it double points, DRS, fan boost or whatever other gimmick they think of. Some said that DRS is needed to let the car behind get close on “dirty” air, I fail to see why the car ahead can’t have it then.

        The logic that the car receiving the overtake will get ahead in the next zone, rarely works, as the faster car usually opens a gap more than a second until the next lap. So it’s either the very next DRS zone or never.

        However to say that races before DRS were boring, is wrong. As in any season there are action packed races and others more processional. Also other seasons are exciting and others boring, again nothing to do with DRS. Probably you haven’t watched them. And it’s funny you found “confirmation bias” in my post when you’ve done so many exaggerated and wrong comments.

        It’s just that overtaking used to be even more exciting and now it’s not. I would stand up to be closer to the TV when a battle was on, even for the lower places. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

    7. I agree that DRS makes overtaking a bit too easy when there’s a noticeable speed difference between the cars, making what could otherwise be exciting battles totally one-sided. What I don’t agree on is the implication that it makes current drivers too cautious or lazy to try overtaking outside DRS zones compared to before the DRS era. DRS made it so that they don’t need to try anything else, as their first attempt is most likely to stick. In the rare case DRS is not enough, we still see overtaking in different spots of the track, some of them less than 3 weeks ago in Malaysia.

      Concerning the Hakkinen-Schumacher overtake at Spa 2000 in particular, it’s a very bad illustration of the ‘drivers wait for DRS zone’ criticism, because that’s exactly what Hakkinen did that day. He waited for the Kemmel straight and Les Combes each lap to make an overtaking attempt, simply because DRS or not, that was his best/only overtaking chance. At no point during their fight Hakkinen made an attempt anywhere else.
      If DRS had been present back then, indeed such a pass wouldn’t have happened as it did, but not because “Mika would have waited to use DRS.” Instead, DRS would have made Mika’s first attempt on Schumacher stick and he wouldn’t have needed for a particuliar situation to present itself to make his overtaking.

      1. And besides, the Hakkinen-Schumacher overtake at Spa 2000 wasn’t even that good or special, it just seemed like it at the time as there wasn’t much overtaking to compare it to, Zonta got in the way and basically spoiled what was a titanic battle between the two, with Hakkinen in the faster car and Schumacher displaying truly amazing defensive skill lap after lap.

    8. We still have great moves today but no-DRS passes are so much more exiciting. We don’t want a race without passes but we did not ask for too much easy passes either, we gotta find the balance.

      Great COTD.

    9. My advise is to limit DRS: 1. reduce the length of DRS zone; 2. every driver can only use DRS twice (for example) in a race.
      DRS has made VES’s overtakes too easy.

  2. WEC is never going to get back to the 80’s likewise F1. Stop trying to send motorsport back to when you started to watch it. I watched the Ricciardo Laureus bit, Mick Doohan presenting the victor, aussie to aussie, looking at the shortlist it was obvious that Ricciardo deserved the award. I’m not bias…

  3. there’s one simple thing to why the WEC will never be F1: HOURS of racing! unless you’re a petrol-head (as i assume most of us are), the casual viewer would never engage in a 6 hour race! I know a lot of people who don’t follow any motorsport, but from time to time they engage in an F1 race, mostly when it’s in a good time slot (Canada, Brazil, the US, and now maybe Bahrain… look, here in Argentina, because of the time zone, we’ve got to get up really early to see a race) but that’s only because a race last less than 2 hours. I don’t know no one who will “casually” watch a 6 or more hour race…

    1. There’s another. I tried to watch some WEC on the weekend, but was quickly annoyed by the track being flooded by all the different categories racing at the same time. It doesn’t feel like a ‘race’. It just feels like everyone on track doing their best lap times in traffic. I found it hard to see who was actually racing who, and didn’t care about any of the slower categories. It would be like GP2 and GP3 racing IN an F1 race. I quickly turned off.

    2. The thing is, you can have it on the TV for the whole afternoon and just go and watch patches of it @mtiascasali. I think live at the tracks its a whole lot better than F1 because you get more cars, more access and its available for a great price.

      1. Maybe it is a good show to watch live, but then, there’s only 8 races, and i don’t know if that get’s a massive fan base from all around the world. In fact, unless i “steal” some streaming, i can’t watch it even if i wanted to, here in Argentina.

    3. @matiascasali @selbbin @bascb What if WEC had a sprint race say 1hr long just LMP1….. not sure how they would incorporate it into the weekend but how good would it be :) That would drag a few away from F1

      1. It would be far more interesting.

      2. @funkyf1 Maybe a qualifying race, like many GT series have.

      3. it would be a tiny grid with bigger performance differences, in no way better than F1!

      4. @funkyf1n actually that could well drag teams from WEC… cars would become F1-knockoffs without being F1 so moving to the prime series would be an easy choice.

    4. Cycling races often last 6 hours. 100’s of millions people watch Tour de France every year.

      1. Yeah, but many people watch it for the countryside too, which changes. And the tour has a high viewership, but the rest of the races don’t.

