Some unfinished business
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How Ferrari bounced back in winning style
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How Ferrari bounced back in winning style
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Mar 2010   |  8:44 pm GMT  |  263 comments

Today was a real vindication of the decision taken last summer by Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali to stop development of the 2009 car and throw everything at the 2010 model.


The Ferrari was the best car overall this weekend in various conditions. It was quick on the single lap, quick on the soft tyre at the start of the race when the car was heavy and quick on the medium tyre in the second part of the race as the fuel load lightened.

The Red Bull may have been quicker in the soft tyre parts of that, but when the hard tyres went on Alonso looked ready to attack. Would he have got Sebastian Vettel had the Red Bull’s exhaust not failed? I asked Fernando that in the unilaterals room and he said that he was planning to attack in the closing stages and had measured his pace up to that point.

And that illustrates the difference between new style F1 and what we had up to last season. Patience is suddenly a real virtue in a Grand Prix driver, whereas before it was all about dividing a race into three short sprints.

Before we get carried away in negativity about the new style, we should remember that in the years prior to the re-introduction of refueling in 1994 the races were about being cagey, especially in the turbo era and Alain Prost made an art form of it.

It seems that Alonso has that ability too. He did not go after Vettel on the opening lap when the German opened up a two second lead, pushing his tyres hard. The Ferrari didn’t manage the supersoft tyres as well as the Red Bull and by lap 13 he was losing between half a second and a second per lap. So he pitted on lap 16, when he was five seconds adrift. By the time Vettel had made his stop and rejoined, Alonso had the gap back down to three seconds. He lowered that to two seconds and then started reeling Vettel in. It was at this point that Vettel’s spark plug failed and he started losing power.

“I had some pace in the pocket at that time of the race but I was concentrating on managing the tyres,” said Alonso. “We knew that we had to do 35 or 36 laps with the tyres. I was waiting the time to attack Vettel, maybe waiting for the last 10 or 12 laps. But suddenly he had a car problem and he was dropping and we had the chance to overtake him a little bit earlier than expected.”

The Ferrari had speed to spare on the hard tyre. Once past Vettel Alonso drove a measured pace with laps in the 1m 59s but then on lap 45 he suddenly threw in a 1m 58.287 – the fastest lap of the race by over a second.

Felipe Massa can be pleased that he has made a successful comeback from injury to finish second, as he said, his best start to an F1 season. He also had problems with overheating in his engine, which meant that he had to run it rich and that sent his fuel consumption figures up. The only way to manage that situation was to go slower, which he did once past Vettel.

I asked him in the TV interview what his engineer Rob Smedley had been looking at when he pointed to the car on the screen and then later leaned over the pit wall to inspect the car. Massa had no idea what I was talking about, but I checked with Smedley and he said that the telemetry was showing an sudden aero inbalance which led the team to believe that part of the floor had come away. He radioed Massa to ask if he could feel anything, but Massa said no.

Massa’s problems meant that he would not have beaten Alonso even if he had stayed ahead on the opening lap, but the fact that he didn’t is probably the most crucial “take home” for the Brazilian from this weekend.

He outqualified Alonso and was well aware that the start was critically important and yet he couldn’t hold him, as the Spaniard eased his way around the outside, which gave him the inside line for the next corner. It was a beautifully weighted move.

Moments like this are very significant. It is like the pass Hamilton made on Alonso into Turn 1 at Melbourne in 2007, on his debut he boldly passed his world champion team mate and that set the tone for the season to follow.

Here it is obvious that there is an intense competition between the two men and only one of them can win the title. Massa was slightly faster than Alonso until Sunday, but winning races is about more than being fast.

Massa can point to fuel consumption problems, but he knows that next time he will have to keep Alonso behind him.

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – SAKHIR CIRCUIT – 49 LAPS
1. Alonso Ferrari 1h39:20.396
2. Massa Ferrari + 16.099
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 23.182
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 38.713
5. Rosberg Mercedes + 40.263
6. Schumacher Mercedes + 44.180
7. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 45.260
8. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 46.308
9. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 53.089
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:02.400
11. Kubica Renault + 1:09.093
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:22.958
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:32.656
14. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 1 lap
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 3 laps
17. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth + 3 laps

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263 Comments
  1. Xeven says:

    Great job by the boys in Red, do you think if Hamilton hadnt run wide that he got of fought for second with Massa or Zo towards the end?`

    Also do you think in Oz wil see drivers being much more aggressive with the their tires?

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      I think Lewis could have been a lot closer if he hadn’t lost a place to Rosberg at the beginning. Just illustrates how far JB is off the pace atm. He has to hurry up in getting to grips with his mclaren.

      1. george cowley ci5 says:

        looks bad for button,unless car is 100% perfect he is to slow compared to alonso,vettal.hamilton etc,who can drive around slight problums,hes made a big mistake and should have stuck with messers brawn

      2. Tim Lamkin says:

        Button could not have stayed with Brawn……he was run out to make room for MS…no matter who believes that it is the truth….it was in the works from the beginning…Ross contrived the entire thing! This I know.

  2. Daniel says:

    James – do you think Massa took the corner to tight to the apex (do ward off Lewis), or that Alonso got the better of him off the line? I beleive he simply took the conrner too tight…

  3. Daniel says:

    By the way, wonderful job on the site. Finally, news, not fluff.

    1. Pete Lyons says:

      Amen. Much appreciated, James, just the kind of insight into sides of the sport that interest me, of which I’ve been starved in the “Modern Era”. Keep prowling for us! — Pete Lyons, one-time F1 scribe.

      1. James Allen says:

        Wow – THE Pete Lyons?

  4. Paige says:

    First blood to Ferrari. However, it’s quite soon to be anointing them champions. Hamilton was putting up laps in their ballpark, and McLaren has proven in recent years that it knows how to upgrade a car during a season- perhaps better than anyone.

    In fact- and James, please chime in with your take on this- McLaren’s start to the year reminds me a lot of their start to the 2005 season. They had a very aggressively-designed MP4-20 for a season in which tire changes were banned, and they started the year with perhaps the third or fourth best car on the grid because they weren’t pushing the tires enough. This year, they have an aggressively designed car in a year in which refueling is banned, and judging by comments from key McLaren people after the race, they seem to have some room for pushing the tires more.

    The Red Bull also looks extremely quick. They may have had 1-2 on the grid if Webber hadn’t made a mistake on his Q3 lap, and Vettel would have won if not for the exhaust problem.

    Right now, it looks like it’s going to be Ferrari v. Red Bull v. Hamilton (assuming Button doesn’t pick up his game for McLaren, which he needs to and very quickly) for the title.

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      you mean Alonso v Vettel v Hamilton, Webber is like Button in the sense he can’t find another level. Alonso will have the beating of massa.

      1. Paige says:

        I wouldn’t be so sure about Alonso beating Massa. Massa beat him in qualifying, and his lap times were in Alonso’s neighborhood through the race until he was told to slow and conserve the car at the end. Alonso did get the upper hand this weekend, though, so first blood to him.

    2. Martin says:

      The key point is why is the McLaren light on its tyres – is it a mechanical thing, similar to Ferrari in recent years, or a lack of aerodynamic load? In 2005 I’d favour the former. This year the sector times suggest the McLaren again lacks downforce, as it did all last year. The track nature at Bahrain would appear to play to the McLaren’s current strengths of long straights and few fast corners. Sepang is likely to be better guide for the season than Melbourne – at least it has been traditionally (if it doesn’t rain).

      1. David says:

        Yep, seems like a downforce problem again. I think that leaves McLaren playing catch-up all season, only this time I think Ferrari and Red Bull will have too big a head start and too much investment in the season (with both Vettel and Alonso looking good for contesting the WDC) for McLaren and Hamilton to really get close.

      2. Paige says:

        Well, now we know. According to Whitmarsh, they didn’t run enough downforce in their setup.

  5. F1Outsider says:

    Do you think that with Massa starting on the dirty side of the grid played any part in Alonso passing him? That’s the impression I got.

  6. What happened ? Alonso lucked into a victory, the only overtaking move in the top 8 (after the second corner) was on a stricken vettel . . .New regs ? I think the overtaking committee has a lot to answer for. Today was essentially a massive own goal by the FIA. Probably the dullest race I’ve seen for a long time – suddenly those short sprints & flammable pit stops look ultra exciting ! Let’s hope someone strong arms bridgestone into doing something interesting with the tyres – some engineers reckoned they could have gone a whole race distance on the option alone ! C’mon FIA, sort it out ! !

    1. Anthony says:

      C’mon…

      Alonso overtook Massa
      Rosberg overtook Hamilton
      Hamilton overtook Rosberg
      Barrichello overtook Buemi
      De la rosa overtook Kobayashi
      Button overtook webber
      Sutil and Kubica overtook half the grid

      what was dull about that?

      1. " for sure " says:

        Dull, dull, dull…..I can only think you were watching a different race, luckily I had some paint drying to distract me, otherwise the coma may have been terminal, rather like F1 in fact. We are watching the beginning of the end.

    2. Hendo says:

      I agree James – boring , boring, boring! How about just running the option tyres for the whole race – maybe then we would see 3 or 4 pitstops for each car – which might wake us all up.

