Baku will be a high-speed Singapore – Whiting

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: FIA race director Charlie Whiting expects the new Baku street circuit to be like a high-speed version of Singapore.

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F1 is bringing back ‘big aero’ – but just how much quicker will the cars be?

I think they may actually have underestimated the gains that will be had here just targeting five seconds. From 2013 to 2014 we lost about five seconds from a combination of weight, aero and harder tyres and they’ve been making up about one second a year of that within the same rules.

These changes would seem to allow more aero than they had in 2013, more mechanical grip and the power units are being developed as well.

This year I realistically expect a dry pole position around Barcelona of 1’22, maybe even into the 1’21, next year I think we’re going to be very close to the mid-2000s times of 1’14-1’15 provided the tyres don’t turn out to be an absolute disaster. I don’t envisage anything that’s going to make following and passing any easier though, more mechanical grip sure, but unless they make them less prone to graining and thermal degradation it’s going to be the same old tyre-nursing fare we already get.
Philip (@Philipgb)

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On this day in F1

Alain Prost led a McLaren one-two in the Monaco Grand Prix 30 years ago today, despite losing his advantage from pole position to Ayrton Senna at the start of the race. Senna followed the second McLaren of Keke Rosberg home.

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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...

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53 comments on “Baku will be a high-speed Singapore – Whiting”

  1. If only Jenson could add a few more of those 1st hats to his collection. :(

  2. Being honest, and I know I might get grilled for this but the Baku circuit looks pretty cool. I know the country does not have much racing prestige but maybe this a good way to breed it, make it more popular in a ‘new’ country.

    Also the idea of the ‘tightest’ corner in formula 1 does have its appeal. Furthermore I think it will be classed with Monaco and Singapore, it has a similar layout and year on year those tracks are always highly rated so who knows, this may be the case for Baku.

    1. @khanistanf1 Its always hard to tell from CG renders & images before all the barriers etc… are up; But I have to say that based on what I have seen so far I do agree with you that the circuit looks like its going to be pretty cool.

      Like most street circuits it has its fair share of slow, tight & narrow corners…. But it also has some fast & interesting sections & it looks like there are going to be several places where overtaking should be possible.

      I think in general a lot of fans are too hasty to dismiss new circuits, Especially those that are in new locations & while I’m not going to deny that there have been some average to rubbish additions over the past decade, I also think some of the newer circuits get unfairly criticized just because there new, Are in place of ‘traditional’ venues and/or have Tilke’s name on the design papers. For example A lot of fans were hating on Istanbul Park right up until everyone saw cars on track & realized that it was actually a very good circuit & The same was true with COTA.

      Maybe this Baku circuit will prove to be rubbish, Maybe it won’t….. I just wish more fans would go into it open minded rather than deciding its all going to be awful just because its new, a street circuit, Has had Tilke near it & in a new country.

      1. Exactly my thoughts. I’m really looking forward to Baku because it seems to be something different. Also knowing how FIA dumbs down modern circuits for the sake of safety that’s cool to see a track with that narrow and unconventional part.
        Also despite I still think F1 should stick to european tracks (just realized Baku race is European Gran Prix Т_Т) , I also don’t mind a little bit of diversity. If Azerbaijanis are able to hold a decent event and the track is great, why not? F1 can always leave a country if something goes wrong as we saw with ROK and India.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th May 2016, 6:22

      Also the idea of the ‘tightest’ corner in formula 1 does have its appeal. Furthermore I think it will be classed with Monaco and Singapore

      Those 2 street circuits are rated highly for quite different reasons. @khanistanf1
      Monaco would be the lowest rated race if the turns were ‘numbers’ and other visual cues ‘randomised’.
      Singapore is actually a fairly good race with more overtaking/racing opportunities than first expected.

      @khanistanf1, my main issue with Baku is the fact that it is a typical Bernie solution of reducing historical races in Europe and replacing it with a money driven show from Asia. (He would have had my full support if Sochi would be replaced or alternated with Baku)

    3. @khanistanf1 :D well I support your position. Track looks good. Epic high speed street circuit. What more could we want from race in some “tilke prone” country.

      Imagine we would have a Tilkedrom with series of unnatural offcamber corners and then some stop and go, with chicane to “promote” overtaking.