      2. I’m pretty sure the 100’s of millions watch the Tour the same was as I do (and the same way I watch WEC) – about half an hour when having dinner. And I have the priviledge of having a home office. Do you really believe that 10% of the world’s population stops working for two weeks to watch TdF? I don’t think so.

        I’m with @matiascasali there, six hours is way too much to be engaged, and not only for an average viewer but for someone who has to choose between using the very few weekend days with good weather to actively relax or spend six hours on a couch in front of TV.

        The best sporting events in terms of emotions and entertainment (see football, volleyball, hockey, F1 race) last for about 1.5-2.5 hours. That’s the reasonable limit if we’re talking about a TV show.

    5. For all people who don’t want to waste hours on watching WEC (like me) try watching Blancpain Sprint Series. It has 2 races, qualifying session and qualifying race in Saturday and main race in Sunday. Both races are 1 hour race (when 1 hour time is up it’ll become final lap) with 10 min mandatory pit stop window between 25-35 min into the race when each team must change tires and drivers. Since GT1 is dead, there are only GT3 cars there (although it more tuned and closer to GT2 performance level) and the different categories is based on the level of the drivers: Pro class (all driver is pro driver according to FIA system), Semi-pro (1 pro and 1 amateur) and gentlemen (all amateur). Since the cars itself basically has same spec the class difference isn’t that big (semi-pro regularly can compete with pro in track) making it very entertaining to watch.

      1. Oh I forgot to say they put it live in youtube too.

        1. this is probably the interesting thing – other sports making themselves available in a better way than F1. 6-hours of WEC is not easily accessible whereas short races probably are.

          F1 could be the pinnacle – it just needs to incorporate the ideas being thrown up by other categories/sports. and, more importantly, it needs to avoid the mistakes of others (e.g. cricket taking its tv coverage off free-to-air telly and the viewership declining…oh wait…damn!)

    6. As a show, WEC is overrated.

  4. I know we could say this for most races coming up, but I really feel as though this weekend is so important for Rosberg. Last year he was marginally quicker than Hamilton throughout the weekend, but still lost. If Bahrain still provides us with great overtaking opportunities (fingers crossed), Rosberg needs to go wheel to wheel with Hamilton, be decisive and win. I’m praying that he does, because I don’t want Hamilton to run away with this years championship.

    Rosberg’s comments really surprised me after last weeks race, because I cannot believe he was being so drastic with something so trivial. Even on the podium and post race interviews after Australia and Malaysia, he seemed so much more dejected after losing to Hamilton than the year before. I hope this isn’t an indication that he may be subconsciously throwing in the towel already. So please, Rosberg.. be aggressive this weekend if you’re going wheel to wheel with Hamilton because we desperately need to see you as a true adversary to Lewis this season.

    1. Rosberg’s countenance after the race was not good. He needs to cheer up. Hamilton came back from more difficult and towel-throwing-in situations last year to win the championship. If that is not a mentally strong man right there, I don’t know who else.

      Regarding this comment from Button:
      -Lewis is a very competitive individual when his head is in the right place.

      I am really surprised that Button could say that. What does he mean by when “his head is in the right place”? That is akin to saying the person tends to be loco. That is such a very terrible way of describing your team mate because I am yet to hear another driver performing at Hamilton’s level in any motor sport series that is described in that manner. When fans say it, one can understand it as just bile but coming from Button who has been sold to us motor sports consumers as classy and gentlemanly, that is crass talk.

      Button should know better.

      1. @tata I think you’re misinterpreting what Button means. He doesn’t mean that when Hamilton doesn’t have his head in the right place he’s “loco” or crazy.

        He means that Hamilton is a very emotionally driven person, and these emotional highs or lows can massively affect his performances. See for example how his personal relationship with Nicole Scherzinger as well as his relationship with his father appeared to affect him during 2011, or how after winning 4 races on the trot last year the controversy of Monaco appeared to make him quite sullen for a spell mid season. These are examples of where Hamiltons head wasn’t in the right place.

        There are other, minor examples throughout the year of how Hamiltons form appears to follow his emotional state. Anyway my point is Button is right, and he’s in no way meant to be attacking Hamilton or casting aspersions about his mental health.

        1. You are repeating the same thing that Button said with a few extra words. The question is why is he the one whose head is always ‘in the right place’ or not? As I said, I am yet to hear of other drivers of Hamilton’s caliber being described in that manner. Ayrton Senna’s head with all his recklessnes was never questioned.

          This “head” issue keeps cropping up and people keep reffering to 2011. I’ll ask u a question. Do you know how many times there are artcles about Lewis Hamilton on dailies and what have u? Lots. Heck, even his spray of champaigne last Sunday in China came under question and was ridiculed by some news outlets.
          I see nothing wrong with his drop in form in 2011 and as for the 2014 slump, u mention of, I wonder when that was cos the last time I checked, he beat 19 other correct “heads” including Button and won his second championship.