      1. Rasco says:

        I’m reserving judgement until we’ve seen a few more races, but I was disapointed with the first race. Before Vettle had the problem, Alonso although looking fast could not get near him to overtake due to the dirty air. Thought the new rules were supposed to get cars closer together?

      2. Ha ha – GOOD idea !

      3. Alonso overtook Massa – 2nd corner, 1st lap
        Rosberg overtook Hamilton – ditto
        Hamilton overtook Rosberg – lucky pitstop
        Barrichello overtook Buemi – outside top 8
        De la rosa overtook Kobayashi outside top 8
        Button overtook webber – lucky pitstop
        Sutil and Kubica overtook half the grid – outside top 8

        I guess after last seasons battles it was a disappointment, haven’t lost the love, just lowered my expectations for Australia !

    3. Kenny says:

      When the only excitement in a race is caused by a spark plug failure something is seriously wrong. I don’t know what the answer is…lose the diffusers?…better tires?…drivers with a bit more cajones?…better tracks? Not more pitstops, I hope.

      Anyone who watched Bahrain and the Brazil IRL race will know where the real racing is, at least for now.

      What a disappointment…..

      1. phil says:

        I too was bored and found the whole thing so dull. Maybe Melbourne will be different.

        I guess we will have to wait until next season to see if the reduction in downforce will make a difference.

        I think Alain Prost is right to think that without refueling the races will improve but not until the diffuser is removed or restricted.

        There was no overtaking apart from the pit stops.

        What a waste of money.

    4. Bim / Sweden says:

      I agree after waiting so long i was disapointed, there was absolutely nothing happening at the front. To bad we couldt se the scraps at the back. What if FIA forced the qualifying odd nr (1,3,5) to have softs and even (2,4,6..)= hard/medium? This would totally change things and force some overtaking and action and it wouldnt be a major change.

      1. Martin P says:

        Perfectly summed up.

        That’s the most entertainment I’ve had relating to F1 in 30 hours.

      2. TM says:

        Well done. I didn’t think it possible but you came with a worse idea than Bernie’s medals.

    5. Nick says:

      I’ve watched every F1 race for the last fifteen years. I was really excited about this race, but got so bored I actually gave up watching an went out! I hope things improve soon. Doesn’t racing have a clue in the name?

  7. Megan says:

    James, I wonder if you can shed any light of the very conservative strategy decisions in today’s race. Considering that after the pit stops all the teams seemed to be running in the 2.00 to 2.01 range for the rest of the race. Seeing that the qualifying laps were 1.54 to 1.55 would it not have made sense to take a gamble, pit with about ten laps to go for new set of softs. The extra pace this would give (at least 3-4secs) would easily cancel out the pitstop time and make overtaking a lot easier. The way I see it is had a few drivers tried this they could have gained a few places and made for a more exciting climax to the race.

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      you lose about 15 seconds to a pit stop so supposing you can lap 3 seconds faster on these tyres it will take you 5 laps to get to the back of the guy, not convinced it would work, esp when you consider traffic etc

    2. Tom (London) says:

      I think you are right but there are some issues that I see, if you stop you need to make up about 30 seconds for the pit stop which means that you will have to run at least 3 seconds a lap faster in those 10 laps and also overtake at least one other car which is quite a tall order. It would only be feasible if before you stopped for a second time you were right behind the car you needed to overtake and the car behind you was at least 30 seconds behind.

      I think if the tyres were a lot softer and degraded faster then we would see more people try your strategy.

    3. Legend2 says:

      Teams also need to consider the traffic situation. This is not a 50 lap drive to see the best time one can get, this is a traffic laden rush hour race. Considering how durable the tyres were, it seems unlikely that an extra pit stop was going to benefit anyone.

    4. lip_iceman says:

      The thing is, the cars wont get 3-4 seconds a lap for the whole final stint – the tyres will go off after a few laps, especially after trying to overtake a few times (following in dirty air, etc).

      1. GLM says:

        and like the Great Murray Walker said – catching someone up is one thing and passing them is another.

        Even Nico in the Merc wasn’t able to pass Vettel in his limping Bull in the final stages…. the Areo on the cars still makes it too hard to overtake easily even when you have a 1sec advantage.

  8. patrick says:

    Good start by ferrari and also good insight by you James..but i think you should shed more light on the top five cars performance…for instance why did Hamilton feel that he could have been near the ferraris had he not lost his position to Roseberg in the starting lap?…why does he think that his pace could have matched the ferraris?…and at some point during the race the Mclaren pit was sending messages to Hamilton to the effect that his lap times were consistantly better than the cars ahead of him?
    and Could the result be the same had ferrari not changed their engines? are we foreseeing reliability issues on ferrari if the engine in Felipee ferrari was effectively being nursed to the finish line in the closing stages of this race?

    1. Anthony says:

      because he matched the pace of the ferraris after he overtook Rosberg

      1. John Z says:

        But did he? Hamilton was going has fast as he could, I think Ferrari were trying to keep the gaps where they were. They’re wasn’t any incentive for Ferrari to push it to the max when they had the 1-2 in the bag. If Vettel doesn’t have his problem, Vettel and Alonso are the top 2, who knows the final order, and I don’t think Hamilton is anywhere near them. Is there a site that has each driver’s lap times for all 49 laps? I keep reading that Hamilton matched the Ferrari’s pace but I have yet to see the lap times.

      2. ALONSO_FERRARI says:

        John Z

        i found the data for the fastest laps. Hamilton wasnt even close to Alonso’s Time

        1 Fernando Alonso 118.287 45
        2 Fernando Alonso 118.879 36
        3 Adrian Sutil 119.393 49
        4 Fernando Alonso 119.406 41
        5 Fernando Alonso 119.448 44
        6 Fernando Alonso 119.477 35
        7 Mark Webber 119.487 45
        8 Fernando Alonso 119.528 37
        9 Lewis Hamilton 119.56 42

  9. AP says:

    The Alonso Masterclass! It was really fabulous :)

    1. Hendo says:

      did you sleep through the first 32 laps?

      1. Lockster says:

        Didn’t you just loved Alonso’s legendary overtake on the crippled Red Bull… Yeah, Awesome!

        Masterclass???? That wouldn’t be the word I would use to describe it…

        Inherited?? Lucky?? Probably closer to the truth.

      2. TM says:

        ha ha ha spot on!!

    2. Bill Day says:

      I agree with AP. FA is shrewd and tactical, he spent entire the race setting himself up to be the first man over the line at the last lap. Horner said Vettel had the race well in hand — not true! FA had him in his sights the whole time. If you need a villain to blame for lack of thrills and chills — blame the spark plug that went off in Vettel’s car. That’s what robbed us of a real on-track battle for the victory.

  10. Rasczak says:

    Would Alonso have got to Vettel had he not had the issue, I don’t think so. I must have seen a different weekend to you James as it was clear to me that the Red Bull was fastest overall, single lap, soft tyre with fuel and Vettel had just got the primes working when he had the problem. OK the Ferrari got them going quicker, but that is exactly the opposite of what people were saying, the Red Bull will shred the tyres, well obviously not.

    Another thought, what were the Ferraris doing starting from second and third on the grid ? As far as I can see from the rules they should have been in the pit lane as they made changes to the car, ie the engine, that are not permitted under Parc Ferme rules. If what they did was legal then it gives a whole new strategy, pick an engine from your 8 as the one you will use in qualifying, and another for the race to keep them fresh.

    1. Nick Someone says:

      I’m not an expert on the rules, but I believe you get one free engine change in the season.

      1. James Allen says:

        Not any more. That’s changed. Now you get 8 engines and can change when you like, but if you change 2x in a weekend you get a 10 place penalty and if you use a 9th engine you get one too

      2. AP says:

        But this means that teams can really have some engines for qualifying and others for the races?

        With the only restriction that quali+race engines = 8 in total?

    2. John says:

      Yep, if they get that car to stay together I think Vettel will be the man to beat. But this Bahrain track was a bit odd, so we will know more in the next few races.

      However – McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull seem to be in a class of their own.

      I do really fear this year will be a huge parade, unless they do something with the tires, etc. I would love to see a modern 60′s style car with proper safety as the rule set for 2011! ;)

    3. khan says:

      I think the rule says 8 engines per car per season. Same thing was done by Vettel last year and he had consumed majority by mid season. There will be a grid penalty every time after 8th and so on.

  11. Silverstoned says:

    James, this is assuming that Alonso would have got past Vittel in any event, whereas I would suggest with respect that SV had it in the bag till his exhaust broke.
    Vittel was king of the road till that point: pole, fastest lap and what would have been an easy win.
    Alonso must be feeling like 2005 all over again.

  12. Cort says:

    Massa wasn’t faster than Alonso until Sunday. Alonso posted the fastest lap of the three days on Saturday in Practice 3, but messed up his final qualifying lap.

  13. Andy C says:

    I was quite interested to hear lewis in the post race discussion on the BBC when he said to dc, you know the mclaren David. In the years I’ve been there we’ve never really had a great rear end on the car (assume he means mechanical grip).

    Interesting he’s being so open on that.

    It was surprising in the mid section they were losing 7/10ths over Ferrari and redbull. In the twisty stuff.

    Bridgestone look to be playing it too safe on tyres again.

    1. Hendo says:

      Did you see the in-car shots from the Mac’s during qualifying? More opposite lock than Sebastian Loeb. Well done to LH for getting to the podium.

