New Monza asphalt “not F1 standard” – Alonso

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso criticises the resurfacing work at Monza following F1’s disrupted qualifying session.

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Is it right for Formula One Management to have hired Pat Symonds?

Does anyone else feel uncomfortable about the sport endorsing Pat Symonds, the man behind Crashgate?

Same for the links between Alonso and Briatore, one would think that Alonso should’ve cut ties with a man who put him in an awkward position. Maybe I’m being harsh but I think it ruins the integrity of the sport as a whole and makes me wonder what else has been swept under the carpet.
Joshua Howie (@Howie987)

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Keith Collantine
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35 comments on “New Monza asphalt “not F1 standard” – Alonso”

  1. If my memory serves me correctly, it seems odd to me that they resurfaced the home straight at Monza a few years ago, and have then done it twice more since. Normally permanent circuits don’t get resurfaced for many years, and most places tend to do the whole circuit when they do it.

    However, I disagree with Steiner. I think Grosjean is an excellent driver but he does have a tendency to crash / make mistakes in the wet, and you only have to listen to his throttle application to know it was his fault. He floored it before he had finished catching the initial slide

    1. Also, I have noticed that in the past few years (since Bianchi’s crash, basically) the director always switches the camera away from a live accident. I don’t know what they take the audience for, but as somebody who watches to see the drama unfold live I really find it quite pathetic and it ruins the excitement a lot. In this case we watched Grosjean hit the wall and then the camera changed to something else as if to pretend it hadn’t happened.

      1. @strontium There isn’t a policy to switch away from an accident in progress, Today it was just unfortunate timing that the director called for another shot just before Romain came into shot sideways.

        The only policies regarding covering accidents that FOM have is that in the event of a serious accident they like to hold off on a replay until they have word that the driver/s involved are fine & they will stay away from close shots of accident scenes if they get word that a serious injury is involved.

        Wanting to stay away from showing close shots of drivers been extracted from the car & treated goes back to how the host broadcaster (RAI) handled the various accident at Imola in 1994. Sid Watkins was furious that they had the TV helicopter hovering overhead going for close shots of drivers been treated, He found it especially difficult with Ayrton Senna as he really didn’t want the world to see the extent of his injuries. To avoid that it’s now felt that its best to stick with wide shots and/or just not show the accident scene at all.

        In the US for Indycar coverage it’s actually a pretty similar policy although as seen with the fatal accidents of Dan Wheldon & Justin Wilson they are willing to show replays although not straight away & after very careful consideration & they stick to shots that don’t show things in too much detail (For instance an in-car replay from Dan Wheldon’s car does exist that is live until the camera on the roll bar is wiped out by the fence, It was decided not to show it publicly).

        1. Actually thinking about it in 2000 after the 2nd chicane accident at Monza the local RAI director again went with helicopter shots of the fatally injured track worker on the floor/been treated behind the barriers.

          We initially took that shot for the F1 Digital+ broadcast not knowing about the track worker (We had only got word that all drivers were fine with no mention of anyone else involved), As soon as we became aware that somebody else was involved we stayed away from showing the scene…. The local RAI director handling the world feed went back to that shot more than once.

        2. after watching Bianchi’s accident, i can understand them not showing any serious accident until they know people are okay.

      2. I think on this occasion, the camera director was seeing too many things going on at the same time to correctly select the most important one. Romain heading for the wall was a “corner-of-the-eye” movement for me, and I was only watching one screen. Camera directors typically have a screen for every possible camera, so if the screen showing them the camera for the next shot was a long way from the screen with the current shot… …I could see how the error was made.

        On this occasion, I’m more inclined to think it was error than policy, though the standing policy certainly wouldn’t have encouraged the camera director to linger either.

  2. These lower-team guys really should know their place, but teams nowadays defend their drivers carelessly because of the massive sponsorship they bring. But this Grosjean discussion is laughable, weren’t their 18 other drivers on the track?