          The point I am trying to make is this. So many drivers undergo slumps worse than Hamilton’s but we don’t hear of their causes because they don’t make headlines. We instead make up excuses for them meanwhile Hamilton was winning races the very same year “his head was not in the right place”. Heck, we blamed Button’s inability to score a single podium or win a race for Mclaren with a car we were told was built for Button, as soon as Lewis left, on the entire Mclaren establishment. I wonder who would have been blamed were Hamilton still driving the Mclaren. Maybe his head would have been questioned for not winning in the ‘fast Mclaren’. Was Kimi’s head so not in the right place because he had a child that he was trounced by his team mate last year?

          Don’t get me wrong. I am just saying that drivers, like all of us go through ups and downs. Some have theirs in the news, others don’t. It’s no reason to question one’s senility. Because that is quite possibly the direction the “head” thing is going. The guy is being slowly made out to be a nut case.

          I honestly believe those whose heads need questioning are the ones who have sat and watched a “head that is not in the right place” win races each year he has been in F1 no matter the kind of car he is given, come rain or shine. With a “head” that is under question he is on his way to becoming the most successful British driver ever and a legend in f1. It does say a lot about the other “heads.”

          1. Because Button knows that Lewis gets distracted and that has a negative impact on his performance, which he probably said because he was asked about Hamilton, not about Massa or Vettel. Other drivers are not that competitive even when they are clearly in the zone, whereas Hamilton is. But he does tend to get distracted, moreso than some other drivers. Also, we talk about the popular drivers. Sure, Grosjean might also have the same issue, but we don’t care. And while you think people are being too harsh on Hamilton, I think you are being too harsh on Button. It’s just a throw away comment, for F sake. You’re exactly the same as the overly critical voices you’re complaining about. Someone who can’t just let people be people.

          2. Jenson of course makes a fair point, Lewis has been known to allow outside activities affect his performance.

            However, I’m not so sure that applies any more. If anything it appears Lewis has learned the art of channelling negative energy into a positive outcome. Last season was a case in point.

            This was the missing factor for Lewis to becoming the ‘complete driver’ for want of a better term.

            In problem free race trim I think he’s utterly unbeatable in the Merc. By anyone.

          3. petebaldwin (@)
            16th April 2015, 11:04

            @tata – “as for the 2014 slump, u mention of, I wonder when that was cos the last time I checked, he beat 19 other correct “heads” including Button and won his second championship.”

            He did win the Championship but unfortaunately, if you check once again, you will likely understand the point Button was making.

            Other than his retirement in Australia, he was unbeaten for 4 races and looked to be in control.

            Then Monaco happened and Lewis threw his toys out of the pram. This resulted in 1 win from 7 races. during the mid-season.

            Following this bad spell, Lewis appeared to get his head back in the game and won 6 out of the last 7 races.

            What happened in the middle of the season!? We all know that a Lewis who is 100% happy is unstoppable so why was he very stoppable in the mid-season?

            Ask Lewis’ dad and he’d tell you that Lewis had to have his head in the right place. Ask anyone at McLaren or Mercedes and they’d say the same. Even ask Lewis and I bet he’d agree!

            I play football at an incredibly low level but even I notice a difference if I’m “in the right mood” or not!

          4. @tata I was trying to explain what Button said, to you. You were the one stating having your head in the wrong place is

            akin to saying the person tends to be loco

            which it does not mean. It does not mean someone is crazy. That’s a fundamental misinterpretation of what Button was saying and from what you wrote it still sounds like you don’t understand what he said or what the phrase means.

            Your examples are poor. Button failed to score a podium in 2013 because the car was poor. Ask his team-mate who also didn’t score a podium, Perez. Had Perez scored several podiums then your argument may be valid. McLaren was to blame for the bad car because teams are blamed for making bad cars. In a similar vein do you honestly blame Alonso for not winning a single race in 2014 on his performances, or on the F14T, whose problems were widely publicised?

            Kimi wasn’t blamed for failing to match Alonso’s level last year on his head. Instead plenty of commenters claimed he was overrated and that that was his true pace. Also if you were to read around Kimi is well documented to struggle if the front end of the car isn’t to his liking, as was the case last year. That’s not an excuse for Kimi – that’s a fault of his as he can’t ‘drive around’ problems in the same way Hamilton and Alonso seem to.

            Kimi himself any time results are not coming to him has had his motivation called into question – see 2008, 2009, the end of 2013. Hamilton never has his motivation called into question at least.

            Finally your saying

            It’s no reason to question one’s senility. Because that is quite possibly the direction the “head” thing is going. The guy is being slowly made out to be a nut case.

            Any proof that people tying Hamilton’s emotional state to his performances means that he’s mentally ill? Stating that saying his head isn’t in the right place to focus on a Grand Prix – due to familial issues, intra team politics, ect. is a far cry from mental illness. It simply means he is prone to be distracted or negatively affected by events outside of his cockpit. This to me is a pretty innocuous statement. And generally from what I’ve seen it tends to be right. Hamilton’s poor performances tend to coincide with spats with his team mates or with issues in his personal life. Hamilton himself has even stated the importance of having a happy personal life in being key to his success on track. See here https://www.racefans.net/2011/12/13/2011-f1-driver-rankings-no5-lewis-hamilton/

            Also saying such statements are “probably” going to end up with Hamilton being considered mentally ill by the public is entire supposition on your part with nothing in the way of concrete evidence to support it and is quite the logical leap to make.