  14. nige says:

    could it be possible that alonso opted for 3rd on the grid knowing he had missed pole safe in the knowledge that he would have more grip on that side of the grid? Seems to me that he had been quicker all weekend and wasn’t 400s slower than massa.

    1. GP says:

      Yes, there’s no way he was 4ths slower than Massa. I thought he may have saved his qualifying tires hoping they would give him more performance in the race…

      1. nige says:

        i think you will see more intelligent racers prosper its not all about fastest lap after fastest lap as before and this will make it more interesting to watch.

  15. ani says:

    wasnt vettel saying the same …that he wasnt pushing either …

    if the redbull could manage the soft tyres better , whats the problem in managing hard ones ?

  16. Toni says:

    Thanks for your views on today’s GP James… I thoroughly agree with everything you said and I’d like to add that even though Massa is a fantastic driver, Alonso is made of something different. There are some drivers that are special and the spaniard along with others like Hamilton, Schumacher, Vettell and Kubica are a cut above the rest. I know that many will say that the polish driver isn’t in that league but I feel that if you give Robert a top car, you’ll get excitement aplenty for your money.

    Fernando today was just spectacular and you could sense once he was on the hard rubber that he had that extra something in his pocket. That fastest lap time wouldn’t have been matched by Sebastian and I think that Red Bull’s exhaust problem robbed us from what was a good race, turning into a great show off cat and mouse at mesmerising speeds.

    Alonso really is magic! But it’s still early days!

  17. Andy Davies says:

    What ever you think James (and it’s probably very different being there), todays Grand Prix was a snoozefest.

    The finer technical arts are lost on most people, we don’t care how well a driver is managing the things we can’t see (tyres, temperature, fuel etc.)

    We want to see overtaking and drivers challenging one another on that basis todays race was one of the dullest I’ve seen in the 30 odd years I’ve been following F1

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      And all of the talk about ‘wait for the end when someones tyres have gone’ is rubbish. Bridgestone make the tyre so well that unless the driver is a complete idiot they will probably be alright.

    2. rafa says:

      You let yourself be snoozed too fast. This F1 race has been as any other that we´ve seen in the last years my friend: boooooring: now I can´t blame you for dozing off 30 years ago.

    3. smc says:

      ive seen duller. and most of those races were from 2009

  18. Spark plug ? Everyone else is calling it exhaust…

    1. ranavalona says:

      Not everyone. Check Autosport. They’ve got the spark plug angle.

      1. James Allen says:

        Red Bull announced that it was the spark plug late Sunday night in a clarification note

      2. Freespeech says:

        Is that a spark plug that burn a hole in the car’s bodywork not too far from the exhaust?
        Was it the same spark plug which caused a piece of the Redbull to break away?

  19. Trevor Long says:

    It wasn’t the exciting race I’d hoped for, but on reflection what we’re waiting for is the excitement of the ‘season’ – the actual races wont be any more or less exciting.

    Bring on Melbourne and perhaps a few more GP’s when we’ll see the top of the field get ultra competitive and we’ll start to see some strategy at work, and Schumacher push a little higher into the pack.

    Despite last night’s race, I still think this is going to be one of the most exciting seasons in a long while…

    - And James, Great to see you join the ONEHD commentary team here in Australia

    1. monktonnik says:

      “- And James, Great to see you join the ONEHD commentary team here in Australia”

      Is there any way to pick that up in the UK?

      It was good to hear James asking the questions during the post race press conference.

      1. Lockster says:

        Unfortunately it was just a quick 5 minute summary of the goings on within the paddock etc. It was a good piece, and a nice surprise, but not exactly a make-good for having to put up with the bumbling dribble that Leggard waffles on with – painful!

        If it wasn’t for the incomparable Brundle, I would rather turn off the commentary entirely and try to find an online audio stream, just to listen to someone who knows what they are talking about.

        Actually James, as you would already know, that “pre-race expert” role that you have taken over was previously held by Peter Windsor before his infamous and ill-fated bid to start USF1.

        How well do you know Peter, James?

        Do you know how he is holding up after such a disappointing outcome and do you know what his plans are moving forward?

        I was a big fan of his articles in F1 Racing and was very sad to see his dreams crumble as they did and to see the team subjected to such scorn and ridicule.

      2. James Allen says:

        I know him fairly well but have not had any contact with him since the demise of USF1. That said, there were stories on Sunday night in Bahrain that he is trying to resurrect the project without Ken Anderson

  20. Mac says:

    if we didn’t have this website, there would be nothing interesting or exciting about f1 . . . . that really was a shambles on pretty much every level.

    yes, yes, there might be some elements of interest, but the main thing – RACING – was completely missing.

    f1 needs to do something very quickly to save people switching off after the first lap of each race.

    1. Ross Dixon says:

      what people dont seem to realise is that if you qualify them more then likely things will be boring. Qualifying puts you in order of pace…..pretty much. However taking away the element of different fuel strategies is a disaster. We need a tyre war. We need low fuel qualifying. We need drivers to pick their compound of tyre. We need drivers to pick the length they will go before their first stop. We need to not know when this will be.

      Basically can we go back to 12 lap qualifying with 2 tyre compounds but you can only use 1. That way a one stopper on hard tyres will only come into play on the last stint so something is always happening. F1 worked perfectly well before artificially trying to make it better.

      1. dipietro15 says:

        Amen!

      2. CL says:

        +1. All their crazy rules do is limit everyone to 1 strategy. The teams need to be able to run whatever tires they want and ideally whatevery fuel load they want. Maybe then we’d see drivers pushing to make their strategy work, which is something that’s been lacking at the front lately. There’s been a few like Hamilton at Turkey in 2008 but that’s been rare.

      3. Ross Dixon says:

        Yes and the only reason Hamilton had to do 3 stops in Turkey is because he was wearing his tyres out…..he was forced into it. However in that race we didnt know what was going to happen until nearly the end of the race. I really feel having all the cars on the grip after low fuel qualifying and no park ferme conditions and with a choice of any fuel amouunt with the same compound tyre as quali would result in far better racing. You could have Buttom on p3 with hard tyres going for a one stop but Webber in p4 on 2 stops needing to get past to make his race work. COME ON FIA YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE!

      4. Carl says:

        If u let the drivers qualify on soft and they are able to race on hard it will be an even duller race!!! Example Vettel gets pole on softs then puts on hards for the race and doesn’t pit at all… The hard tyre could have done the whole race distance.

        What u need is for the race to have only the option tyre. Which might last 25 laps so drivers have the option of driving hard and do 2 stops or conservatively and try and do 1.

      5. Ross Dixon says:

        You have misunderstood me. I am talking about the old format where a driver choses one compound after practice to use in both qualifying and the race.

  21. Tom (London) says:

    Hi James

    I have a crazy theory, I think Lewis either has or wants Massa’s seat at Ferrari.

    First Lewis talks about the mistakes he made with Alonso, then in a BBC interview with Button he says that Alonso was the best team mate he ever had. After the race he congratulated Alonso and look genuinely pleased for him and then on the podium his body language with the two Ferrari drivers and specifically Stefano Domenicali was very interesting.

    Or am I just reading too much into things and this is just part of Lewis’s new style?

    Thank you for the great coverage.

    1. russ parkin says:

      i reckon ferrari have eyed hamilton for a long time. i dont think he would go though unless there is another controversial incident like the oz gp last year. or they lost mercedes power. i would be gutted to see it happen. how long is lewis signed too mclaren for? the other thing is maybe its just a genuine gesture from lewis. he gets so much flack from people and its really not fair.

    2. Luke Robbins says:

      Don’t think that

      1 Alonso would allow this

      2 Hamilton wants it, he has his own team and a good one at that

      3 Ferrari would want to risk it after what happened in 07.

    3. TM says:

      I can’t see him partnering Alonso again; i don’t think either of them would do it. Remember that for Alonso, Ferrari wasn’t his dream as he grew up, it was McLaren; Senna’s team. For him to leave his ‘dream’ shows how bad the situation got. Granted a big part of that was with Dennis, but still, I can’t ever see another Hamilton-Alonso pairing.

      I can see Hamilton at Ferrari one day though.

    4. Dale says:

      I’d imagine Lewis would love to take on Alonso again but I don’t think Alonso would ever put himself up against Lewis again.
      In Hamilton’s mind he knows he can beat Alonso whereas Alonso isn’t so sure he could beat Hamilton over a season.
      I think Hamilton is just covering his bases after all should he ever leave McLaren where else would or could he go?

    5. kowalski says:

      cut a little on the grass i would say.

    6. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Santander would probably not allow it. They would rather Alonso has an open goal for him.

    7. Joe says:

      Going to an Alonso-Ferrari team would be a lot different than going to a Hamilton-backed Mclaren team.

      1) Ron would not be pulling strings at the background

      2) Hamilton would be the outsider rather than the other way around, like it was at Mclaren.

      Luca already said that it was not a good idea to pair two top drivers (Kimi with Fernando).

      Besides, Lewis better start learning Italian. Going to a garage where all the mechanics and Alonso talk and joke in Italian would feel a little awkward for him, wouldn’t it?

      Hamilton at Ferrari someday it is possible. Together with Alonso, I seriously doubt it.

