Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Singapore, 2018

‘DRS train’ thwarted Ricciardo’s attempts to pass Raikkonen – Horner

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo was unable to attempt to pass Kimi Raikkonen in Singapore because the Ferrari driver was also able to use DRS, says Christian Horner.

What they say

Horner explained Ricciardo’s strategy and why the ‘DRS train’ prevented him from being able to attack Raikkonen, who was close behind Valtteri Bottas.

The only option was to try and run longer, save his tyres in the first stint that he did. He then led the grand prix for four or five laps which would enable us to let him get onto the ultra-soft, the slightly quicker tyre, with 13 laps less on it than Sebastian [Vettel] had, for example.

And then he had great pace in the car. But catching was one thing, overtaking as we saw today was another. Especially with them in a DRS train with Bottas and Raikkonen, he could get up to the back of them very easily but couldn’t attack. So therefore he dropped back, cooled the tyres down, had another go.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Have races like Singapore showed the rule forcing drivers in Q3 to start on old tyres hasn’t helped improve the racing?

At this point I don’t know that starting the race by using your Q2 qualifying tyres is supposed to do. It just makes sure that everyone in the top 10 does the exact same change and they race with the same compound.

If they had free choice we could have different strategies inside the top 10, depending on how each car works with each tyre type.
Iosif (@Afonic)

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  • 61 comments on “‘DRS train’ thwarted Ricciardo’s attempts to pass Raikkonen – Horner”

    1. Are you crazy @afonic?! What if someone tries to do a race without stopping, it works, and then catches on? Races without pitting for a tire change!? What a catastrophe!!

      1. @toiago, yes, yes, yes. You are being sarcastic, right ? Let me try,
        No pit stops !? Think of all those pit crews with nothing to do, think of the hotels they stay at, think of the caterers, think of the airlines, think of all the money they’d lose if the teams didn’t need them, and what would the teams do with all that extra money, probably just fritter it away on something useless like research or better drivers.

        1. @hohum: Oh yes…and think of the children! The children of the pit crews and hotel staff…oh the horror…


      2. Let’s be serious, I just said they could have free choice of the starting tire, not removing mandatory pit stops. I don’t want to see F1 crash and burn. :)

        1. Yeah, yeah, that’s how all these things start. First you give them free choice of starting tyre, and before you know it, we’re staring at the end of civilization as we know it. :-) @afonic

        2. Let’s be honest if we gave them free tyre choice, chances are the whole field would probably start on the same compound or a large majority of it. This would, in most cases, lock out the top 10 from even having a chance to finish in the points. The races would be more processional.

          Hopefully with the reduction of downforce they can enforce this and make the races more of… racing instead of just having to follow the cars ahead without the tires to launch an attack.

          1. No free tyre choice then! Let’s make it a lottery.
            And nobody knows when the joker sprinklers will be turned on.

          2. @deidunxf1 I am not really sure that’s the case, especially not on all circuits. When someone in a top team is not inside the top 4 it could make sense to try an alternative strategy. Also in stages of the championship that the contenders are getting all the help they can get, it would make sense to start the second car on the slower tire to try and hold back the leading opponent car when they pit, without damaging the former car’s race.

            Plus, if they were allowed to fit the tires at the exact last moment before formation lap, it could add to the excitement. All the above would be multiplied when the tires have two steps between them (for example ultrasoft – soft or like last week.

            Generally I can think many positives for a free choice, while I struggle to see any for the current situation, unless you count the “fresh tire pole” at 11th place as exciting stuff.

          3. The problem with anything introduced to F1 is that, within a few races, everybody on the grid has figured out the ‘optimum strategy’ and they’re all doing th same thing. There need to be more variables & more ways to approach a race weekend. If a slower car thinks it can go the entire distance and take a tortoise approach to score some points then they shouldn’t be denied this by the rules. IMHO obvs!

    2. I agree with COTD, but everytime they tinker with qualifying they end up improving it to worse.

      1. It’s true, and maybe I´m getting a bit old, but, I preferred the typical old system of 1 hour with 12 laps and no Q3s, Q2s or Q1s. My favourite qualy system was when all drivers has one lap to do, because we can see all the laps of all the drivers, and a rainy session can make a curious grid, but seems like I was the only one who liked it.

        1. @esmiz: You’re not a friend of David ‘One Bad Lap’ Coultard, that’s obvious. LOL!

        2. I prefer this aswell but to be honest, any previous quali format was miles better than what we have now. It’s really just 58 minutes of boredom with the same results every time follow by 2 minutes with a sense of excitment and then the same results every time.

          Can hardly believe I’m saying this but I wish they’d bring back one-shot qualifying or aggregated times over 2 days. This way at least there is a factor of unpredictability involved.

