Bottas ‘saw Button too late’ in pit crash – Smedley

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Williams head of performance Rob Smedley says the team did not make a mistake when it released Valtteri Bottas before he collided with Jenson Button.


Comment of the day

Alonso felt very strongly about his penalty and so did several of you in the comments – but others sided with the stewards:

In the video you can see Alonso move right, he was trying cross the path of the Sauber, but there wasn’t enough room, so a contact with the Sauber was inevitable. There wasn’t any reason why the McLaren needed to move right. There was a Ferrari on the right of the Sauber, so there wasn’t any way he could avoid the McLaren.
Stephen Crowsen (@Drycrust)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Anirudh, Daniel and Mark Stevenson!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to former Ferrari driver Mika Salo who is 49 today.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

32 comments on “Bottas ‘saw Button too late’ in pit crash – Smedley”

  1. I agree with Toto Wolff, driverless series is not a sport although I do not think that Formula E is much of a sport itself. The organisers’ obsession with FanBoost proves that they do not care if the best driver or team wins, it is all about the show. I do not watch it but I see why it might be fun. However, I cannot see the point of watching driverless cars compete, maybe it would be interesting to see that once but again and again? Come on…

    1. Maybe someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but FanBoost, although it can give an advantage, the car itself is limited in energy, thus not really useful. I say this because most of the car finished the race with almost no energy left.

    2. @girts Well from a technology point of view a driverless series offers a very very good platform to develop systems, think about it if engineers manage to perfect driving a car on the limit close to the walls, doing all the necessary steering and pedal inputs to keep the car pointing the right way all the time then driving around in the city will be a piece of cake!

      I really hope that even if the races are boring the organisers don’t cancel the series because the benefits could be huge for the consumer in the long term.

      1. @mantresx, on the contrary, I would argue that setting the car to drive around a circuit would be vastly easier than your typical urban environment – BMW and Audi, for example, have been showing off their autonomous cars around circuits for around four or five years now.

        A closed circuit is an extremely controlled and very simple environment to learn – there would be no pedestrians, no concerns about traffic coming in the opposite direction or traffic signalling systems and no need to dynamically alter a route depending on traffic conditions. All in all, it is such a simple environment that I cannot really see it altering the dynamics of self driving cars – it is too simplified to be of any real value in the real world.

    3. One could argue that F1 is not a sport — the participants don’t even break a sweat and need a shower at the end of the competition!
      Whatever you call it, I think driverless racing is crucially important to development and evolution of driverless cars… imagine NASCAR pack-racing without any crashes ever, then imagine that will be your morning rush-hour!

      1. One could argue that F1 is not a sport — the participants don’t even break a sweat and need a shower at the end of the competition!

        That might have something to do with the intense training regimen they all put themselves through. Plus what they do sweat is wicked away by their race suit.

    4. I think it’s a very different kind of sport, but if done correctly, should be considered a sport. “Engineering-as-a-sport” is something that’s actually really interesting to watch (Battlebots, anyone?) – but the rules have to be written to accommodate a tremendous amount of flexibility, because then the “sport” is in how the problem is solved under whatever restrictions are provided.

      If the end result is simply “folks show up, driverless cars go around the track”, then that sucks. If the end result is seeing engineering teams solve problems under extreme constraints, and you can actually watch that process happen, then it’s hugely entertaining and eye-opening – particularly watching as a kid.

      When I was like, 8, I saw a TV show about MIT’s 2.70 competition, where people make robots to compete in challenges as part of a class. That seared itself into my brain, and my goal became to get into that class, which fostered a love of science, engineering, and problem-solving. But it wasn’t just watching the robots. It was watching the people design and build the robots.

      Make a driverless racing series a driving force behind a show that documents the developments of the cars and the teams behind them, and the races would be hugely engaging to watch as a result.

  2. I’m normally a fan of Smedley and he often speaks sense, but :

    We released him at the right point but unfortunately he saw the McLaren too late

    It’s just nonsense, the whole point of having the safe release rules is so that the driver doesn’t have to see the guy he’s just pulled out in front of. What was Bottas supposed to do if he had seen Button – he was released directly into him. Sometimes teams just need to admit they made a mistake otherwise their comments make them look even more foolish than the incident already did.

    1. Smedley has talked a lot of nonsense lately, not a big fan of him!

    2. What was Bottas supposed to do if he had seen Button

      Smedley probably expected Bottas to brake and move over behind Button!
      That just shows how stupid Smedley’s remark was. They should release him in a way that he doesn’t need to brake, but can go straight to pit lane speed limit and focus on the race.