            Personally from reading what you’ve written you have a very very poor understanding of mental illness and its effects. If you wish to think that people equating Hamilton being a emotionally driven man, and this being pointed out and discussed, as being people questioning his sanity then clearly you have a poor grasp of what mental illness is.

      2. Hamilton is not only a F1 driver, he´s a superstar, and because of that his private life gets a lot of attention and of course that affects him sometimes. Does anyone know the name of Vettel´s wife without checking, I don´t think so. Can you see my point now? By the way, Vettel´s wife name is Hanna Prater.

        1. The difference is he chases/craves the attention whereas Vettel actively avoids it

          1. That’s a lie. Any examples?
            I am waiting to hear facebook, instagram and twitter.

      3. @tata

        I am really surprised that Button could say that. What does he mean by when “his head is in the right place”? That is akin to saying the person tends to be loco.

        I think, as many others point out, you have misinterpreted here.

        It takes an incredibly strong person, and some measure of experience, not to let your personal life (or other setbacks) affect your work life. As an example, my marriage recently broke down. Did this affect my work? Of course it did! For a couple of weeks, I could barely concentrate on anything, and it took a last minute trip to see some friends in another country for me to start to get my head back in order. I am still, 3 months on, not working at the same level as I was.

        Hamilton is an emotional guy. When he gets an emotional setback off track (or on track), it can negatively affect his performance. The guy is only human! I believe he is better than he was at keeping his head straight, but his emotions do affect his on track performance. If he is happy, he is incredible. If he is unhappy, merely very good.

        1. – It takes an incredibly strong person, and some measure of experience, not to let your personal life (or other setbacks) affect your work life.

          But that is the point. Every single one of them out there on the tracks, just like all humans, are affected by things happening to them and sometimes around them. We just don’t get to hear what each and every one of these other guys are struggling with when they are going through their slumps in performances.
          So no one gets to question their “heads”. On the other hand, something must be written about Hamilton daily. If there isn’t anything, why not accuse him of being a bully, thug or woman abuser for being the first racer ever to spray champagne on a podium girl. The blatant overlook of Vettel and others doing that is hypocritical.

          My point in all these is that the “head” issue comes into play only where Hamilton is concerened.
          And because it has been accepted as a term to use especially where the guy is concerened, Button therefore can say that while talking about his team mate without blinking an eye because when you mention head not being in the right place in F1, you r speaking about Hamilton.
          That’s just the way I see it.

  5. Apart from lingering brand value, the only thing keeping F1 ahead of the WEC series is the “E” part, a race that endures for 6 hours is great for those able to spend the day at the track but for those watching at home on TV even on a wet weekend it can be a poor choice of daytime activity, at best an occasional indulgence.
    WEC needs 2hr. sprint races interspersed through the season useing the exact same cars, tyres etc. my preference would be a 1 driver stopless race but 2 drivers 1 stop may be OK, with a tight championship battle including both 2hr. sprints and longer enduro races many people may find the enduros more compelling viewing having invested their time watching the sprint races. It wont take a Bernie to make WEC more successful than F1, just some sensible organisation and promotion with a profit sharing charter that equitably returns 90%+ of profits to the teams, I would also suggest 2 short seasons divided between the Northern and Southern summers, the Northern season being the longer due to the greater number of tracks and potential racegoers.
    Comments ?

    1. Two hour sprint race is F1. WEC exists because it is made for the purpose of doing long races, otherwise i don’t think manufactures would be on it. I like WEC but this is getting seriously overhyped. There are three teams capable of doing something (Nissan is like Mc/Honda today, actually worst). The private teams are miles behind, yeah much different from F1… LMP1 has how many cars? 11, 12? Because that’s the category that matter, hence we have a lot of GT categories that provide great racing but doesn’t drawn enough attention (with sprint races on it). So, even less cars than F1. The cars are not much louder than F1. How many on track overtakes? Homologation? Some people think WEC is free, but the rules are as strict as in F1. Etc.
      Interesting that the article comes from Red Bull, I wonder why…

      1. @edmarques, at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, there were only seven LMP1 cars. The only entrants were the three manufacturer teams and Kolles’s private entry, with Kolles’s car – which is a hastily rebuilt version of the CLM P1/01 that Lotus eventually abandoned at the end of 2014 – being hopelessly uncompetitive and retiring quite early in the race.

        As things stand, even once Rebellion and Nissan are competing, the LMP1 field is unlikely to be above 11 entrants for a normal race.

        Most teams will normally only run two cars (at most) during the rest of the season – it is only because the ACO gives a heavy bias towards the 24 Hours of Le Mans (allowing teams to score points with a third entry and offering double points) that sees the manufacturers run third cars for Le Mans, thereby inflating the size of the field.
        Even so, there are only 14 entrants for Le Mans, and that assumes that Nissan can actually field a three car team for Le Mans.