        3. So you’d prefer to have 1 hour qualifying where the cars only drive the last 10 minutes of the session? Rest of the time they’d sit in the pits hoping the track might improve.

        4. Are you sure you liked that format though @esmiz? As @socksolid mentions it hardly ever was worth it to tune in to the first 35-40 minutes as you’d see only a handfull of laps. I think it is more likely you fondly remember some of the epic drivers setting great laps than the format as such.

          It really was good for a highlights show pre race – you’d get shown the 5 minutes of action that mattered in a short qualifying report.

          1. Jonathan Parkin
            20th September 2018, 8:15

            Or alternatively keep the qualifying system you had from 1996 – 2002 but make it 45 minutes and increase the number of laps that a driver has to do from 12 to 15

            1. not broken; no fix required

        5. Agreed, one-shot was high tension, must-watch, exciting live analysis commentary, who-is-truly quicker drama for the purists among us.
          However, i’ve been jumped on enough times here to bother any more!

          1. @webbo82 The problem with one shot qualifying was that it disadvantaged those running at the start of the session as the grip levels improve later in the session and also unfairly penalises drivers in the event of rain or on a drying track. As @coldfly says, not broken; no fix required.

      2. How about no qual at all?

        Cars grid in reverse order of points. Point ties are broken by fastest practice times (forwards order, so sandbagging in practice is of no use).

    3. And there we have it from the horses mouth, RIC could catch up easily but had to drop back to cool off his tyres before trying again. I know some (most ?) of you still believe high-deg tyres and pitstops are the only thing that makes F1 interesting and that I will never convince you otherwise, but I beg you to think it through and see that more durable tyres will allow more action on track (even if passing stays static).

      1. I agree with you that a “drs train” holding up Ricciardo making him have to back off to save tyres fits in nicely with how these tyres really aren’t a good idea @hohum.

        But then let us look at who is saying this and what is the reality. Because what Ricciardo mentioned right after the race it was the ENGINE+batteries, etc, cooling (the one where Renault gave hints that Red Bull did not give it enough cooling to have better aero) although tyres certainly would also have had issues.

        But there was no DRS “train”, just Kimi getting DRS from Bottas for many laps that he was right on his gearbox (without the tyres apparently hurting too much) while Bottas couldn’t get even close to within a second of Hulkenberg.
        And the likes of Perez, Hulkenberg, Grosjean ran right behind another car during the race for ages too, without having to back off like Daniel had.

        So yes, the tyres almost certainly hurt the chance of seeing them trying a move. But that was not the main difference between Ricciardo and the other cars. Instead it was the heat building up inside the car that made his situation different. And there was no DRS train (unless you want to call one car following another a train), unlike the “Sirotking train” that Perez was in the first wagon of for a long time during the race.

        1. Also, for large chunks of the ‘battle’ Kimi wasn’t even in DRS range being just over 1s behind Bottas.

          1. That too yeah, he knew that there wasn’t really much chance to pass anyway so he just sat there waiting if maybe Bottas slipped up he could pounce @asanator. Certainly not a DRS train

    4. GOD SAVE ROSS BRAWN, and common sense, next let’s drop the mandatory tyre change and get some tyres that are both fast and durable.

      1. @hohum: Doubly Bless Ross for speaking the unspeakable F1 phrase: “Reduce downforce”

      2. Verstappen finished ahead of Vettel at Singapore because of a mandatory tyre change.

        1. I think it’s been very well documented that Vettel had a very poor weekend resulting in a poor race. Brought about by some pretty badly thought out tactics. The pit stop was only a small part of the misfortune.

        2. @drycrust Verstappen wouldn’t be ahead of Vettel without a pitstop because cars can’t overtake each other nowadays :)

    5. From Trulli Train to DRS Train – F1 progress marches forward! Without getting within 1.2 seconds of the previous progress.

    6. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      20th September 2018, 4:19

      I love Palmer’s BBC article. It’s dripping in irony. Almost like he himself was in F1 for two years too long.

      1. Worth reading yeah :-)

      2. @braketurnaccelerate @bascb Wait, that BBC article was written by Palmer?! I couldn’t see, because I don’t want to add another click for this drivel ridden anti-KR crusade by the BBC . I thought it was written as per usual by the garbage”journo” and professional KR hater andrew benson but if it’s written by Palmer then, though I still won’t click on it , I’ll just say hahahahahahaha!

        1. It was yeah @montreal95. He’s been doing some of those for the Beeb this year. Actually most of the time it is a markeable improvement, but when it gets to opininon, well

    7. But catching was one thing, overtaking as we saw today was another.

      Why not have active front wings that can change their profile to maintain grip when closely following a car?

      1. @drycrust They had adjustable front wings in 2009, don’t think it improved overtaking enough so they brought in DRS instead.

        1. Movable aero devices are not allowed, in spite of the presence of DRS. If they made an exception for the front wing, that would be two gadgets on the cars aero-wise, not just one, and we need none.