  22. Richard Marsh says:

    Hi James,

    How processional did you think todays race was? Did you feel it was a factor it being the first race, with most teams still learning and in effect, struggling with their cars in the second half of the race, and thus not making any progress or attacking people in front,

    or do you agree with the general consensous, that the bridgestone tyres held on very well, didn’t suffer a drop of in performance,and so there was no need to pit again…

    and if so, do you think bridgestone need to bring more extreme, more racey tyres, or should teams be forced to make at least two stops?

    1. Brace says:

      They shouldn’t be forced to do anything.
      Use a compound you want and pit if and when you want.
      That’s diversity.

    2. Ian says:

      Bridgestone and the FIA need to stop forcing the teams to use both compounds. The choice to try three stints on the option tyre or one long one on the prime should have been there. Instead all the teams were forced into the same strategy.

  23. Jesus says:

    “Massa was slightly faster than Alonso until Sunday, but winning races is about more than being fast.”

    I don´t think so, Massa was only faster in Q3, when he did a fantastic lap and Alonso an average one. During the FP Alonso had the upper hand always.

    1. John says:

      I would say Massa was more consistent looking at his times – he seemed to have more 2.00′s compared to Alonso. But it was just practice, but to me he looked faster over the entire stint for example.

      I did find it annoying when Ferrari was on the radio to Massa basically telling him to back off. What makes better press, Massa winning after taking a huge hit to the head, or Alonso winning his first race for Ferrari? It all looked to easy at the start, but right now I am wearing tinfoil on my head.. ;)

    2. kowalski says:

      but remember. What happened in q3, was the same as what happened most of the time during 2007. Alonso was faster during the hole weekend, up until the decisive moment on q3. Hamilton put a perfect lap, that alonso could put it together. He is just not as good on a flyer, but because f1 is turning into a 2 hours of le mans, he could well be world champion without being the fastest out there.

  24. Pass0 says:

    Not a classic race, but still interesting to see how this new system will work out. I think everyone should give the new format a chance for a few races, and then re-evaluate; like FOTA are doing.

    Oh, and I never realised that you, James, were the interviewer at the press-conference. Is that a new thing or have I not been paying attention?

    1. Rich C says:

      It used to be Peter Windsor.

  25. kowalski says:

    massa is still fast, but has he lost his killer’s instict? I remember at barcelona 2007. He didn’t leave the door open like today, and even pushed alonso out. i don’t expect him to do that now, but he looks to me like too nice to be world champion.

  26. Racergil says:

    Dear James
    Aside from a disturbingly boring race, a couple of observations spring to mind. The first is that the race result bodes very badly for Massa. Not only was he clearly dominated at the start by Alonso, but the latter accomplished what he needed to, in order to cement the team behind him. He had to win Ferrari’s first race, and the bonus was that it was also the first race of the season. He will be glorified.
    The other one was that Schumacher’s performance today bodes badly for Nico. While it was without any excitement, it was flawless, and Nico has to worry about not being able to pull away from a guy who has not raced in 3 years. In fact I think Shumi’s race pace was better. Any thoughts from you on this?

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      I think nico actually did well.

      I see your point though, if that is MS starting level then pretty soon he will be ahead of Nico, you just know he will get the team working in his direction as well.

    2. HowardHughes says:

      Thank you! Finally someone else points out that Schumacher actually did a pretty awesome job, considering he’s 41 and this is his first race in 3 years! Nico couldn’t extend the lead, couldn’t maximise on the gap he’s earned in qualifying, and basically, for all his well-deserved reputation, the younger man couldn’t stamp his authority in any definitive way on the returning rusty veteran.

      If Michael can level peg his highly-rated teammate on race 1, never mind finishing ahead of the reigning world champion, then I’d say he could be gearing up for a devastating display of skill and comeback glory during the season.

      Schuey said afterwards that it had been ‘fun’ – rubbish. My mum pointed out that there was no fun for him at all today; he was stung, and it will only have spurred him on. No way he won’t be eating, living and breathing that car for the weeks to come to force himself back on top. He was irritated today, and that will only have made him more dangerous.

      1. James Allen says:

        Schumacher played a blinder on Sunday. I’ll analyse his race soon

      2. HowardHughes says:

        Cheers James, top man.

    3. Chuck says:

      I see it from the opposite way. Rosberg has marked the territory and has done a better weekend, Friday to Sunday.

      I can feel the pain Rosberg has been suffering since he got Michael as team mate, and today he has shown the world -and the team- that he is up to the job. Kudos to him.

    4. Peter says:

      What an idiotic comment. Did you not see the race results? Not only did Nico out pace Schumi in practice, but also qualifying and then outraced him as well. Kind of a trifecta in my book. Nico has already proven his mettle in race one. Oh, and did I tell you Nico’s fastest lap was four tenths faster than Schumi’s. That makes it a quadfecta for Nico. Please save us from your ignorance with your next comment.

      1. Sam says:

        I think you both miss the point.

        What he meant is if the first race of MS after 3 years off layoff is THAT close NICO will have to worry about how much he will improve.

        Because just like everything that takes skills, F1 takes practice.
        But the differnce is that unlike things like Golf, you can only practice in real competition really.
        Alonso said it will take him 3 races to get used to a new car.

        Oh and don’t forget he beat reigning world champion and Mark Weber in argubly an inferior car.

        If people call him a bad driver just because his young teammate beat him in his first race then, both Jenson and Mark should retire immediately.

      2. Martin P says:

        More than a little harsh… and biased it seems.

        The best Nico could do was four tenths ahead of a 41 year old who’s not been in a car for 3 years and started behind him on the grid… that really isn’t that impressive.

        Also the four tenths could be explained by Schumacher having Button & Webber up his chuff so he wasn’t able to drive as conservatively in terms of track position or tyres as Rosberg was in free air.

        Did Rosberg beat him? Yes.

        Did he beat him emphatically? Hell no.

        It’s a long (and seemingly boring) season. MS has Nico well in his sights.

      3. Peter says:

        So the best Nico could do was to beat Shumi by 4/10ths? Not enough for you? Here’s a comment from none other than James Allen himself in the post above: “Massa, who has led the most laps of any driver on this track, outpaced Alonso by quite a large margin – 4/10ths”. So James Allen thinks 4/10ths is a large margin and you do not. You must know something James Allen does not. My apologies. Nico kicked Shumi’s ass, plain and simple. Out practiced, out qualified, out raced and fastest lap. What part of this don’t you get?

      4. Martin P says:

        Peter, the bit I don’t get is why you’re so upset?

        Your post was about Rosberg & Schumacher, not Alonso & Massa.

        The former was a battle between a young driver of several years experience and a 41 year old who hasn’t sat in a car for 3 years.

        The latter is a battle between a 2 times world champion and someone racing for the first time in 8 months after a life-threatening head injury. But 4/10ths was a large margin considering they were both out in fairly free running and Massa wasn’t exactly having to cover his arse in the same way Schumacher was for most of the race.

        All four drivers were impressive given their own personal circumstances. But because of those circumstances it also means nothing is as emphatic as you seem to be ranting.

        Rosberg beat Schumacher. So what? It’s race 1, there’s a long way to go and Schumi made a more impressive fist of his situation than Rosberg did. What part of that don’t you get?

      5. HowardHughes says:

        From both this comment, and your retort below, I can only conclude that your anti-Schumacher bias has led you to be extremely ill-mannered.

        Or perhaps you always were, and your bias is merely incidental.

        Either way it would be pleasant if you could maybe consider upping your courtesy quota to the same level as the rest of us – having no regard for Michael Schumacher is perfectly tolerable, having no manners is not.

      6. kowalski says:

        be nicer or you’ll be banned from the site. I was. Nico did a good job last sunday, but schumacher is not at his best, let’s see if he’ll kick his ass in the middle of the season when he is at his best. i doubt it, but it’s just my opinion.

      7. Racergil says:

        Actually Peter, I don’t understand your reaction at all. I was merely making an observation. If you really analyze Nico and Michael’s performance on the sheer result, you could also determine that MS started 7th and finished 6th, so he gained a position in passing Mark Webber and stuck there. Nico started 5th, and finished 5th after having owned 4th place and relinquishing it. MS finished the race a mere 4 seconds behind Nico with the full knowledge that passing was impossible. Nico could not pass a stricken Vettel for 4th place. I didn’t say that he was no good. I just said that it doesn’t bode well for him.

  27. Dave c says:

    Congratulations to Alonso for his debut win for Ferrari, the point I have to make is I am sick of the British press and public not giving FA the credit he deserves! If it was Hamilton the won the race you would never have people flooding the forums with complaints about a boring race.

    James you say Massa was quicker all weekend until the race which is clearly not true, the only time Massa has been quicker than Alonso this weekend was Q3.

    On balance Vettel should of won the race and the boy is the real deal just like he showed in japan and abu dhabi last season where he out dueled Hamilton in straight fights with similar pace cars, he is the future but Alonso should get credit where credits due and has been better than KR from what I can see.

    1. Tim Lamkin says:

      At least FA will show up for every race ready to race…Kimi is very fast but not always willing to give it 140% FA will…

      1. Panya says:

        Totally agree with you – FA will squeeze everything he can from the car. Great job Nando.

    2. dipietro15 says:

      Agreed. I think this whole “boring race” angle is only being propagated by the British press to push the rules in Hamilton’s favor and away from Alonso and his ability to manage a car and tires over the course of a race.