        Speaking of Nissan, I would say that the comparison with McLaren-Honda is rather unflattering to McLaren right now. At least McLaren were actually able to make it for the start of the season – Nissan still haven’t passed their crash tests and are having major issues with their hybrid drive systems – they haven’t even confirmed which energy recovery class they will compete in – and the car reportedly has significant handling issues too.

    2. @hohum Agree, I’ve been saying this recently… it could be like a modern Can-Am series, which also raced in a different part of the year to the Endurance races. Build an Endurance calendar around Le Mans and a sprint one opposite? Or mix and match through the year.. but in the sprint one get all the cars on track (or double etc.), running separate races for LMP1, GT3 etc.

      1. @fastiesty, right, when I 1st. started watching F1 in the 60s I wasn’t actually watching F1 I was watching F Tasman, same teams, same chassis, same drivers, and some NZ and Au drivers but instead of the 1.5 L NA motors they used the previous regulations 2.5 L NA motors as these were cheap and plentiful since they were no longer in F1, the point being that F1 happened in Europe and America in the summer and came to Australia and New Zealand for a short season during the Northern winter this worked well and I think would work well for WEC possibly based around a 12 hr race at Bathurst and sprint races in Au, Nz, Mal. and possibly RSA and ARG depending on financial viability. I would suggest 8 months of racing divided 5/3 or 6/2 North/South.

        Many people say the small field of LMP1 cars means it wont attract more viewers, I say this is a chicken and egg situation, more TV coverage will lead to more viewers which will bring in more teams and so on.

  6. Wow….. Amazing COTD @afonic

  7. Of course the COTD is anti-DRS. I know this is a ‘blog’ owned and operated by an individual, but personal opinions are prevalent in a wide range of articles far too frequently. I first found and loved this site for F1 News. I also enjoy the opinion articles, even when I don’t agree. But it seems that in the last 12-24 months, the site owners agenda pervades many of the sites articles which I feel is unfortunate. It is no longer about delivering F1 news, but about getting on his soapbox and railing against what he feels is wrong with modern Formula 1.

    1. I should add that I do agree in most cases. DRS makes passing too easy, and I really hate the lack of fuel stops and tyres. I just wish there was more neutral reporting on this site.

      1. Racerdude7730
        16th April 2015, 0:54

        Agree 100%

        1. I think you are both confusing this site with TheJudge13… Now that is a non-neutral site ;-)

          But hey, it doesn’t matter. I’m thankful there are people creating beautiful F1 related sites, and I read them wit pleasure. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t, but most of the time I read news about F1 that I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

      2. Without personal opinions there would be nothing to discuss.

        1. And by agreeing you promote your personal opinion just as much as disagreeing. Keep it up.

      3. Pay more attention. I have often seen Keith pick COTD’s that he doesn’t agree with. This is a blog, the whole point is to encourage debate.

        1. Maybe a pro-DRS COTD would encourage more debate

          1. We don’t need a COTD. But some pros and cons of the system. Why it was needed and why we want it removed now.

            That will allow people to comment on it objectively.

    2. getting on his personal soapbox and railing against what he feels is wrong with modern formula 1.

      HEY! watch it there buddy, that’s my job.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      16th April 2015, 6:02

      @trido, I’ve got a slightly different opinion:
      1) as you mentioned it is as much a blog as an F1 news site;
      2) (almost) all opinion articles are structured: ‘pro’ – ‘con’ – ‘over to you’
      3) I’ve seen COTD’s arguing different views (might still be biased, but certainly not single sided);
      4) and the comments are as diverse as one can hope for and make extremely interesting reading.

    4. @trido I’d just like to point out that I was the one who selected the COTD, not Keith.

      1. Thanks about that @willwood (I mistakenly mentioned Keith earlier).

        I just want to add that browsing F1 Fanatic, I feel that news and personal opinions of the authors are always easy to tell apart. (pure comment articles are put in “Comments” category). Of course I don’t agree with every opinion, but I can always tell which part is news and which is comment. And this is proper reporting.

        In this new era of digital media, It’s one of the best sites I visit, no speculations, no unverified “news”. Take a look around and see how biased most of the media are (not F1 media, in general) and I think you’ll agree.

  8. I wonder if now that Qatar wants to come on board, and Bahrain are stopping that… Bernie/FOM can now afford to take a more vigilant line with Bahrain and gain from ‘respecting human rights’… thus piling on the pressure. If the race folds, then Qatar gets its place.

    1. Oh! The irony of it :) It’s like jumping from the frying pan to the fire.

    2. If FOM is well and truly respecting Human rights..the following races should come into question:

      and maybe Brazil

      So just like everything else, this is a PR stunt.

  9. Tires which are manufactured to degrade massively and cars which suffer if it goes anywhere near 1.5 seconds to the car in front.

    How exactly is the chasing person supposed to overtake without destroying his tires? Tires and Aero are massively limiting the cars now. We fix that before doing anything to DRS.

    If we certainly have to do something about DRS, reduce its effectiveness. If they give a 10-12kmph boost currently, halve it. Thereby giving the leading car a chance as well at defending his spot.

