George Russell, Williams, Silverstone, 2019

“We’re incredibly slow in the straights”: Russell predicts Monza will be toughest track for Williams

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In the round-up: George Russell predicts the Italian Grand Prix will be the toughest race yet for Williams.

What they say

In all honesty it’s probably an even harder weekend this week than Spa.

Everyone knows we’re struggling with downforce but probably not a lot of people know that we have an incredible amount of drag on the car and incredibly slow in the straights. We were up to two seconds slower on the straight versus the quickest cars. A second slower on the straight versus anyone else.

So it was incredibly difficult for us. And I think that was clear after Hungary, obviously a very good performance, but a lot of that was due to the lack of straights at Hungary and it being all corners. The deficit doesn’t seem as great. This is probably going to be the toughest one of the year.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Is F1’s future virtual?

Is anyone else terrified by the phrase “watching E sports”?

This unfortunately is where the future of F1 seems to be heading and I believe will head once they get on top of the potential revenue streams. Give it a few years and there will be no tracks, no cars, no teams of engineers, other than a few software ones. Actual motor racing will be considered “historic”.
DB-C90 (@dbradock)

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On this day in F1

  • 55 years ago today Ferrari’s John Surtees moved decisively into championship contention by winning the Italian Grand Prix while points leaders Graham Hill and Jim Clark retired

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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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42 comments on ““We’re incredibly slow in the straights”: Russell predicts Monza will be toughest track for Williams”

  1. Williams lacking downforce and creating incredible drag? Sounds like they must be using two by fours for wings. Hope they can sort that for next year.

    1. At least it explains why williams was the exception to Merc teams doing better on power tracks, also it explains why the new upgrade was useless in Germany but actually competitive in hungary.
      On one hand their belgian rear wing was a regular rear wing, cost saving measure I would assume.

  2. Williams went from masters of straight line speed (when the Hybrid era started) to masters of drag today. That’s it?

    Similar to what McLaren faced in 2016, when Honda took the blame?

    Same correlation issues from scale model to track? That got RBR scratching their heads some time ago.

    1. Suffering Williams Fan
      6th September 2019, 9:53

      Based on what I’ve been reading, correlation between CFD, wind tunnel and track had been poor for the last couple of seasons, but have been much improved recently. The recent upgrades have apparently produced the expected, fairly large increase in downforce, but also added a little to the already poor drag characteristics (also expected). Hopefully, going forward, better correlation will lead to upgrades that continue to add downforce to the car and perhaps allow them to resolve the drag issues as well.

  3. RE: COTD

    Traditional sport, motorsport and esport have their own place. They don’t replace one another

    F1 is popular because it is cutting edge, fast, and sometimes have action.
    Major esport titles are popular because it is accessible, lots of action, and most importantly they are a game that doesn’t occur in real life.

    People get excited from Verstappen fighting Leclerc because they are fast and real tangible things were at stake.
    People get excited when s1mple does a clutch because they can relate how hard it was to pull off, even though it is just a game.

    Look at FIFA esports, its not killing traditional association football. Esports won’t kill F1 either

    1. RE:COTD
      Racing games are an absolutely TINY part of esports, to the point where they are almost irrelevant. Codemasters’ F1 games have never been too successful in that regard either (they also suffer from not being straight-up sim games, which is what the most dedicated part of the racing community plays). Racing games just suffer from the fundamental problem that they are a competition that nevertheless requires some cooperation between players, i.e. not crashing into each other and so on. Outside of league racing, it’s just nothing but frustration. Traditional esport games games are also much easier to pick up (often free to play) and don’t require hundreds of dollars of investment into a wheel. Also, most esport games tend to be team games. The ones that aren’t (i.e. Starcraft for example) just don’t have as much of an audience because they are so hard. Team games on the other hand even casual players can have fun with, and if in doubt, you can always blame your teammates. With non-team games like F1, you just don’t have that. So I SERIOUSLY doubt F1 esport will be getting too serious any time soon. If you’re familiar with esports/F1 games, you just know that the list of reasons against it is basically endless. So no worries :)


      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        6th September 2019, 6:45


  4. People often talk about the ego of Hamilton or Verstappen, but they are nothing compared to Maldonado. The man is seriously suggesting that he was the “Max Verstappen” or “Robert Kubica” of F1 back in 2013 in that everybody wanted him. I got news for you buddy, nobody rated you anywhere near their level. Most drivers can be unbelievably quick 3-4 times a season, but you have never showed that you are anything but a driver who could give a handful of good performances a season. Being worse relative to Barichello than Hulkenberg was in 2011, beaten by a rookie teammate in 2013, then demolished by Grosjean in Lotus. Not even a single win can rescue that CV.

    1. @mashiat, I presume that you are doing a raw comparison of points totals there, as there are some caveats in performance that you really should mention.