      Street circuit then seems very promising.

  3. That presentation of Baku reminds me of Gran Turismo’s R246 track. It does look like it may only have a couple of places for over taking and that they will be very power dependent. I can see Haas bringing home another good result here if they gain track position.

    1. @philipgb Haas is on Ferrari power so maybe if it’s raining. I guess the spanish were nicknaming Verstappen the “Rebellion Bull”

      1. @peartree

        And the Ferrari unit is typically pretty good for power and top end speed. They’re going to be ahead of Red Bull, Renault, Torro Rosso and McLaren in the speed trap I suspect and with Grosjean’s recent efforts of keeping cars behind I think that bodes well if they can wrangle track position through pit stops or a safety car.

        1. @philipgb Ferrari was by far the worst engine of 2014. Renault cost themselves in 2015, gifting Ferrari the 2nd spot, that said Ferrari did fix their PU but in 2016 the Ferrari PU seems not be quite yet ready to run at full power. Considering how slow Ferrari engines run in Russia I can’t see them doing better on a street Monza. Considering the power sensitivity, the pecking order could be as follows

          Haas? so 11th?

          1. @peartree

            2015 and 2016 Ferrari was nip and tuck with Mercedes for power. Last year Ferrari were above Mercedes on the Monza speed trap. Williams and Lotus with their slippier aero were above Ferrari still but Ferrari were still above the works team.

            And wasn’t Haryanto the only driver above Ferrari power units in Russia?

          2. @philipgb No that’s not factual. DRS speed numbers can put a honda on the top 5. You mustn’t forget that with less drag you can make up for speed on the straights whilst losing out on the ideal downforce levels. Kimi was unable to defend from Bottas on the restart because of their deficit towards Mercedes. Mercedes like Bmw in the early 00’s can easily raise the angle on the rear wing and still be quicker in tracks like Monza.

  4. Cool logo

  5. On the subject of the Azerbaijan (sorry, European) GP, I will be on holiday in Austin that weekend. My hotel has cable but not sure if that includes NBSN. Does anyone know if there are any bars where I can watch the race bearing in mind that it is on at 7am? Failing that, do they show a replay later on the Sunday afternoon? I haven’t missed a race for 22 years, not keen to miss this one! Cheers.

    1. Will you have Internet? Look at /r/formula1 and have a look there for streams.

    2. If you can make it out to COTA (15-20 minutes from downtown by car) I believe they have a watching party out there.

    3. @Matt 8 am CT.

  6. maarten.f1 (@)
    11th May 2016, 4:20

    I love how whenever someone makes a 3D simulation of some Formula One thing the cars are actually able to follow each other in close racing, making it much more exciting than the real thing ever will be.

    1. They also for some strange reason dont use the v6 vacum cleaner sound ;)

  7. They got a very interesting (wrong!) starting light procedure at Baku. Countdown Lights.

    1. Hah good spot! I was waiting for a Green Light, but totally missed the wrong red lights!

  8. Ocon seems to be getting some good running with F1 machinery before he enters the sport. Being the reserve driver for 2 constructor teams on a 2 day test in Barcelona shows that this guy is on the radar as hot property for 2017.

    If I was Joylon Palmer, I’d be under a mountain of pressure right now. Hypothetically, if Rosberg or Hamilton do not want to stay at Mercedes in 2017, Ocon might be on their radar for #2 driver, and that will leave Renault out of options for 2017. So Renault might decide to pull a Red Bull and replace Palmer with Ocon just to ensure he’s contracted with a drive for a few seasons.

    Also interesting to see that Rosberg and Ocon will be at the Barcelona test. Surprised Lewis Hamilton just sat this one out. After his disastrous start to the season, I’d expect him to at least try and take this test, just to reduce Nico’s time in the car.

    1. @todfod I can’t remember the time one driver drove for two factory teams in the same weekend.

    2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      11th May 2016, 8:15

      @todfod I agree that Palmer is under threat, I wrote an article on this two days ago:

      1. Interesting piece @william-brierty, thanks.

    3. lockup (@)
      11th May 2016, 9:19

      I am nervous for Palmer. My memory of him in GP2 is that he typically fell back when it rained, which suggests his raw talent isn’t quite up there. I hope he gets a long enough run with this new floor to show what he’s got, at least, before the team makes any decisions.