    1. How about getting at the core problem by allowing active aerodynamics? set a down force limit, then let the cars maintain that even when following. Complicated, but it would appear less artificial.

      of course getting ride of designed to degrade tires would be better and easier. Let them fight for more than a few laps without cooking the tires.

      1. The first sounds complicated and difficult to implement. The second point is easily doable. Mercedes may run off in the distance (as much as the fuel permits) but alternative strategy might be possible with those light on tires.

  10. Many praised Verstappen for his overtakes at the end of the straight in China. They were under braking but only possible because he could come closer thanks to DRS. People have DRS in mind like it’s always a pass as simple as you’d do on the motorway. While in fact we often see drivers getting closer thanks to DRS but still have to outbrake someone in the braking zone to actually make the pass and some of those have been great to watch.

    It is naive to call DRS a total waste, as has been my view since it was implemented DRS is a good thing, the way it is used is the wrong.

    1. Well, Renault engine is less powerfull than others, so DRS only helped in a way, that allowed Verstapen to keep up with his rivals on the straights. So I would call these genuine overtakes without help of DRS.

    2. You’re wrong about this: Verstappen was miles away entering the breaking zone. If it was a simple DRS pass, he would have start passing them before the breaking zone. What made his pass so special was the late breaking, because he couldn’t take advantage of the DRS due to the weak Renault engine. Besides one of the three passes was somewhere else on the circuit (on Perez).

      So, I’m not saying I agree or disagree, just that you picked the wrong example :-)

      1. Breaking zone or braking zone ? ;-)

        1. Oops, you got me there! It took until lap 54 for him to enter the breaking zone I guess ;-)

          *todo: must learn how to write better English

  11. ColdFly F1 (@)
    16th April 2015, 6:15

    I am not a fan of DRS, but neither am I a fan of cars having to stay 2secs behind the car in front due to the turbulent air. If you stay 2secs behind you might save the tyres, but you will not be able to take an advantage if the driver in front makes a small mistake.

    Maybe (just making things up as I write) F1 can create some kind of Turbulence-Impact Reduction System (e.g. increased front wing) instead of DRS. A setting a driver can pick when chasing the car in front allowing more close racing, and pushing harder.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        16th April 2015, 11:29

        @jimbo – interesting. Thanks for the link.
        It is a bit different form what I was looking for. It should be an adjustment which only mitigates the dirty air when following another car. And any driver can use it any time (but only useful when following another car).
        Thanks again for looking this up.

        1. @coldfly – So something like if a driver is within 1 second of the car in front they can increase the angle of the front wing? Similar to DRS for the front wing but without the zones. I think that would be much better than DRS or the front wing system the tried already.

  12. omarr-pepper
    16th April 2015, 6:30

    DRS should be placed in the shortest straights, or just before fast corners. It would require the bravest drivers to decide how long to keep it open before it is too late to turn.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      16th April 2015, 11:30

      DRS closes automatically when touching the breaks.

  13. I like Boullier’s confidence in the car and engine package they have for this year, but it would be better if he just stayed mum on a lot of target gains they hope to make per race weekend. Mclaren has a reputation for foot in the mouth situations, and it would be better if they just kept their heads down and showed a glimpse of their potential when they reach Barcelona.

    If they have any weekend with poor reliability or poor pace, they will have a lot of explaining to do. So I think it’s better to not make statements like ‘half a second per race weekend’ .

  14. I agree on most of the points made in COTD however, in my personal opinion, I think that tere are different type of fans with different demands and viewpoints. I personally am quite neutal on DRS as I loathe whe ntee is an easy overtake due to the system but on on the other side I love when it allows a car to get very close and ‘attempt’ the move.

    I remember in the pre – DRS days, some section of the fans were complaining about boring races and how it is difficul to follow cars closely and hence many were demanding a drop in downfoce levels.

    Now in the DRS era, we see some section of fans complaining about ow ‘easy’ it as become to overtake. I agree that overtaking has becoming easy in certain races however, it’s not always straightforward to calculate the “right” DRS zone.

    Although we remember some great overtakes from the pre-DRS as mentioned but let’s not forget that we’ve also seen some great overtakes in the DRS era (when they’ve got the zone correctly, ofcourse) like Bahrain 2014.

    *It’s just a personal view so don’t blast on me :)

    1. There was a problem with slower cars holding up faster ones. Driving a wide car to gain points is fine. However, there were some cars that just were not in a ‘real’ race with the car behind them. Blue flags didn’t apply, but most people would say that too many top drivers were not fighting with each other because nobody could work their way thru the field if they qualified poorly or had a bad start or if they spun in a corner.

      I am not a huge fan of DRS but I would rather have a boring DRS pass rather than watching Perez hold off/up Hamilton for a whole stint of 20laps while Nico and Vettel are alone in front.

  15. Melchior (@)
    16th April 2015, 7:47

    Congrats to Dan Ricciardo for winning the Laureus award.

