George Russell, Williams, Yas Marina, 2020

Russell wary rivals may “get a bit desperate” in final race

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In the round-up: George Russell expects a lively fight in the midfield given the close points situation ahead of tomorrow’s season-closing race.

What they say

Russell, back at Williams after his Mercedes sojourn, says that the tight competition between midfield teams – and high stakes of this being the last race of 2020 – could provide opportunities for a backmarker team:

Given it’s the last race of the season everybody up and down the grid gets a bit desperate.

There’s a few teams fighting for that third place spot so we might see some big lunges. Carlos is obviously off to Ferrari so he probably won’t care if he bashes up the car and then you’ve got Danny Ric, he is obviously off so he probably doesn’t care if he bashes up the car. Who else is going? Sergio’s off, so he won’t care if he bashes up the car. So it could be a good one.

On pure pace we know we won’t be fighting for the top 10, we were struggling today, in all honesty. Kimi looked really fast, and Kevin. But that’s usually the case, we’re usually a bit off on Friday and we usually sort it out on Saturday.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

As several drivers prepare to move on from their current teams after this weekend, Bernasaurus muses on the way a driver’s personality can reflect back onto the garage that works with them:

Being in an F1 team must be a strange working environment in a sense, I can’t think of many others where the whole focus shifts onto another individual as it does when an F1 team replaces a driver.

If Grosjean’s side of the garage gets allocated Mazepin, after six years of someone who seems like a personable, food-and-family kind of guy (prone to a radio whinge or two) Mazepin seems very different.

When you’re a group of people tasked with bringing out the very best in an individual, it must be quite a change.
Bernasaurus

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 21 comments on “Russell wary rivals may “get a bit desperate” in final race”

    1. Not taking away any part of Hamilton’s deserved WDC’s, it would be interesting to let each other Championship driver to take Bottas’s seat next year for one race.
      This is possibly the best way to rank the other 19 drivers next year.

      And as we have 23 races we could give the rest to Hulkenberg, Perez, and Grossjean (to wear his kid designed helmet).
      The rest we can use to let the crew check their radio system and single stacking the car to master at least that.

      1. No it isn’t. You’d be measuring their ability to adjust to a different car, and their ability to deal with the behaviour of that specific car.

        None of which are particularly important stats for drivers.

    2. I wonder when Lewis get his sense of taste back.

      1. Not yet, judging by that picture.

    3. Since there is an article about Formula E, it seems appropriate to mention that, a few days ago, some posters on this site were commenting about a report that claimed that a new electric car had to be driven for nearly 50,000 miles to produce fewer emissions than a petrol car.

      Now, some journalists have gone to the effort of actually looking at how that “report” claims to have come to those figures. For a start, it turns out that three of the most prominent partners for that report happen to be a company pushing for the rapid expansion of biofuel production – for whom the electric car would be a disaster for their operating model – Aston Martin (and more on their involvement later) and a company which is being run by the former CEO of Aston Martin (Optane, which Andy Palmer has moved to): something which throws up a bit of a red flag.

      Anyway, firstly one researcher at the University of Eindhoven looked at the report, and found that there was some fairly blatant manipulation of the data – using favourable and unrealistic test data for the petrol road car, ignoring upstream emissions for the petrol car whilst including upstream emissions for the battery car, using emission figures from different operating plants to lower the apparent emissions for the petrol car and using an unrealistic energy mixture for the electric cars. When you ran a much more rigorous analysis, it turned out that a more realistic figure was about 16,000 miles, not 48,000 miles.

      Turning to the authors of the report itself, the report was apparently produced by “Clarendon Communications” – an organisation that claims to be a PR company, but which turned out to be a shell company owned by the wife of the Director of Corporate Affairs at Aston Martin.

      Basically, “Clarendon Communications” was a rather thin disguise for Aston Martin and the representatives of the UK biofuel industry to push out a PR piece at a time when the UK government was bringing forward the date for banning the sale of new cars powered only by petrol or diesel. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/astongate-fake-emission-figures-embattled-carmaker-sock-liebreich/

      Given that Aston Martin announced their plans to delay the introduction of their first electric car until after 2025 and shelved most of their electrification plans due to cash flow problems in early 2020, it has been pointed out that the UK government’s plans to bring forward the ban on sales of petrol or diesel only powered cars would be pretty disastrous for their company – so, it seems, they wanted to push that report to try and dissuade them from introducing that policy.

      1. In 10 years time the automotive industry may well have cracked hydrogen fuel cells. Making battery powered vehicles irrelevant and obsolete.