    It has to stop. You know what Charlie should do? He should sit down with Grosjean and tell him: ”Maldonado, didn’t get banned, Kvyat, didn’t get banned, Verstappen crashed a lot less then you, Stroll is starting to out-perform you as same-reputation prospect, and at Renault they will even keep Palmer or get the man that does everything better then you with one arm. So where do you find the courage to keep badmouthing this sport’s management or other drivers, or other suppliers?

    1. @xiasitlo

      weren’t their 18 other drivers on the track?

      Yes most of them also coming over the radio complaining about the same thing Romain was.

      Romain was the one that crashed but several others had near misses in the same place including Lewis Hamilton on his fastest lap to that point.

      In those conditions it was only a matter of time before somebody lost it there, It happened to be Grosjean but could have just as easily been any of the others especially given how conditions were getting worse.

      1. @gt-racer

        Romain was the only one that did actually crash. He’s at fault. You just need to drive slower. Simple as that.
        To compare, remember the Sepang ’15? Vettel, Fisi and Buemi spun off, and others were close. But there they did within 1 lap. And there three drivers spun off without a chance to recover. If that happened here I would’ve agreed but Grosjean is just truly whining.

        1. Sepang 2009* that was.

        2. Romain was the only one that did actually crash.

          IIRC last year Grosjean also crashed in wet conditions even before the actual race! (Brazil)

        3. @xiasitlo Not sure you understand motorsport much. You don’t drive slower as there will always be a guy not driving slower. And if you do you take a massive risk of being hit from behind with massive closing speed. Hence why too much standing water stops play, like it did yesterday. Common sense prevailed eventually but not before someone crashed and it could have been anyone in a straight line.

          1. @nickfrog For additional context, Romain said he didn’t brake because he was worried someone would hit the back of him (thus causing the same problem, in a different way, to the one he encountered).

        4. @xiasitlo Sepang 2009 happened across the course of two laps, because back then Race Control was slower to respond to this sort of thing. I know this because Fisi actually spun on two consecutive laps* (he got back onto the track after the first one, but was beached on the second one). After that, Race Control instituted a “stricter” policy, where they tend to wait for one person to prove the conditions aren’t fit and then stop the session. In short, that was the race that prompted them to stop races according to the ability the drivers in front of them displayed that day, rather than an attempted objective standard of skill expectation.

          * – This was due to putting on wet tyres 4 laps before the conditions were compatible with this; he was on the out-lap with cold intermediates at the point the rain struck.

    2. Jules, I think you are being a bit harsh on Grosjean … yes he has become a moaner (about brakes, other cars, other drivers) and yes his team mate is starting to outperform him but his comments yesterday about the conditions were probably justified, true he was the only driver to have an accident but several others came close.

      I am not sure though that it was down purely to the amount of water, in past years I have seen wetter qualifying and racing, I think that since Pirelli became the sole tyre provider for F1 the quality of their wet tyre has been questionable and now the new wider tyres clear so much water that anybody behind the lead car is driving in “fog”.

      1. Still you could hear Grossjean blip the throttle while he was aquaplaning. It was his own fault he spun off like that. He should have just let the car recover from the aquaplaning. Just like the other drivers did who had a moment of aquaplaning.

        1. What your heard was the car hiting the limiter when he crossed the white line. From that moment on he was a passanger

    3. The crash was Romain’s fault. Not because of anything he did in the incident itself, but because of the tactical error preceding it – he acknowledged it was too dangerous for him to continue and then didn’t pit.

      When a track gets into that bad a state, the correct move is to pit for two reasons. The safety reason is obvious and doesn’t need explanation, beyond that what is safe for one driver – especially at the extremes one expects to see when looking at supposedly the best drivers in the world – could very well be an unacceptable crash risk to another, even before considering different risk tolerance profiles.

      The second reason is that if conditions are too dangerous for you… …they’re probably too dangerous for at least some rivals. No driver is ever likely to consider themselves the single worst wet-weather driver in the field, and mathematically only one out of the field can be. Qualifying runs with yellow or red flags are no help to improving qualifying position. Better to pit, swap tyres if needed, and see if other drivers transition as badly as you feared you would.