    1. @melchior: Yeah, a big shout out to Ricciardo…

      If it was Lewis, oh boy, this blog would be flooded with praises and comparisons with Senna to Schumacher…

  16. Regarding DRS, I also not a fan of artificial pass, however I don’t think removing DRS is the solution. I prefer to rework the moving aero ban rule. Instead of specifying which part, how much, and when they can be used (DRS), I want for each team to have freedom in implementing their moving aero. What should be restricted instead is it can’t be computer/automatic controlled so it has to be driven activated. Either on/off switch or hold to activate button. Usage is unlimited at the track.

    To keep the cost low, maybe it can only use 1 actuator that FIA supplied, so essentially the team can try to build complex expensive aero, but it wont worth the extra weight or space needed without extra/more powerful actuators. Other method is still banned (F-Duct, mass damper?, FRIC?)

    After all, they want road car relevance, and all supercars now has active aero as standard.

  17. I’ve had an idea for a while for an alternative to DRS. I wonder what you guys think about it.

    Let all drivers take a shortcut on the track (one that makes the lap +/-2 seconds quicker) for instance 5 times each race. And they get to choose when they take it. It could be used to get into clear air, or simply overtaking another guy (provided be doesn’t use it himself.

    1. Hey look, Bernie figured out how to use the F1Fanatic comments section

      1. Willem Cecchi (@)
        16th April 2015, 11:40


  18. Re: DRS
    While I do not support easy DRS passes, I’d like to pint out a crucial fallacy in many anti-DRS arguments. Yes, there are very nice overtakes on Youtube from “good old years”. However, these outtakes represent only a very special selection from hundreds of hours of F1 boredom that was also going on at that time. If you really want to know how pre-DRS formula felt, watch whole GP’s.

    I agree with the opinion that just getting rid of DRS is not enough without other changes to regulations. I’d prefer restrictions on aero (flat floor all the way to the front, smaller front wing with less elements) coupled with wider tyres.

  19. Just like a lot of other F1 fanatics, I have been pretty impressed by the WEC lately. The more I get to know about this championship, the more I like it.

    However, F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport. It has the best drivers in the world and great rivalries between them. It is unpredictable – before this season, no one expected that Ferrari would be able to win a race on merit so soon. F1 has awesome technology, it just fails to tell the world about it. The sport still has a lot of those things that made me fall in love with it many years ago – the glamour, the drama, the controversy, the passion. F1 is still amazing.

    Unfortunately our sport has run into problems that have to be solved. Keith and the other contributors of the article on redbull.com are right as there are a lot of things that F1 could and should adapt from the WEC. Technological diversity, no gimmicks, lower ticket prices and a more approachable paddock are only a few examples. But I believe that F1 still has all the ingredients to be the best sport in the world, it just needs strong leaders to put them together.

  20. The thing I’d point out about the DRS argument is that the problem with overtaking been overly difficult was already getting better before DRS was introduced.

    In 2010 when refueling was banned there was already a big spike in on-track overtaking with 2010 featuring the highest average of overtakes than any season since 1989. Overtaking stats went down in 1994 when refueling was introduced & went back upto those levels when refueling was banned.
    Even Bahrain in 2010 which people perceive as having no overtakes featured 24 which was the most seen on that circuit since 2006/2007.

    Then looking forward consider that for 2011 the F-duct (Which helped make overtaking harder at Abu-Dhabi 2010) was been banned as was the double diffuser which had counteracted a lot of what the 2009 aero changes were designed to do.
    And of course 2011 was also seeing the introduction of the High-deg Pirelli tyres which as several drivers have said since 2011 have done far more to improve the racing than DRS.

    Also then look beyond 2011. There was real changes coming for 2014 with regards to changes to the cars which likely would have made the racing even better, That been ground effects & some reductions on downforce. On top of that the owners of the Abu-Dhabi circuit were looking at making changes to the circuit in the name of improving the racing.

    However now that we have DRS those proposed changes have all been scrapped & there is now no incentive to do anything else & to me that is by far the biggest problem. DRS has given them an easy/lazy solution & now nobody see’s the point of even looking at making changes to reduce downforce & improve the racing, In fact all the talk recently has been more downforce & then relying on DRS more.

    Finally F1 using it is one thing but now that its tricking down to spec series like WSBR & GP2 where the emphasis should be on teaching the kids how to race, Honing there racecraft & overtaking skills should be a much bigger worry than it seems to be.
    The racing in GP2 in particular was always fantastic & was always a series where the real racers & those who were the best overtakers stood out above the rest. Introducing DRS into GP2 just to copy F1 is just silly & will likely hurt the racing in the series which many have loved for 10 years & coudl also create a series of younger drivers who never learn how to overtake without DRS which may not be an issue if they get to F1 but most of them now end up in series that don’t have DRS.

    1. However now that we have DRS those proposed changes have all been scrapped & there is now no incentive to do anything else & to me that is by far the biggest problem.

      Completely agree & that is a point I myself have made a number of times the past couple years.

      The teams & F1 in general seem to believe that DRS is working perfectly & for as long as that is the view they have then as has already said by people in F1 like Paddy Lowe they no longer see a need to look at making any other changes.