      1. I think they should give him time till the end of the European season, that’s when the transfer market really starts getting active, and by then they should have at least offered Ocon a contract for 2017, or a drive for 2016 to guarantee the deal

        1. Makes sense @todfod. I guess they still have enough experience in the team to know what they’re looking for, so we just have to hope. Jolyon needs to beat KMag, by the look of things.

      2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        11th May 2016, 11:32

        @lockup Equally, Palmer was always very quick in Monaco – THE driver’s circuit. I don’t think he’s been any less impressive than his GP2 dueling partner, Felipe Nasr, albeit nor will he ever be a talent of the calibre of Ocon.

        Thanks for checking out my new blog, be sure to check back there soon, I’ve thought of some great features you guys might be interested in.

  9. Despite financial problems Azerbaijan did not cut their F1 PR budget…

    1. The people with financial problems aint the ones hosting the GP. They will probably round up and shove away those people well before the GP. All the VIPs can have an representable experience in their bubbleworld.

  10. It was really interesting to read that article about the work Williams did with University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, particularly as myy wife will be giving birth to our first child there in just over 2 months time. :)

    1. @geemac Congratulations.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th May 2016, 9:23

      Congrats to you and your wife, @geemac.
      Good to see that somebody is actively growing the F1 fan base.

      1. Indeed. He’ll be a F1 fanatic before he knows it…hopefully.

    3. Congratulations @geemac

  11. Anyone who finds him/herself surprised by the level of attention being paid by investors to F1’s proposed sale, needs to have his/her head examined, moreso anyone who offers to purchase a product the custodian has recently spent the better part of his time condemning.
    Glad to see Joe Saward saying it as it is. Eventually, CVC and co may be compelled to dump or abandon their hen which has lost every capacity to lay any more golden eggs.
    Until then, everyone is holding onto their cash.
    It’s a waiting game.

  12. ColdFly F1 (@)
    11th May 2016, 9:31

    Tata – The hen might not be gaining weight, nobody might want to buy the hen, the hen might be picking on the chicks….., but the hen’s owners still have their daily golden egg for breakfast and can feed their daughters those eggs with silver spoons.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th May 2016, 9:32

      supposed to be response to the post above.

  13. I like Adam Parr’s response to that Joe Saward article:

  14. Baku track looks promising and yet more variety to the calendar. Some will be sad as they want every race to be set on a track in the middle of European fields or in a country which does not offend the West but Switzerland does not have 1 track so no way to have all 21 races there.

  15. Mustavo Gaia
    11th May 2016, 13:41

    Baku will bring us the big really dangerous crash of the season, and possibly the damage of historical relevant buildings. good(?!)

    1. Yeah damage to all the historical buildings like all the races in Monaco where the casino gets trashed by a crashing car amongst other buildings and Singapore where buildings are destroyed by F1 cars crashing every year?

      1. lol… nice one mate…

  16. I can predict that safety car is going to be a regular presence in this GP…

  17. ColdFly F1 (@)
    11th May 2016, 15:30

    Just found out that Heineken will enter F1 as a sponsor. Good Sponsor (based CL and other initiatives).

    Unfortunately initially most money will go to Bernie (track side sponsorship) with only an opportunity for teams to pitch for an additional sponsorship tie-up.

    1. Alcohol and fast cars. Nostalgic though as I remember when Fosters (if you class that as beer) sponsored Grand Prix in the early 90’s, Labbats on the Williams. Will they replace the champagne on the podium with cans of beer? Beer is cheaper then champagne so it saves costs, maybe they can bring testing back if they do this.

    2. How would they advertise in the no-alcohol advertisement countries or no-alcohol countries??

  18. Alcohol, energy drinks, that is the new tobacco.

    But back on racing, 30 extra bhp, certainly that is enough to cause worry right?

    How down on power was Renault?

    30 seems great in stable regs.

  19. Guys comming up… Lewis Hamilton Interview on Graham Bensinger

  20. I don’t like this track.

    1. A bit of explanation on ‘why’ would be good though..

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