      When we are dealing with cars that are more usually towards the lower end of the field, a single points finish can sometimes result in a significant swing in points that’s less likely to happen when a driver is regularly scoring points. That comparison between Barrichello and Hulkenberg in 2010 and Barrichello and Maldonado in 2011 highlights that quite significantly – in the former, the FW32 was regularly capable of scoring points and both drivers were frequently in the points, whereas in 2011 the FW33 was significantly slower and only picked up a handful of points finishes.

      In terms of relative finishing order, when both drivers finished the race, in 2010 Hulkenberg finished ahead of Barrichello five times, with Barrichello beating him eight times. For 2011, Maldonado also beat Barrichello five times, with Barrichello beating him six times – so, in that respect, Maldonado had the same relative finishing record against Barrichello as Hulkenberg did. In terms of qualifying performance, Maldonado actually comes out ahead in that area – Hulkenberg qualified ahead of Barrichello six times in 2010, whilst in 2011 Maldonado did so eight times.

      Now, if you crudely compare just the points, then yes, proportionally the 1 points that Maldonado scored to the 4 that Barrichello did in 2011 is worse than the 22 points that Hulkenberg scored against Barrichello’s 47 in 2010. However, in the case of Maldonado and Barrichello you are comparing the difference between one and two finishes in the points respectively, whereas between Barrichello and Hulkenberg you are comparing the difference between ten and seven points finishes respectively – it misses the overall fact that the FW33 was a significantly worse car than the FW32, and therefore a raw comparison of points when dealing with a rare number of points finishes doesn’t really tell the full picture.

      That is also rather apparent when you trumpet that Maldonado was “beaten by a rookie in 2013”, referring to the comparison between Bottas and Maldonado. The thing is, that picture is skewed by the single 8th place that Bottas picked up at the US Grand Prix because, when you look at the relative finishing order of those two drivers, Maldonado actually beat Bottas far more frequently than Bottas beat him.

      Where they finished together, Maldonado finished ahead of Bottas eight times that season, whereas Bottas only beat him four times that season. If you were talking about two drivers who were regularly finishing in the points with that relative performance against each other, your criticism would be the other way around – that single 8th place masks the fact that Bottas was usually being beaten by Maldonado, not the other way around.

      Is Maldonado prone to making some rather foolish remarks? Yes. However, is he as bad as you suggest? No – I would say he was more competitive than you are suggesting when you look at the relative competitiveness of the car and the relative finishing order of the two drivers.

      1. Perhaps the dislike for Maldonado is cultural with some bad attitude added for spice.

  5. LOVE Lewis referring to Jacques as “that individual” XD

    1. @fer-no65 – something tells me he’s not a fan of Jacques. Can’t put my finger on it, but there’s just something there… ;)

      1. Who is a fan of him?

    2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      6th September 2019, 6:52

      Agreed, it was a very dignified yet condescending response. Great to see Lewis sticking up for himself (and others) this way. Overly opinionated pundits and ex-pros are a bit of a nuisance in all sports at the minute and don’t get pulled up for their negative destructive behaviour enough.

  6. I know Keith wants to keep this site family-friendly, but this is too funny to share – Seb’s response to Buxton’s question (NSFW for language).

    1. *to not share

    2. Excellent answer from Seb there.
      Always nice to see these guys (and indeed any sporting types) having a laugh ;)

    3. Absolutely great by Seb; I enjoyed the chuckle by the press lady.

      Not sure in which country this would be NSFW; of the countries I’ve lived in only the USA might rate it as such.

    4. @phylyp @nullapax @coldfly My response to what he said would be: Honestly, what are we doing here: Racing or making erotic remarks? This isn’t the first time he’s made a similar remark.

      1. @jerejj – apparently, a Dutch reporter had asked him earlier whether he had a crystal ball to predict Sunday’s outcome, and he likely riffed off that question when answering Will.

        @coldfly – it was just a caution to anyone who might play it on speaker/speakerphone in an office/public setting, while reassuring others that there’s nothing visually bad :) You never know where the PC police are lurking.

        1. @phylyp I recall Seb saying something very similar during one pre-season testing phase. Either last year or the year before, so I thought it was a reference to that. Funny nevertheless albeit not something I’d dare to say out loud in public. Just a bit too erotic to my liking, and the same with Ricciardo’s remark to Norris in the Thursday press conference for the British GP.

          1. Ricciardo’s remark to Norris in the Thursday press conference for the British GP

            @jerejj – LOL, I remember that, particularly for Norris giggling like a schoolboy through the rest of the interview (which, given his age, is perfectly understandable).

            Vettel… the only one I recall is when he said (over the team radio), that there was something loose between his legs, and then clarified with a chuckle “Well, apart from the obvious”. Is that the one you’re referring to?

        2. @phylyp No, something he said during some pre-season testing. I recall reading a quoted words of his that were effectively the same as here, but yes, the radio message from Brazil last season is somewhat similar as well, although not directly.