      One thing that has constantly frustrated & angered me about the way DRS has been run is that they always seem to put it where there was already overtaking. The longest straght at Shanghai, Montreal & Spa which were always places where we got a lot of overtaking without DRS so the addition of DRS usually makes the passing too easy.
      If they only put DRS in places where overtaking was not quite possible before (The back straght at Montreal, The run to the final corner at Bahrain for instance) then perhaps we woudl not see so much of the easier passes.

      DRS should be an assist & not the thing that creates the pass so putting it on the longest straights where we get overtaking regardless & where DRS does generate passes rather than assist them always seemed real dumb to me.

  21. I am not an anti-DRS but must admit that COTD was a compelling case. Still the pragmatic in me says that DRS might have a place in tracks like Monaco that overtaking is extremely difficult, but for instance in a track like Bahrain or Spa which has plenty of overtakes anyway is ruining rather than helping the show.

  22. Well-deserved trophy for Ricciardo, it’s a damn shame that the team mate he overshadowed last year is now getting all the praise for having moved into the right seat at the right time, while Ricciardo’s stuck with a car that’s probably about as horrible as last year’s Ferrari, which makes him look bad in comparison. There’s no justice in F1, ever.

    1. Eh! It is still possible to shine in a bad situation. Which is what Ricciardo should be doing currently. Also Vettel earned the spot with 4 WDC’s to his name. Didn’t come through lucky draw.

      Ricciardo reaped the benefits of a good car last year and Vettel jumped into the unknown this year, going to a car/team he beat in the years he won his WDC and who were worse than RB at that point. If there was justice, Alonso wouldn’t be stuck on 2 WDC for years now.

      That’s just how it works. You make most of the situation you are in, be it a WDC winning car or a dog (like Alonso in 2012).

  23. On human rights:
    “Formula One has committed itself to respecting human rights in Bahrain and other countries in which it conducts business”
    Well, that’s just cheap talk. It doesn’t get any more meaningless than putting a few big words in your mouth, but doing nothing to effect these “ideals”.
    Right now, countries like Bahrain serve as a cash cow for Ecclestone & the gang, and F1 boosts Bahrain’s return to return the favour. It doesn’t improve a damn thing with this horse trade, but probably only makes things worse for those who won’t put up with a discriminatory oppressive regime. Those people get arrested (or killed, until about 4 years ago) in the weeks before Bernie’s Flying Circus arrives, because Bahrain wants the world to see a shiny, sparkly, “clean and well-organised” (if there’s ever been an indispensable dictatorship-putting-on-a-friendly-face buzzword, it has to be this one) Arabian Nights-themed racefest in a country without visible poverty or political tensions.

    The FIA doesn’t even try to be the thorn in any autocratic regime’s side. Instead, they’re letting an amoral subcontractor sell off F1’s good reputation to states in desperate need of image improvement, such as UAE, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, or Russia, who have the follwing ranks in the 2014 Democracy Index: 152, 148, 147, 144, and 132 out of 167 ranked nations. Just for comparison: Cuba is 127th, Iraq 111th. Oh, and every single one of those F1 venues has dropped in the ranking since its first edition in 2006: UAE from 150 to 152, Azerbaijan from 129 to 148, Bahrain from 123 to 147, China from 138 to 144, and Russia from 102 to 132.
    Just look at all these intrinsic values that inevitably that seep into those countries that host F1 races. Great job, FIA!

    1. *… and F1 boosts Bahrain’s reputation in return …

    2. Bernie is a vampire, and blood money just tastes better.

      1. I don’t think it’s a matter of taste. Bernie doesn’t care about quality, more is what he wants.

  24. Many of my opinions regarding DRS have already been made by others so I won’t repeat them other than saying how I believe that it has hurt the racing & that the passing it does produce is usually less exciting due to how easy it looks. What I will add to the discussion is that a big part of the problem I have with DRS is that its not the best solution to the problem of overtaking been harder than it ideally could be.

    The best solution would obviously be to come up with a rule package on car design/aero that encourages good, close, competitive racing & proper & exciting overtaking without the need for any kind of artificial gimmick.

    However failing that what they should have done instead of DRS is an Indycar style P2P system. That system is far fairer, It produces far better, much closer & more competitive & exciting racing than DRS does because tweaking P2P can be done much easier from race to race to ensure that the boost it gives is enough to work as an assist without making things so easy that its producing the pass (As DRS does).
    Also given how P2P can be used to attack or defend & how its totally upto the drivers when/where they use it through a race to attack/defend its much more in the drivers hands & you tend to get more strategic use of it through a race from driver to driver which makes things interesting.

    I’ve always felt that DRS was something that was introduced purely because it was quick & easy to implement & that it was done without the the other, better alternatives such as P2P been properly discussed.
    I suggest that its time that those in F1 have a proper debate & look at all the solutions rather than just sticking with DRS & spreading DRS down to the lower categories, There are alternatives that are better than DRS & its time to look at them before we get to a point where F1 is so reliant on DRS that it becomes harder to remove.

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