      The biggest error in the rules was the requirement that the cars pit at all – this two-tire-use rule is the real source of any problems. I would have liked to see the ability to choose between going without stopping on a harder compound and stopping once or twice on a softer compound (or both).

      How would adding another required stop accomplish anything? Everyone would finish the race on the soft tire. This would be just as predictable. At least now, there’s a chance some cars will be on different tires at the end of the race. I simply think this race played out in a special way that didn’t allow the rules to show that they can work – eg) Sutil failing to demonstrate his strategy and Vettel having a problem.

      Give it a chance.

      1. James Allen says:

        Wow! That is some conspiracy theory..

      2. Martin P says:

        Eh? So everyone posting comments on here is a British journalist masquerading as regular blog contributors to help Lewis Hamilton win again?

        I suppose Bernie is really Elvis Presley too?

      3. James Allen says:

        …on a grassy knoll

      4. monktonnik says:

        Funny, he always reminds me of Patrick Troughton.

      5. Tim Lamkin says:

        YEA…so now you know the truth….

      6. Rich C says:

        Ok, from a non-Brit pov, it was a boring race. Fuel Ecomedy racing just like the old Indy cars.
        And if you don’t think so why would you suggest all those silly “fixes”?
        Troll.

      7. NorCap says:

        I’ve always been a Ferrari supporter and recently an Alonso fan as well yet I found the race rather tedious myself. Considering the hype and great expectations for this season, Sunday’s race was a monumental disappointment.

    3. Andy says:

      “Alonso should get credit where credits due and has been better than KR from what I can see”

      Their Ferrari tenure can hardly be compared to each other yet. Kimi’s start was quite good as well, hat trick with pole, fastest lap and a clear victory. Not to take anything away from Alonso, he clearly has settled in well at Ferrari.

      1. James Allen says:

        Not taking anything away from Kimi’s debut win but remember Massa had a problem in qualifying and was out of contention

      2. F1ART says:

        Yes and he had a problem this time too,
        Alonso in the other car.

      3. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Best Ferrari debut win has to be Mansell 1989!

      4. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

        The difference in race analysis between a fan and JA is mainly that some people are either a blind or anti fan of some particular driver/team so that they are capable of putting anybody down in words and JA actually does some research based on the lap times/rules and every other factor. I’m a Ferrai supporter. I also don’t support McLaren at any stage. However, I don’t support Alonso either. But this discussion is crazy. Yes JA, Massa did have a serious problem (gear box I believe, I was there) in Melbourne, 2007. I don’t know what sort of comparison you guys are coming up with between Kimi & Fernando. Massa is certainly capable of winning the championship as much as Alonso or Hamilton. I’m a huge critic of Hamilton. But still I find it amusing that somebody managed to come up with a conspiracy theory. If that is the case, Alonso’s championship in 2005 is either a fluke or another conspiracy to get rid of Schumi/Ferrari from the top spot after years of domination. Even as a Schumacher fan I believe that’s not the case. So please give me a break, this race is a result of very bad judgement by FIA. Nothing else

  28. Alistair Blevins says:

    Question is, does patience merit a place in F1?

    I’d rather see impulsive wheel to wheel racing, rather than the long drawn out affair we saw today.

    However, the season is still young and one must have a degree of faith in the powers that be to revive the show.

    2010 still promises so much! Now it’s time to deliver.

    1. Satish says:

      Wheel to wheel racing would be great and what we all want, but the general consensus is that the following car is too much affected by the dirty air from the car it’s following when up close.

      As long as this fact remains (thanks FIA!), there is simply no scope for close dueling at least between the top cars; though we did see the higher performing Force India and Renault blitzing through the tail end of the field on their fight back to the front.

      It’s also well known that you need

      1. Satish says:

        Sorry, disregard the floating line at the end.

  29. phil says:

    Personally i recon this no refueling is boring and for the sake of the sport bring it back. With refueling the cars looked faster, took more risks, and pushed to overtake. More powerslide, lock ups and dancing on the edge of adhesion. Pre 94 it was good to watch because cars could overtake, mechanical grip was premium not anymore. Schumi and hamiltons comments said it all.

    We have a problem now whereby drivers will sit back until 10 laps to go, the car with the best tryes will attack. Alonso would have on vetell today. So you have to watch an 1hr and 1/2 of racing, before action, This is a joke.

    I personally think the need to make it a rule there must be a min of 2 stops and must take place in the first half and second half of the race. And not under safety car.

  30. Morris Mao says:

    The difference between the 2007 and this year is: at the beginning of 2007 season, Alonso did not expect that Hamilton would be his main rival, what he thought in the first race was fighting Ferraris for the Malaren, his fighting with Ferraris gave Hamilton that opportunities. That is one of the lessons Alonso had learnt from that season.

    But, this season, he knows Massa is his main rival, I do not think Massa will get Hamilton’s chance.

  31. Thalasa says:

    I’ve been looking at various drivers’ records (Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher, Vettel, Massa), and only Alonso and Schumacher have more wins than poles.
    Does that mean that they are not the fastest guy on a single lap, or that they feel more comfortable setting things up for the race against going all out for the quali?

    What do you think?

    1. Satish says:

      Interesting observation! One way of looking at it would be as the only drivers to consistently win even when not from pole The naysayers would simply use this to bash (like is happening now with “Oh! Alonso just inherited the win, same as in 2005, blah blah…).

    2. Ajay says:

      Actually, before qualifying rules were changed from the 12 lap shootout (pre 2003) Schumi’s scored 50 poles and 64 wins. The bulk of his wins are probably a reflection of him not having the fastest car over a single lap, but having the nous to overcome his car.

  32. Tim Lamkin says:

    “Before we get carried away in negativity about the new style, we should remember that in the years prior to the re-introduction of refueling in 1994 the races were about being cagey, especially in the turbo era and Alain Prost made an art form of it”

    Finally a voice of reason…one race wand we want to change everything….good JA to bring some sense to this all….let it play out.

    1. Duncan Snowden says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

      I think it’s important to remember the circumstances surrounding the introduction of refuelling 16 years ago. There was a crisis of confidence in the sport: the World Champion had gone off to Indycars – which had mandatory refuelling – and there was a real feeling that the series was a genuine threat to F1′s popularity worldwide.

      I always felt – even before it was introduced to F1 – that fuel stops were a very artificial way of generating excitement, and let’s be honest: the shouts of “boring” never stopped throughout the refuelling era anyway.

      We’re back to a much more subtle form of racing. “Poker at 200mph,” as I think Murray used to call it. Give it time. As James says, Alonso seems to have the measure of the new strategy already. It might take a race or two for the others to catch on.

      Certainly it may need some tweaks here and there, and I can’t help feeling we need a tyre war for this style of F1 to work “properly”. It’s hard to see how that’ll happen with even Bridgestone pulling out, though.

      1. StefMeister says:

        Don’t forget that the reason for the reintroduction of refueling was to “Spice up the show” based on dull races at the very front in 92/93.

        However what they failed to consider when they went with fueling for 1994 is that the biggest reason for the dullness at the front was that the 2 Williams had a huge advantage over the rest in those 2 years. There wer etimes when the 2 Williams had a 2 second a lap advantage over the 3rd place car because of all there advanced electronics.

        They had already banned the driver aids for 1994 & I always felt the racing would have improved just because of that.

        If you look at the overtaking stats, You see a massive drop in On-Track overtaking from the start of 1994 & its never gone back up. 392 total passes in 1993, 289 in 1994 & that was the lowest number of passes in a season thats recorded on this site.

        http://www.cliptheapex.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=822

        Certainly looking at stats refueling DID NOT produce better racing.

        BTW something intresting in those stats, Look at how refueling affected the passing at Monaco. 29 passes in 1993, 3 in 1994.

      2. Duncan Snowden says:

        Heh! I’d forgotten all that; I used to make exactly the same argument. That very Monaco stat used to be part of my ammunition in any discussion about refuelling.

    2. Adron Gardner says:

      Agreed. One race in and already time for a rulebook mutiny? How quickly people forget.

      Senna and Prost often won from pole with little dicing in between. They introduced refueling in 1994. Now they take out refueling.

      Whatever tweaks are made should be done carefully. In NASCAR, a supposed fan friendly sport, 40 cars run around a circle in one procession for 4 hours. I think F1 is much more interesting even in the current state.

  33. alex petrov says:

    Perfect winner just in a wrong team. “Thanks” Ron Dennis for this

    1. kowalski says:

      he must be thinking the same. He knew at the end of 2007, that he would have to fight him in the future. the future is now.

  34. Dale says:

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……..

    Only a true fan will bother commentating on the bore F1 served us today.
    Hamilton was clearly ahead of one of the Ferrari’s at the start & the on-board camera clearly showed the Ferrari driver (Massa I thi9nkl) driving Hamilton off the road & in so doing causing a chain reaction which allowed Rosberg to overtake him, would anything had happened if Hamilton had done the same to the Ferrari & why do you make no reference to this in your report above?
    Also it was clear that Webber overshot his grid box by a meter why was not action taken on this or how about his oil smoke-bomb, surely this was bloody dangerous to say the least.
    All in all though what a boring race made even worse by a not very good TV race director & poor graphics.

    1. Brace says:

      I take it you hate Alonso? :)

    2. rafa says:

      I take ot you are a true F1 fan.