        1. I don’t understand why so many people keep repeating this. There is NO WAY the fuel cell will replace the conventional EV. As always, the answer is nuanced. Yes, there will be applications where the fuell cell will be preferable. But a blanket statement like that makes you seem uninformed. It will be mostly EV’s, not mostly fuel cells

          1. Why the dig and arrogance? Seems there was a legitimate discussion about to take place and you make a dig about “..seem uniformed” “NO WAY a fuel cell will replace EV…” etc etc
            Not necessary IMO but hey…
            For what it’s worth, I am genuinely uniformed about the details of this subject but this seemed like one of the very few comments on this site that was “useful” and able to stimulate sensible debate. You didn’t take that opportunity. Shame.

            1. Well, you could say I responded to the statement in much the same way. I keep reading these blanket statements a lot with no justifications or arguments. Was it the best response, probably not. I just got tired of reading them and this blurted out.

              I don’t want to start a he said she said though. You didn’t take the opportunity to turn it into a sensible debate either. So let’s turn it around. What is your opinion on the statement that in 10 years time the BEV is irrelevant and obsolete, because the fuel cell will have surpassed them by then?

          2. Why the dig and arrogance?

            It will be mostly EV’s, not mostly fuel cells

            Especially since you seem to miss that ‘fuel cells’ IS an EV solution.

            1. I suppose I should have typed BEV’s. I did type ‘conventional EV’ before that so … it seems like you’re stretching a bit to make a point?

        2. Dont know if another technology will surpass EV, but EV tech has to surpass itself because, as far I’ve checked, there are not enough metals (particularly eletricity conducing and for batteries) for all current fleet to be replaced by EV.

      2. BMW and Audi are in their last season of Formula E, citing not much left to gain by carrying on. After a momentary boost in battery technology thanks to mobile personal electronic devices, the EV is still a hard sell that requires subsidies to stay relevant even to the green evangelist movement.

        If by some magical thinking one believes the electric car is going to become an all-round practical means of transport, then you’ve got to ask where the electricity is going to come from. The anti-industrial green movement rose from the ashes of CND, they irrationally oppose gen3 and gen4 nuclear power, the only viable source of low emission energy in sufficient quantity and reliability.

        1. What were Audi and BMW really learning about batteries? McLaren are currently the exclusive battery supplier to the series (i think it was Williams before that). How to utilse them, but not how best to make them. Surely when they open up battery development in 2023, we should start to see sone genuine improvements applicable to all EV vehicles.

        2. @frasier at least in the UK, the head of the National grid has confirmed that the planned expansion of just offshore wind power alone in the next decade would produce more power than if every single person driving a car now were to switch to an electric car in that same period.

          Furthermore, if you think that is a problem with battery vehicle cars, then you have to accept that the alternatives are no better, and in several areas significantly worse. Hydrogen production is currently almost entirely from steam reformation of methane, making it extremely energy intensive – however, even if you were to take the most optimistic scenario, which is electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen, that process is still relatively inefficient; most commercially available fuel cells are also not especially efficient either.

          It therefore means that, unless there is a radical improvement in the process of producing hydrogen in a clean manner, along with a significant improvement in the efficiency of the fuel cell itself and the supply chain, the overall efficiency of the supply chain would only be about 26% for every unit of electrical power you’re putting in at the start of the process, as opposed to 69% for the battery electric vehicle. As for e-fuels, which others have been touting as a solution to continuing to use the internal combustion engine, that is down to just 13% of the initial input energy being converted into motive power at the end (figures taken from the Royal Society).

          Are there issues and questions about the use of the battery electric vehicle? Yes – but the alternative options face present even worse problems with demands for power, and there are similar issues with those options as well. How do you think those issues are to be resolved?

    4. I am glad Nico Muller got the Dragon drive, as he did something in Berlin that I have thought for a while now is obviously the best thing to do in that circumstance. After being given a drive-through on the first lap, he just massively saved energy until right at the end. If there had been a safety car, he would have been on the back of the pack with loads more energy than anyone else and could have got a great result. If he had just driven a normal race after the penalty, he would just have come last or nearly last, safety car or not. Jean-Eric Vergne should have done this in Ad Diriyah, after being 40 seconds behind, as there actually was a safety car then.

    5. It all depends on how the electricty is generated. In Belgium we’re gonna close our nuclear plants soon, so all our electricity will come from burning gas. I can’t see how electric cars make sense in such an environment.
      France on the other hand has around 80% of its electricty coming from nuclear, so electric cars there can really be almost emission free.

    6. The most desesperate driver is Russell, desesperate to get a few points for Williams. And without the concessions of the FIA (avoiding the disqualification in Bahrein 2 without using a legal car).

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