          They are already changing the front wings for next year and they will help make less wake for the car behind, and they will be less sensitive to dirty air as well. A good start in the right direction.

          1. @robbie My thanks for your reply. I’m not convinced the new front wing will reduce turbulence behind a car, but you raise a good point: the new front wing could well be less sensitive to the turbulent air of the car in front. We’ll have to wait and see.

            1. @drycrust For sure and let’s be mindful that this is intentionally a fairly bandage type fix for now. Liberty is not trying to solve all the problems with this new front wing, as they know the cars they inherited are simply not conducive to close racing by their nature. They’re just trying to work with what hey have to try to improve the show as much as they can without costing the teams unreasonable time and money in which to adapt. As Brawn is saying, they will learn the most when these wings are on the cars and they’re racing in anger all together next year. And then they’ll proceed from there. Of course the real changes are for 2021, but even then let’s be mindful it is a constant work in progress, always subject to tweaking. We shouldn’t be heaping all the pressure in the world on Liberty to get everything perfect in 2021, for as we know they will never be able to please everyone. What they can do those is strive to come as close to that as possible, and I’m sure excited that we are past BE and have people in charge that are actually concerned and are taking action, in the right way imho. Their task is monumental and will involve cooperation from the teams like never before, and I believe the spirit of that is there and I don’t believe the teams will be trying overly sneaky things to undermine what Liberty wants to do.

    8. There’s nothing in Palmer’s article I strictly disagree with, I think it’s an odd and probably expensive decision to keep Raikkonen in F1, especially for two years rather than just one.

      But Palmer could have provided some more insight on drivers that don’t self police their time in F1. Alonso is calling time because he’s not in a position to win. Button seemed glad to be out of F1 after so long away from the front of the grid.

      But Palmer is a good example of a driver having to be pushed out of the door rather than accepting the reality they aren’t going to ever be a challenger. He could have given some real insight into that kind of mindset rather than another bland article saying nothing new.

    9. A quote from that Brawn/Racer article:

      The current cars lose up to 50% of aerodynamic performance behind another car, while the 2021 concepts are targeting a reduction of that number to just 20%. Brawn says the changes next year will allow F1 to gauge how accurate those estimates are and understand more about future tweaks.

      This is quite exciting. It’s the first time anyone has really tried to understand this problem and tackle it, isn’t it? Many changes have been attempted before to improve overtaking, but I believe this is the first time they have scientifically approached the bad air issue?

      If the changes next year show an improvement early on, then I hope they start tinkering with shorter and a smaller number of DRS zones because that gimmick has no place at the “pinnacle of motorsport”.

      1. @shimks It’s not the first time. the Overtaking Working Group did exactly this for 2009. however, their influence was rather limited and they got shouted down on a number of points. I remember ’09 had some quite good racing though. the demise of the FOTA really put the kibosh on many advances that would have prevented a whole host of the current problems affecting the sport.

        1. Interesting, @frood19. Thanks for that. Brawn was around in that era, so hopefully he has some lessons learnt from then. He’s a very clever man and I’m very happy he took his current role. Let’s hope his ideas don’t all get diluted by vetoes and threats to quit the sport.

          1. @shimks One of the big lessons we all now have learned from 09 is that leaving the bulk of the power to the top 3 or 4 teams ensures they will only act in their own best interest, and we are still seeing the after effect of that today.

            The huge difference now is not just that Brawn and his team are independent of any of the teams, but they actually have one car behind another in a wind tunnel to study the dirty air topic and actually act on the results in a way that benefits all teams and all of F1 to improve the product overall. This time there’s a new sheriff in town and the top teams are not going to bully nor veto their way into having it solely their way anymore. And they do seem quite on board with what Liberty wants to do, for the teams know this is a different time now.

            The teams knew at least 10 years ago that a rethink aero-wise was needed for closer racing. BE and politics and greed got in the way.

            1. We are definitely moving in a better direction, @robbie!

        2. @frood19 I think the difference between this project and the 09 OWG research is that the OWG was something that was (a) unfunded and (b) that the teams contributed bits and pieces to while the current research is being carried out as part of a dedicated, focussed, funded, FOM lead project.

          I’m hopeful the results will be far better than those chucked out by the OWG.

          1. @geemac good point, it is encouraging that they are taking this approach, compared to the OWG.

            1. The ’09 changes DID enable the cars to follow each other much more closely and also did what they set out to achieve (although on the ugly side). The problem was that we had double and blown diffusers which countered the effects of the aero regs. Once they were eliminated we had the problem of thermal degrading tyres which stopped drivers closing up to the car in front for more than a lap as it would destroy the tyres and ruin their race.