    3. Jason C says:

      I agree very much with your comments here, other than the Massa-Hamilton ones. What the hell is going on with the graphics? I could hardly follow what was going on with the race. Thumbs down for them.

      Overtaking looks even more impossible than ever, with e.g. Webber stuck behind Button, Alonso stuck behind Vettel. And Bahrain isn’t one of the more difficult circuits to pass on.

      What’s worse is that everyone was on roughly the same strategy. So thumbs down for the refuelling ban.

      And why was Webber able to start his race a metre ahead of where he was supposed to be? In what universe is that fair? Prost was supposed to add credibility to the stewards; was he working from home or something? So thumbs down for the stewards.

      On the positive side, congrats to Massa on his return, and well done to Chandhok for having the cojones to get out there in an untested car. And I like the bigger cars.

      1. Freespeech says:

        Yes Massa did good but trying to follow what little action there was on the TV was useless, whoever was directing this race didn’t do a very good job & as for the graphics ******** come on this is F1 the most technological sport in the world!!!
        I too thought Both Webber’s starting position & his Redbull oil plume should have been investigated and punished, I think both Kubica & Sutil’s race was ruined as a result.
        The no refueling is the problem, it’s the cars not being able to overtake, too many rules, I say set the engineers free & they’ll come up with solutions. SET THE ENGINEERS FREE.

      2. Rob says:

        I think the fact that he didn’t get punished was great – and I’m giving credit to Alain Prost.

        Webber was too far forward in his pit box but he did not gain an unfair advantage at the start of the race.

        The oil plume was unfortunate (particularly for Kubica) but seeing that was probably the most exciting part of the race! Everything after that was dull

    4. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

      Mate I just about gave up on F1 after witnessing the biggest joke in years. Mark Webber commented about the rule changers, I quote, “why do they keep dicking with it?” But as a Ferrari fan this is the first time ever in my life I didn’t have any feelings about the race as you can imagine why from all the reactions in last 24 hours. Anyway, after reading your comments I looked at the Massa/Hamilton thing again. If you look closely Massa did have the line not to let Hamilton pass. Anyway, I don’t think even you cared much about that by the time the race was half way through.

      I better mention another thing, ‘the BBC coverage gotten worse this year.’ Most of the race I was stuck watching Lotus vs Virgin scraps until somebody retires. Even if there were not much action during the race apart from Vettel’s Redbull giving up on him, I personally expected a bit more up front and tyre degradation or aero action in super slowmo camera to keep me awake.

      1. Rob says:

        FOM dictates the world feed, so the BBC give the coverage they are supplied.

        FOM graphics have changed for the sake of changing – no improvement was required as far as grpahics is concered. There was a heavy bias for onboard shots with Webber I thought (even if I am a fan of his)

  35. Kazzy says:

    Good job Massa, with less problems you’ll take victory man.

    1. TM says:

      Yeah great on him, he did an amazing job considering.

      1. NorCap says:

        Agreed!

  36. Ginger says:

    So we have 4 WDC and 4 teams that should be challenging for wins. MSC back from retirement and we are served up this!

    I have read comments today on the BBC 606 site saying F1 thanks but no thanks, I would rather watch the grass grow!!!! These are sports fans that watched the race today and didn’t see any racing.

    Lets face it you can see the problem. I know that James has suggested that work should be done by Bridgestone and I cannot believe that this can be ignored by FOTA or Bernie.

    We need more racing and soon.

  37. russ parkin says:

    what the hell is going on with jason burtton? he needs to get up to speed or he will be unemployed. he blamed everything except himself today. lewis is going to really embarass him at this rate. he needs to sort his act out. mclaren will not winn a constructors for the next few years with a dead weight second driver.

  38. Michael Balthazar says:

    I think Hamilton had a good comment as well as Fernando during the post-race interviews and it reminded me of something Seb said yesterday in the post-quali interview. The drivers have to manage the car but it also means they have to pick and choose when to attack. This was the way it was in the Senna and like James said, it’s a big reason that Alain Prost became the champion that he is. He was able to manage the power of his car and knew when to attack and when not too.

    I am reminded of a Monaco 1988 when Prost was far behind Senna and Prost unleashed a series of quick laps in an attempt to make Senna respond and overdo it. The gamble worked, Senna overdid it into Portier, and Prost went on for the win. I was only a year old at the time but I remember reading the stories and I have watched the race. It was a brilliant piece of psychological driving from Prost and I hope we see things like that in the future.

    Its a shame we don’t know if Seb was holding anything to be able to respond to Alonso’s attack, but I think that Seb was just trying to manage the gap and manage the tires. It would of been very exciting to see them actually have a chance to battle it out. You could see Seb checking his mirrors at every opportunity as Alonso was starting to close the gap. I think SV also did a good job at being able to limit the damage only to 4th.

    Dissapointed Rosberg didn’t push harder to overtake him though…

    1. herowassenna says:

      Funny funny man…
      1 year old and reading the reports?
      Senna outqualified Prost by 2 seconds, maybe the best lap ever in an F1 car.
      He took off in the lead and Berger jumped Prost. When Prost finally got past Berger, he put in some fast laps, and Senna responded by pulling away. Mclaren then told the drivers to slow down and conserve the cars, but Senna was 50 odd seconds up the road.
      It’s been recorded in interviews that Senna had been in a special groove all weekend and slowing down actually disrupted his concentration and he went off. Other interviews from mechanics suggest that he had a slow puncture. I guess we’ll never know the full truth.
      But don’t ever believe that Prost beat Senna there, Senna beat himself. Which is why he stayed in his flat for hours later, and was never beaten again in Monaco.
      His Monaco record, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993.

      1. Michael Balthazar says:

        I wasn’t 1 when I read the reports. It was when i first started to become an F1 fan when I was 10. I’m a huge Senna fan and my knowledge of that Monaco event came from reading a couple of Senna’s bio… In any case I was just trying to make a point that yes Senna beat himself but it was in response to pressure from Prost. You’re right, having to slow down to manage the pace and then speed up is what did Senna in, but he only had to speed up again due to Prost’s pressure. But yah okay you’ll right we’ll never know. Please try not to be condescending next time, just because I was an infant doesn’t mean I didn’t watch videos of the race when I started to become and F1 fan. I never got to see Senna race while he was alive so i’m envious of you, please try not to be a jerk.

  39. Luke Robbins says:

    Awfully boring race, although i feel that could be partly down to the track. Massive let down considering the build up and all the excitement of the fans, well it was for me anyway.

    Really looking forward to Aus, usually produces a good race.

    James is it you who asks the questions in the post quali/race press conferences? Sounds like you anyway….

  40. phil says:

    Prost may have made an art form of being cagey. I did not tune in today to watch people being cagey. I wanted an exciting race. I did not see one. I am a viewer. I am fickle. There are other things to do on Sunday.

    All the analysis and blah blah is irrelevant. F1 MUST make exciting races or die.

    You know what makes me laugh? I am no f1 expert yet when I heard of the rule changes I knew they were absolutely stupid. If Oz doesn’t prove me wrong I am outta here.

    Fairweather fan? Or someone sick of seeing idiots ruining a great sport? You decide.

    1. HowardHughes says:

      Tune in in 2 weeks time to see what Phil gets up to next time!!!

      1. phil says:

        lol. ok I admit it I’m bluffing there’s no way I’ll stop watching. But I am very cross…

  41. yos says:

    Today’s race showed that this year F1 will be more of a strategy game that pure racing, it was all about who looks after his tyres and brakes, who pits first or whatever, i wonder what pleasure can one gets to go and watch a race where there are no commentators and pundits to explain how a race is unfolding and the strategies in question put by teams.

    1. Jomy John says:

      The crazy is thing is: they expect us to pay about 20,000 indian rupees for a ticket to watch non-existent action. I can buy a second hand car and play demolishing derby and have my money spent well ;)

    2. Rich C says:

      You call that “strategy?”

      Just like the Indy 500 – a high speed cruise with the object of just staying on the same lap as the leader, and tweaking the car at each stop, then a sprint at the end.
      We could just fast fwd to the last 10 laps of the race or so!
      I’ll be out mowing the grass – phone me when theres 10 laps to go!

  42. Fuller says:

    I’d like to re-iterate a question someone asked earlier – how come Ferrari were allowed to change their engines under parc ferme?

    And my two cents is that vettel would have won without the problem, only about a lap before the engine problem we were talking about how the ferraris might be overheating and alonso was pulling out of vettels hot air, which was only going to kill off his tyres over time! Last year there was so much talk of ‘catching is one thing passing is another’ and how a car had to be a second a lap faster to overtake, well, surely it’s arguable about which car was faster, but there’s no way the Ferrari was a full second quicker!

    1. James Allen says:

      Rules allow that now.

    2. Tim Lamkin says:

      Check the fastest laps

  43. Jasper says:

    Hi James, excellent coverage over the weekend! Thanks very much!

    Do you know what the Ferraris and Vettel’s lap times were through the last stint? I’m interested in the comparison of the long run pace of Vettel vs Alonso before Vettel’s problem and then what Alonso’s pace was once he got past Vettel? The question is was the Red Bull a match for Ferraris long run pace or were the Ferraris effectively getting held up by Vettel? I hope they were a match, otherwise we might be heading for a Ferrari whitewash.

    Obviously in the first stint on the softs Vettel was faster, but what was the story in the second stint?