      Worst-case scenario is that you are out of the session, which if your assessment is correct is what would happen anyway, except you don’t waste time, money and parts on crashing (or risk injury to anybody).

      In the best case, your car is safe, your tyres are fresh and warm, and you have a safer, clearer track, at the restart (it’s rare for F1 sessions to restart under full-wet conditions as the inter has such a broad operating window) where you’ll do faster times than you could have done had you continued anyway and have a less demanding benchmark than might have existed since you can now take advantage of one or more of your less-cautious rivals crashing.

  3. @Howie987 why would Alonso cut ties with the guy that got him not just to F1, but to a championship winning F1 car? and then he got him to a championship contender McLaren and then to a championship contender Ferrari.

    Sure Briatore isn’t the greatest guy out there, but he did a lot for Alonso over the years. Even just after FIA banned Briatore for life, at Singapore in 2009, Alonso dedicated his podium to him.

    As for Symonds, he’s an extremely capable guy. And Ross Brawn doesn’t have a lot of guys available with his talent and experience for his own Liberty sponsored team.

    1. Yeah, Mark Webber voiced his support for Flav in 09 as well.

      I’m not fan of Flav, but the fact that the drivers he’s represented over the years have stuck with him shows that he’s probably got more to him than what he puts out there. Both Flav and Pat were seasoned campaigners at that stage in 08, and they were under massive pressure to win, they cracked. It’s indefensible, but desperate times do lead people to do untoward things.

      Agree with what you say about Pat too.

    2. @fer-no65 I do get your points, but at the same time I would feel very uncomfortable with such decision. Very strange times we are living at. You got people who have brought the sport to disgrace through manipulation and corruption, stolen who knows how much from fans passion and a couple of years later are exonerated and put back on key position.
      For example, you have this guy called Moggi who was found guilty for football match fixing and what not. Banned for life from football in Italy. Since then he is even a greater celebrity, selling books and giving lectures on how to manage football!! and is president of a football team in Albania. This guy made a fortune through manipulation and is making more thanks to it after being exposed. I mean ….

    3. @fer-no65 Maybe it’s just personal taste, but for me Crashgate goes beyond any other cheating that has taken place in the sport and as a unique incident those behind it should have been sent far away from F1. However I do understand the personal conflict for the drivers, particularly Alonso

    4. I am not sure I agree with you on Briatore there @fer-no65, although I do get why Alonso doesn’t feel the need to cut ties to Flavio.

      As for Symonds, he indeed is a very capable guy. And he has clearly show that he regrets the whole affair. Not to mention that he did sit out his ban (even though the courts told the FIA they couldn’t actually ban him and Briatore). From what I understand he did quite worthwhile work on developing a military vehicle in between. Then he returned with Manor and helped them a lot to get the car in the good direction before working with Williams as well.

      I think that, much like with Ross Brawn himself, it makes sense to have a guy who exactly knows which angles the competitors will look at to game the system and find grey areas to exploit to work on the issues F1 has with the tech side. And I think Symonds can help with the DRS issue, with engine rules/penalties and even with the approach to stewarding. So yeah, I think he is a very good addition to the team.

      Briatore however didn’t bring a positive balance to the sport IMO. Nor to the world in general.

    5. No one should be involved with a cheat, regardless of what he might have done to help. That is why for example sponsors cut their ties with athletes that are caught cheating.

      Armstrong is a good example of that

    6. I’m not sure any of the Briatore-managed/formerly-managed drivers was fully convinced of the FIA’s version of events – I distinctly remember Jarno Trulli suggested at the time that Flavio wasn’t tactically capable of the role the FIA ascribed to him. Someone who isn’t really convinced an ally cheated probably is unlikely to treat them as a cheat unless forced to do so. The FIA overplayed its hand (by issuing penalties beyond those it was allowed to issue, on shaky investigation techniques) to the extent that it was forced to negotiate a settlement to maintain any penalty against Flavio or Pat whatsoever, which lost it the ability to demand anyone shun Flavio and Pat (beyond what was agreed with them) or otherwise treat them as cheats.

      The Code of Good Standing was instituted afterwards to prevent recurrences of this issue.