          1. @jerejj – I wish I had your filing system of a brain – I know the Ricciardo-Norris exchange, but just 6 weeks later, I have already forgotten which GP it occurred at. Ditto for placing the “between my legs” message in Brazil.

  7. About COTD. Have you actually watched any of the e-sports broadcasts? The racing is often times extremely good and there is lots of action, wheel to wheel racing and strategy. The gran turismo world tour events are great fun to watch and the f1 ones were pretty entertaining last time I watched them. On the more simulation side there are many series and events as well. I think it is a bit of fear mongering to be worried about e-sports replacing “real motorsports”. In best case scenario you get new ways to watch more motor racing. At worst there is something out there that is no specific interest to you.

    1. Great point @socksolid. Not to mention that there are millions of people who watch people playing games. I don’t see why at least part of them (and a chunk of current “real” motorsport fans) wouldn’t watch e-sports, provided they see interesting and exciting races.

      Real life motorsports, including F1 will only dwindle if they don’t provide good sports, on track action within a well produced environment and / or fail to give people the chance to see it. Off course we need F1 to improve itself to keep that attention. But if they would lose that, and become a smaller and smaller niche, that is because ultimately it would have failed to keep itself in condition.

  8. Re CotD – there is no way on earth I would ever watch any so called E-Sports. They just don’t appeal to me in any way at all.
    I suspect part of the reason may be that I have played online games for at least the last 18 years or so but regardless of that I don’t see how one can get excited about something that isn’t real.
    Let’s all hope this prediction for the future remains just a prediction ;)

    1. @nullapax: Uh-oh… won’t mention how the entire universe could well be a fake – just a 3D hologram projected from the 2D lip of some no-name black hole in the center of nowhere. ;-)

      1. Follow the white rabbit.

      2. Oh, hello there, Mr. Musk.

    2. “I don’t see how one can get excited about something that isn’t real.” So, books, films, music?

      1. “I don’t see how one can get excited about something that isn’t real.” So, books, films, music?

        No no no that isn’t what I mean at all.
        Pretending to be a racing driver in a game is not the same as being a racing driver.
        Just like if I rewrote Macbeth with me as the lead character that wouldn’t make me the same as Shakespeare.

    3. I thought the same, then last year I watched a virtual race before the Bathurst 1000, and it was actually a bloody good race. At the start I wasn’t really paying attention, but as the race went on it became a 3 way battle for the lead; then a mistake was made and it was a 2 way battle right up until the last lap. I have no idea why, but it was riveting.

      This might be because I myself have tried to drive Mt Panorama in Forza under the same conditions, and found myself 5 seconds off the pace (any attempt to get closer resulted in a mistake); so I was just really impressed by the concentration of these guys. I was actually able to picture myself in that scenario and think about how I’d be handling it. Basically, I could relate to it.

      Yes, it’s virtual; but I can compare the lap times and the vehicles and try to do the exact same thing myself. This is not something I can do with the real thing. I love my F1 too; but strangely enjoy the competition of the virtual races also.

  9. How da hell are Williams so slow on the straights, they have low downforce and high drag?

    Mercedes is now #4 engine? What is going on.

    1. Two things:

      1. You don’t seem to understand how downforce and drag works do you? You can have downforce without drag, and not have downforce with drag.

      2. Where did you get #4 Engine from? There are a lot of factors that go into an F1 Car being fast.

  10. I find the BBC-article an exciting reading, and somewhat deep as well.
    I disagree with JV, as well. I don’t think simulators make drivers less aware of the dangers of Motorsport despite the fact you can’t get hurt by a crash in the virtual-reality. Coincidently, I drove one realistic single-seater simulator earlier this year, and once lost it at Raidillon, crashing into the tyre-barrier, but could, of course, continue since that was only virtual, but still, I don’t think they give out a misleading picture.

  11. Sorry to sound like an angry old man, but ESports are not Sports. Yes, there is an incredible amount of skill involved in being a competitive simracer, I’m not denying that, but there is no way I will watch someone playing a simulated version of any sport rather than watching the real thing.

  12. Russell: “We’re incredibly slow in the straights. And in the corners. And in the pits. And in the garage. One bright point-we’ve been pretty quick on the transport plane. “

    1. @waptravele
      Didn’t they have the fastest pitstop at Spa?
      If you’re going to attempt to pour scorn on a once-mighty team, try and get some facts right, please.

  13. eSports are not sports to me, because they have more in common with competitive gaming, which is definitely a form of computing. I will allow, however, that the players who train hardest for them are definitely athletes, and they can be exciting to watch for the same reasons as both computer game tournaments and sports. (I haven’t found an eSport I like watching yet, but I suspect it’s more likely to be “if” than “when”. The F1 eSports looked promising but the format took the energy out of it for me).

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