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari was faster on the hard tyre

      1. Freespeech says:

        With respect you DON’T know how Vettel would or could have gone on hard tyres if his car hadn’t let him down so your statement isn’t tested.

      2. Alex Petrov says:

        Just check laptimes before Vettel’s problem with spark plug.

      3. 123 says:

        exactly … james are we gonna see a reply for that

        how do u know … if the redbull could manage soft tyres better y cant it manage the hards too ( because the hard stint is longer ? , still u cant put it to that )

        these days in f1 , once u r in the lead everyone cuts revs and cruise once the pitstops are done.

      4. Jasper says:

        Thanks for answering that James! It certainly looked it the way Alonso closed down that 5 second gap so quickly and then I guess he planned to sit back out of the dirty air till those last 10 laps. By the way great job in the press conference, you asked all the right questions. Mainly what Alonso was planning for the end of the race, I would have also have liked to know if it was him who called his pitstop, I’m guessing he did.

      5. Jasper says:

        Yes James, I’ve just seen the lap time comparisons for myself, before Vettel’s problem and Alonso was sitting about a second back from Vettel they were both lapping in the mid 2:00s. Then when Vettel’s problem hit the pace obviously dropped to a mid 2:02s, the next lap after Alonso got past Vettel, Alonso did a high 1:58s, this was when he pulled out the 5 seconds on Massa, partly due to the Brazilian’s problem. Then Alonso continued to lap consistently in the mid 1:59s apart from setting a low 1:58s Fastest Lap. Judging from the data Alonso could have run consistent mid 1:58s if he’d needed to. So yeah it’s pretty clear from the data the Ferrari was getting held up by the Red Bull on that long hard tyre stint. Unfortunately for the other teams it appears Ferrari had pace to spare. :(

  44. P Byrne says:

    We knew that we had to do 35 or 36 laps with the tyres. I was waiting the time to attack Vettel, maybe waiting for the last 10 or 12 laps. But suddenly he had a car problem

    Alonso’s race was very canny I think. Whilst Massa and Vettel seemed to be pumping in fastest laps in the early part of the race, he seemed to just maintain the gap. When Vettel slowed he was in great shape tyre-and-consumption-wise to open up an insurmountable lead.

    1. monktonnik says:

      You could argue that Button’s race was planned in a similar way, only he was far too conservative and ultimately that and his poor quailfying decided his fate.

      This is obviously what it takes to win, but I though we were going to be seeing cars on knackered tyres being overtaken towards the end of the race. I hope Melbourne will produce some more of that type of racing.

  45. Peter says:

    This is the most boring F1 race I’ve ever watched (rabid fan since 2002). The new rules are a complete disaster. No racing, no overtaking. I want to watch racing, not a parade of fast cars and the world’s best drivers in a fuel and tire conservation contest. I may have watched my last race this season. BIG FAIL!

  46. Cabby says:

    Did not seem like a real physical challenge for the drivers, maybe they are so superfit, but MS with his 41 looked very fresh and relaxed after the race, as if he had been for a walk in park.

    Really, this might be F1, but not as we know it… or want it….

  47. Martin P says:

    Nothing to do with Ferrari, but I thought you might like to see Planet-F1′s comments tonight on the BBC coverage today on their “Winners & losers” spot;

    BBC Coverage
    Already I’m fed up with Jonathan Leggard artificially raising his voice into a crescendo of forced excitement as the winner approaches the chequered flag. To be fair, the excellent James Allen found it difficult. Murray Walker, though nowhere near as competent as Allen, was naturally excited and made commentaries believable.

    Nice words and long overdue.

  48. Nevsky says:

    The tyres are too good, the cars too reliable.
    But instead of artificially tampering, let’s have KERS back. McLaren should announce now that they will re-introduce their KERS next year.
    That would shake things up, even if there are other measures planned to make for better racing.

  49. CJ the 2cnd, probably... says:

    Its a relief to find that I am not alone in my observation that this race was DULL, very DULL. I don’t like pitlane fires and derive no excitement from them as hinted at by one contributor (I have worked in pitlanes) so I support the demise of race refuelling. But I do enjoy good overtaking moves, positioning, outbraking, out-thinking, all that sort of stuff. The overtaking interest in this race came from drivers queueing up to drive past the stricken leader, it just doesn’t get my juices flowing. We need simple, enforcable rules – narrower tyres, fuel quantity restrictions, blindfold Schumacher, that sort of thing……!

  50. Dave c says:

    Exactly! Good point.

  51. John Z says:

    The problem for McLaren is that Ferrari, Red Bull & Mercedes will also be upgrading their cars. None of these teams will be standing still. Ferrari & Red Bull have both said they will copy McLaren’s rear wing concept. If Ferrari had that on the car today, Alonso would have left Massa & Hamilton for dead. The F10 is aerodynamically superior to the MP4-25. If it would have had the extra top speed in sectors 1 & 3, it would have been a boat race.

    1. Jonathan Chan says:

      May I remind you that Mclaren developed a dog of a car last season to win two races. The Mp4-25 wasn’t set up to accomodate what was a a very bumpy and tricky middle sector.

      Plus the Mp4-24 came home a solid 4th in last years Bahrain GP, yet it was disaster every where else before the Nurburgring upgrade…

      Lewis was as quick as the Ferraris in sector 1 and 3, different cars for different circuits… I suspect Mclaren will challenge for victory in Melbourne but are still little behind the ultimate pace…

  52. Adron Gardner says:

    Red Bull seem to have some sort of reliability bad luck. Gear box, driveshaft, engines and now spark plugs. There are always excuses for losing and reasons for winning.

    Well deserved victory for Alonso. Getting the car to the finish is a good part of the battle.

  53. Legend2 says:

    Hey dog,

    Let’s not kid ourselves. In the turbo era, the drivers could adjust the turbo boost. However, the more you used your tubros the more fuel you used. So there was actually some interesting tactics in the turbo era.

    Yesterday’s race would have to rate as one of the most boring in living memory. It’s interesting how the FIA said that refuelling was banned to encourage overtaking and spice up the show. Exactly the same reasons refuelling was introduced in 1994.

    I think I speak for the majority of F1 enthusiasts, F1 fans, F1 part timers and the general public: The ban on refuelling is a failure. It appears the only way around this is to introduce some new style tyres which degrade super fast – and then people are forced into a decision, whether to pit for new tyres or stay on their existing ones. Jenson Button for one, would surely be in favour of this.

  54. Robert Powers says:

    Back in the turbo age,a non-initiated friend watched a broadcast for a while then asked “why don’t they try to pass each other?” to which I was obliged to reply “They are!As hard as they possibly can!”In Moto GP it is easier to see the effort put forth week in and week out.In automobiles it is not so obvious,and they don’t even take their hands off the wheel anymore.I hear these complaints about NASCAR too,boring races.Racing is where it’s at for me.The only time I am bored is when forced(at gunpoint)to watch a movie or television show.Please,if you can’t handle F1 2010,go watch something geared to “excite” you and leave auto racing alone.There you can have a nice contrived ending geared to make you turn around and give them more money.Here there is no such guarantee.Racing is an experiment,with a solution- a result.Massa could win if we reheld that event again.It could be even more boring(Vettel flag to flag),or be a barn burner like the races coming up after Canada almost surely will be.The driver is more important now,and this is the World Driving Championship.So I am not phased by a return to what I fell in love with originally forty years ago.

    1. Jomy John says:

      ermm… If I and the others leave auto racing alone, dont think the sport would survive. Companies are putting millions onto this sport not to drive fans like us away?? Dont think any team or driver is in formula1 but for the money. So they need us and we need action. Either they shape up or they’re the ones that are gonna have to shut shop not “we” the paying customers. ITs advertised as the fastest cars in the world with the fastest drivers. Maybe it is the case, but I didnt come away watchin the race unfold that it was the fastest cars nor the drivers driving FAST!!!!

      1. Robert Powers says:

        They drive for the hope of spraying bubbly all over the Rainiers domain.The FIA need not worry about new fans as we move into a century where technological sports will rule.Of course the cars are fast,and the way they are driven is fast.In 1988 there wasn’t a pass for the lead on track until Canada in June,and even that was a Alphonse and Gaston affair.We were not bored.Take the turbos away,look how “slow” they are.We were not bored.If it’s processional,we know there will be a time when it isn’t.And it can come sooner,more than later.

      2. Jomy John says:

        In 1988, the tickets weren’t costing 300 pounds, was it? FIA needs to pay attention to new fans. I doubt whether even 10% of the paying fans go and watch a race for the technology or whatever gizmo’s they got on. We want to see fast cars being driven on the limit and over. I mean how bad does it look when Schumacher came out and said “Oh, the cars are a whole lot more easier to drive during the race as you cannot push the car that hard.” ??

  55. John says:

    Reading all the comments from others, and around the world, I think things need to improve quickly. Bernie was worried that TV ratings fell last year, what about this year when DVR’s turn themselves off because they think nobody is watching?

    I was really bored with the race, but it was the first race. However, I think this will be the case for the season, with just some teams doing better at different tracks. RB6 might have been great here, but it could be Williams at the next race. Regardless, as a fan of F1 from the 70′s on – I do not like what I see!