      Further, the FIA is an association based in the EU, and one of the fundamental principles of the EU is that punishing any sort of wrongdoer has to be limited to an extent fitting the offence. Having agreed a settlement, and all parties having abided by it, the Nelsinho Defence cannot be held against any of its participants in a professional context. If Flavio wanted to become FIA President tomorrow (he won’t, it doesn’t suit him in any way…) he could not be restricted from it in any way because his sentence is served. He’d lose because the law can’t legislate against voting preferences (for the record, I consider not wanting to associate with someone who never repented something that serious to be an excellent reason to vote for someone who at least tries to be ethical), and all at the FIA are aware he has no talent for such a role. Nothing else.

      Pat, on the other hand, is more than capable of the role being proposed for him, and is unlikely to be tempted towards the sort of problems that caused the Nelsinho Defence. He will do good work in this role. It is not because I think what he has done, or what he will do, will somehow “make up for” Singapore 2008. One cannot undo a specific bad thing by doing unrelated good things or vice versa, though it can turn a potential “questionable morality” general verdict to “usually sterling with occasional alarming blips under specific circumstances”. It is because more good – including possibly more moral good – would come from Pat being given the position than for someone with less understanding of what is needed to be given it.

    7. Naah, crashgate was nothing. Why should Alonso break ties with Briatore, he gave him a win that he never felt underserved.

  4. Romain is a fantastic driver and anybody that thinks so is a terrible person and terrible.

  5. All this talk about Mclaren divorcing Honda, I doubt they are splitting.

    The teams main goal is to keep Alonso, the whole thing with ditching Honda is a smokescreen…haha

    1. Marian Gri (@)
      3rd September 2017, 9:00

      Dunno if it’s a smoke screen, but I have doubts too they’ll get rid of Honda (so easy). The money Honda invest in McLaren must have some importance too, signing Renault meaning not only losing big money, but they’ll have to pay for that Renault engine with their own money. Then, is Renault really going to supply McLaren?! Did not pay much attention, but in yesterday’s interview A.Prost gave to Sky, if I got it right, Prost suggested indirectly that Renault do not really want to supply McLaren because they want to become champions too. It seemed to be the same reasoning why Mercedes and Ferrari do not want to supply RBR. Plus, Horner/RBR didn’t look happy either about the prospect of having a Renault powered McLaren and he said something about veto power in stopping Renault giving their engine to McLaren. Is McLaren in the worst situation since their foundation or what?!

  6. Agree with COTD. FOM aligning itself with people like Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds is like Tour de France having a deal with Lance Armstrong. Crashgate was one of the worst sporting scandals ever, and no matter how good the people behind it might be in their field, I think they should have the common sense to stay away from F1. Then again, common sense and F1 are rarely seen together…

  7. Ross brawn is considered a saint but he was around in all kinds of “situations” – at Bennetton (menu 13), at Ferrari (barge boards, ‘dirty air’) and most recently he signed of on the report about Bianchi’s death – with zero mentioning of how speeding under double yellow flags went unpunished for a long time, why there was a tractor or even why the race went ahead.

    “If you don’t get caught it ain’t cheating”, that’s F1

    1. Brawn wasnt working back in 2014.

      1. He wasn’t – the role given by Ross’s signature on the report was “former Team Principal of Mercedes F1 Team, Brawn Grand Prix and former Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari”. In other words, he was asked to look at the case based on his experience across the various team roles he had had up to that point, not because of the work he was doing at the time. He was not the only person involved in the report who didn’t have a specific job they were doing in motorsport at the time other than their membership of the panel in question. (And there I will leave it, to prevent myself from going on a rant).

    2. @verstappen, Ross Brawn was no more dishonest than most other team principals, since we know that other teams, such as McLaren, also had the software for traction control on their ECU’s (Ron Dennis admitted it and had to defend the team against questions from the press at the start of the 1994 season). He’s still carries far less baggage than somebody like Jos Verstappen though…

  8. @keithcollantine thanks for COTD! My first ever comment too, maybe I should quit while my record looks good :)

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