    10. Im abit confused… Less downforce then more down force then less down force…i want to c d cars going the fastest they can with the driver workn as hard as they can that wen they jump out they are exhausted. Maybe we looking at it all wrong maybe its not the cars but the design of yhe race tracks thats got to change?…. Im no expert but why not?

      1. Some tracks have sections perfect for overtaking. Bahrain and Malaysia spring to mind. But some aero tweaks can also improve things. 2014 was great for wheel to wheel racing. Even Hamilton and Rosberg in the Mercedes could fight one another. So a simplification of aero will improve most races.

        I’m not sure anything is going to deliver overtaking in places like Monaco and Singapore though.

        1. St circuits blah.

      2. While of course some tracks lend themselves to passing opportunities more than others, the tracks are not the problem nor should we change them to accommodate the cars, for then all the tracks become more or less the same, no? Don’t we want the variety throughout the season that they provide?

        No, the problem is and always has been cars too dependent on clean air to perform well. We have had cars on bad tires and on good ones, and still the processions ensue. Plain and simply the cars need to depend much much less on aero downforce.

        And I don’t get the concern over high deg tires. It has been established that on average the more exciting races are in part that way because two pit stops were needed. That means high deg tires. But high deg tires do not have to mean they can’t be designed to be pushed for more laps throughout a stint than the current tires can, and they certainly do not have to be so temp sensitive that a bloke can’t even follow a car for very long without ruining them. There are a thousand combinations of rubber compound and tire architecture that can ensure good sticky mechanical grip that in corners can make up for much less downforce, while also allowing the drivers a useful number of laps to fight for positions and actually push themselves and their cars to some impressive limits.

    11. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      20th September 2018, 10:37

      COTD is plain wrong.

      The changes were made because drivers were purposefully sitting out Q3 to gain a tyre advantage. So they made Q2 the race tyre so everyone gives it a good crack in the final 10 mins of qually and it worked.

      Not to mention spectators actually seeing 10 cars on track and getting their money’s worth.

      1. @ftruth I think this was fixed by giving them an extra tire set just for Q3, not by making Q2 the race tire.

        I fail to see why giving them free tire choice in the race would prevent them from running in qualifying.

        1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
          20th September 2018, 15:59

          @afonic wrong. It was clearly stated that the cars must start on Q2 tyres as midfield runners were sitting out Q3 which was the previous tyres, logic being if you are going to qualify 9th or 10th anyway, better to start on 100% fresh boots.

          Allowing free choice for the race tyres and not tying it to any qually tyre is a completely different subject?

          1. @ftruth that’s what I said in my comment (in the COTD), that they should allow them to choose any tyre to start the race, fresh or otherwise. How this will lead to them not running in Q3 I cannot understand.

            I remember them sitting out in Q3 because they didn’t have enough tires (since most teams are forced to do multiple Q1 and Q2 runs), and that’s why Pirelli gives them an extra set only for Q3, that they afterwards return (before the race). And that’s why midfield teams only do 1 lap in Q3.

            So I hope you can understand that you are the one that’s mixing two totally unrelated issues.

    12. The lap times don’t need to get faster and faster, but hopefully, they’d remain similar to this and last season. At least stay stable on a yearly basis.
      – I agree with the COTD, and I also agree with Palmer in principle.
      – An Interesting article from Sky.

    13. The cars have outgrown the tracks. The layout needs to be changed maybe 50% straights and 50% turns. Layout should be as difficult as if there was rain on current tracks. Limited budget teams should be able to close the gap a bit more. Now we have multiple races in one race.

    14. Using Q2 tyre as a race tyre has further benefitted the best teams. Whereas taking harder compound for Q3 and compromise your qualifying had some sense, this didn’t help anyone but those at the front. Sinc

      Mandatory pit-stop is a good thing IMO and it is often any sort of excitement during the grand prix. It creates another variable. Contrary to the popular and romantic belief, giving everyone super fast and mega durable tyres won’t lead to epic racing. In 2010 with no refuelling, durable tyres and pretty competitive field, the racing in the dry was boring. Since the cars start from fastest to slowest, not wonder they will stay in the same order with detuned engines making them less racy.

      1. @michal2009b Right. And the moral of the story is that even with rock solid tires that perform great and last, the lead car has the same tires as the trailing car, and the trailing car is still handcuffed by being too dependent on clean air to perform well in dirty air.

        In general they need good sticky reliable tires that will help make up for greatly reduced aero downforce that will inevitably slow the cars in the corners, and cars that make less wake to begin with, for actual close racing and gladiator vs gladiator action. They’ve had all kinds of tires throughout the years in F1, and the common enemy remains too much dependence on clean air.

    15. F1 TV is indeed in a sorry state. Whatever overbearing DRM method they’ve implemented has relegated Internet Explorer as the last working browser for me. No thanks. Back to piracy I suppose. A pity – I would love to give them money.

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