    3. I agree that Smedley’s talking total rot – however I do think that the combination of 2 cars in line and that the second car was due to pit directly in front of the Williams pit combined to create the problem. I suspect that Bottas was released at the pre-calculated correct time if the second car was exiting the pits or was to pit further down the pitlane. It was a combo of Button cutting across Bottas’s path (quite legally of course) and slowing as he did so that caused the coming together. I’m sure if it was just Button then the release guy would have clocked the situation and held Bottas for a fraction longer – tough situation to get right in just a couple of seconds.

    4. True, when the green light is switched on, the driver goes, no questions asked. But in this case, Bottas had enough space – it was just it happened to be a McLaren that then slowed down and turned in for its pitbox that sealed the collision. Maybe next time Williams should check it the approaching car(s) have already pitted or not…

  3. F1 drivers don’t seem capable of donuts. Especially if you watched ROC Skills Challege, you would know what I’m talking about. Last night the only one resembling a donut was Rosberg’s donut. They really looked like scrawly “I love you mom”s more than anything else. Vettel should do a donut workshop.

    1. I think Vettel also did some, but the TV feed didn’t catch it.

    2. The one time I had an empty car park and attempted it myself it looked a lot like the F1 drivers trying to do it.

      Some cars just aren’t balanced right for it. Mid-engined, short wheelbase, sticky tyres and geometry designed for grip make it hard to get any rotation from the front tyres while breaking traction at the rear so it just snaps round and pivots on you. When a driver does manage it it’s a fluke.

  4. is it just me or does Ricciardo look older than Button in that tweet?

    1. Yep, I think it is because of the mustache

    2. Now Buttons put a bit of weight back on he doesn’t look as old and sickly as last year.

  5. Of all the penalty given on Abu Dhabi, the one I most disagree is Bottas penalty. For me it should be drive thru penalty. Yes, Bottas already lose a lot and ruined his race, and yes it’s mostly the pit crew fault, however unsafe release is a serious safety problem and last night we almost saw the worst case scenario. It’s not hard to imagine a totally different outcome if he hit Button hard enough to make the McLaren spins into the people, or some debris hit people around. Remember while the pit crew themselves is moderately protected, there are unprotected people in the pits too.

  6. What seb doesn’t understand having never had to have a really bad car is there is a skill to being lapped without losing much time yourself.

    Fernando didn’t nothing wrong at all, if he or anyone thinks he didn’t they don’t really understand racing.

    1. What seb doesn’t understand having never had to have a really bad car

      Didn’t he start with Minardi?

      1. @raceprouk, strictly speaking, he started his career when Red Bull loaned him to BMW-Sauber as a replacement test driver when Kubica replaced Villeneuve in 2006.

        That arrangement gave him the opportunity to drive the F1.06 in free practise sessions that year, an arrangement that continued into 2007 (hence why he replaced Kubica in the US GP that year). In that sense, it could be argued that Vettel’s first taste of an F1 car was more of a midfield entry – BMW finished 5th in the WCC that year – whilst the F1.07 that Vettel drove the following year was the third best car in the field.

        1. I forgot about the Williams link. Still, he did drive for Minardi at one point, though I think they’d been rebranded Toro Rosso by then.

          1. yes and back then torro rosso was a decent car, had the same chassis as redbull, Adrian newey designed if I recall correctly

          2. @sm

            yes and back then torro rosso was a decent car, had the same chassis as redbull, Adrian newey designed if I recall correctly

            And Red Bull weren’t any good back then. 6th in the constructors, with just 1 podium in a race with high attrition rates. Only with the 2009 rule changes did Newey designs start to reap rewards for Red Bull.

            “Decent” is a vague and relative term. A 2015 Mclaren is “decent” compared to Manor, or a GP2 car, despite Alonso’s claims to the contrary. Doesn’t make it decent compared to most of the 2015 field. Just as Toro Rosso might have been “decent” compared to Spyker, but poor compared to most of the 2007 field.

    2. What seb doesn’t understand having never had to have a really bad car

      Try the 2007 Toro Rosso which Vettel still took to 4th place.

      1. wasn’t the 2007 torro rosso decent?

        1. No, it finished 8th in the constructors. Officially 7th because Mclaren were disqualified.

  7. Its the teams responsibility for a safe release. Some one please clue in the “head of performance”.
    What a joke.

  8. It seems that almost every race, Williams come up with new, ever more crazier ways to screw up their drivers races. Aren’t Symonds and Smedley supposed to be hugely experienced? So why does the team make such daft mistakes over and over again?

  9. Williams has easily been the biggest disappointment of the year.

    Before the season I had thought they had a shot at a race victory or two, but they have gone backwards throughout the entire season.

    No team, not least one with so much experience, should be making such pathetic errors, and their drivers haven’t exactly been stars this year. Constant mistakes in the pit lane, a car which only performs well at half the tracks, drivers who are decent but not spectacular, the list is long.

  10. I think the release was safe. They just had not factored what put box the McLaren was headed.
    Had it been another team there wouldn’t have been any problem.

Comments are closed.