  56. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

    Hey JA, it was past 4 o’clock in the morning when I posted my last comments. I was eagerly waiting for your first post on the season opener. I was so disappointed that I didn’t even think twice about stop watching F1 or even discussing anything about F1 in this blog. I couldn’t stay up any later than that to read more posts because I had to be at work by 8am. Can’t give up on F1 James; it is a passion that a very ordinary person like me can’t live without. Discussing issues in this blog another huge part of the F1 passion that I enjoy doing as well. So, I can’t take it out on this blog. There’s no way the real F1 can let F1 or you down James. But I’m sure you understand the disappointment and frustration though.

    Now, Ferrari’s ability to bounce back after a dismal year is a very common thing. I remember in 2005 Ferrari was not in the running for championship from very early in the season. Then in 2006 all the money was on Michael Schumacher since he started slashing Fernando Alonso’s lead race by race since Montreal. Then we all know what happened in Fuji race track. Schumacher’s Ferrari failed to give him the reliability for the 1st time in 5 years. As a result of that race Alonso had become the world champion 2nd time in a row & rightly so is probably the most talented race driver of modern era. Who can forget a great season like that? Then the following 2 seasons the difference between the champion and runner up was just a single point. No matter which team we support or which driver we love to follow, it is that excitement, guessing, hoping and expecting your favourite driver and the team to win is all about entertainment to me. Ferrari’s return to form was expected sooner or later & Alonso is certainly the biggest asset for the REDS. I remember writing in one of the posts that I’m expecting a red season this year.,2 red cars and Redbull.

    As far as Massa’s race is concerned I reckon he should be quite happy to be on the podium in his first race of the season. After that horrifying accident he is lucky to be racing again. But he certainly is talented enough to fight for the championship throughout the season & I’m certain he will win races this season. He is one of the most likable guys in F1 in my opinion. Ferrari is probably going to let the guy in front stay in front unless there is any other issue throughout the 2010 season.

    Relating the refuelling ban to your comments on Prost’s abilty to make it an art is I don’t think there was any restriction on gear box or the engine change during his time. And of course the tyres were chosen by the team the way they wanted. So I believe there is more than one component involved in how to execute a major rule change into a winning car. But if there is one person to do this job, it has to be Alonso. I have some concerns about the point system as well. We all already know 2010 started as boring as possibly I ever imagined in my nightmare. But the more I think about the point system it rings an alarm bell that we might not see the close championship as we used with the old point system. Rossi won most of his Moto GP with a few races in hand. Very rarely it went down to the last race of the season. The last time it happened when Nicki Hayden won the world championship against Rossi. I’d hate to see F1 that way. What’s your view on this James?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think change always brings out some resistance, but it is always a mistake to judge too hastily

      1. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

        Yep I agree that we need to give this thing a bit more time. Maybe F1 is not going to turn out to be a four wheel Moto GP. Moto GP is great in its own terms, but F1 is a sport of different planet compare to any other sport including any kind of four wheel racing. But I strongly believe the most talked about topic will be the new point system next. David Coulthard already mentioned it in various interviews & I agree with him so far.

        Somebody commented earlier that the last season was boring as well. I didn’t enjoy 2009 season as much as previous seasons. However, we had some exciting racings as well as great strategy changes throughout the year. The cars showed incredible closeness during the tests this year. That means the there are lot more teams in the hunt for the championship this year than any other season in the history. So, I disagree that the last season was boring. But surely last season’s rules would’ve made this season an exciting one. Surely it’s impossible to reintroduce refuelling already this season unless the teams have to put minimum/maximum amount of fuel in the car at each pit stop. But 2 mandatory pit stops are probably not going to have much of an effect. Plus it’s damaging for the sport that the rules are miscalculated so much by the top FIA officials. Tyres are the key components to make this season better surely. But this is effectively Bridgestone’s last season in the sport. They must be given a better deal to adopt another major change so soon. So, I doubt that they will agree to something like what you have suggested James. They must have already spent fortunes on this season’s tyres development. My wild guess already about this season is, ‘at least 2 teams (if not more) will be struggling to make it back to the grid next season.’

  57. Carl says:

    What is needed is softer tyre compounds

  58. Nick4 says:

    Thanks James for this site. Your insight and analysis are always fascinating.
    Martin B gave the drive of the day to SV. However, I would have given it to FA because he won and the manner of his delivery for Ferrari. As you said so reminiscent of Prost; and that is what this season will be about – managing tyre wear, engines and fuel consumption with the the execution of well timed overtaking manouevres. In the golden era of the late ’80′s and early ’90′s many of us loved Mansell’s courage and raw speed, but that is not what wins WC’s as Piquet and Prost so ably demonmstrated to devestating effect and denying Mansell an earlier WC than he eventually achieved.
    One wonders at the true impact of great drivers on a new team, like FA? In ’07 Mclaren were immediately into winning ways again having performed dismally in ’06. 2010 has started out in a very similar way with FA and Ferrari immediately back to winning ways after a very dismal ’09. This time he has quickly laid down a marker in the process hopefully learning from his ’07 experience when he allowed LH to steal a march on him!
    MS’s return and all the razzmatazz kind of fizzled out, even if he got a respectable place, but tellingly behind Rosberg. As MB said whereas in Michael’s heyday he was .10 sec ahead of the car, it seems as though he is now .10 sec behind it!
    Well done to Lotus.
    Thanks again.

  59. lip_iceman says:

    I hear domenicali is cautioning against immidiate changes to the rules after the bahreing gp yesterday. It makes perfect sense if you come in 1-2 (after qualifying 2-3); the guys who qualify on the cusp of q3 aren’t the only ones who would block rule changes…

  60. David Smith says:

    F1 needs to go back to the 1980′s 1990′s I remember watching my first race brazil 1989 and all the overtaking that went on back then.

    Now the cars are just ‘too’ Aero efficient and cant follow each other i.e. witness yesterday with Alonso catching Vettel perhaps thats why the only racing we saw was between virgin and lotus as their cars are under developed and are not as aero efficient as say the top teams…Also the Engine usage needs to go again witness Massa being told to slow as he needs to save the engine. I Thought racing was driving on the edge and going wheel to wheel..

    But One thing F1 doesnt need to do is bring through a host of knee jerk reactions, maybe a second mandatory pit stop would work who knows?

    I think the FIA need to open up a site where fans can again send in their ideas for better racing, after all…
    No Fans = No Sponsors
    No Sponsors = NO Money
    No Money = No F1
    Its refreshing when we hear team principals / drivers saying we need to improve the show for the people that pay…..

    1. David Jerromes says:

      Agree David with respect to your point about the FIA having a site where fans could leave feedback, an excellent idea!

      Their mailbox would be full today and I’m sure it wouldn’t make good reading for them!

      At least if they organised such a thing they just might be able to stay in touch with the loyal fan-base…..

      Then again, do they care? Really????

  61. Foobar says:

    Looks like some of the rool (sic) changes bit back..

    In my opinion, the race would’ve been a real snore fest had there been no mechanical problems….or the fact that it was the season opener with star studded lineup.

    Gotta admire Schumacher’s performance: From sabbatical to competitive racing in practically no time.

    btw. I read somewhere that Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren suggests 2 mandatory pitstops during race to spice up the race…Is that true?

  62. Graeme says:

    James

    Something I have noticed reading any of Michael Schumacher interviews, he always has the word ‘fun’ in it.

    How serious is he or is this just a ‘fun’ game for him….

  63. parthi says:

    James, great to see you on Australian TV!

  64. Gary says:

    Pinnacle of Motorsport eh?
    Perserve your tyres, preserve your engine, preserve your gearbox. Look after this, look after that. Win at the slowest possible speed. I won’t be watching anymore if they don’t get some interest back in it.They are killing F1. Try watching Moto GP or WSB for real racing. Sadly MGP is following F1 down the preservation route.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Pinnacle of Motorsport eh?

      I think this is self proclaimed. Surely the pinnacle of motor sport should be the best, the fastest, the most entertaining, is F1 any of these today?

      1. Rich C says:

        The Pinnacle of motorsport these days is LMP.

      2. kowalski says:

        it isn’t. They are lucky there are 200 million adicts all arround the world. We just can’t choose, but even if f1 was always my first love, i consider myself a cheater, and proclaim motorcycle racing much more exciting, and the one i spend my traveling money on. F1 it’s like an old wife, moto gp like a new girlfriend.

  65. Nicollers says:

    Well done Alonso and well done Massa!

    I really thought Massa would be suffering mentally after his terrible accident last year. He has however proved me totally wrong and that is a real credit to the lad’s character and ability.

  66. Ben says:

    The Overtaking Working Group has again failed to produce regulations that encourage overtaking.

    Only one solution:

    The Overtaking Working Group must be asked to investigate ways of encouraging overtaking.

    If that fails, the only option is to ask the Overtaking Working Group to look into ways of encouraging overtaking.

    If that fails, the only option is to… etc. etc.

    1. Rich C says:

      Take a lesson from dirt track racing: invert the starting order in a random fashion.

  67. Arya says:

    As far as I understand, warmer conditions are supposed to favor RBR in terms of tyre management. If Ferrari is able to keep up with them in warmer conditions, wouldn’t they enjoy some performance edge in colder conditions?

    I might be wrong though.

    1. 123 says:

      if u go by last season thats what was said about brawn . and the season before that ‘ferrari’

      in other words redbull is pretty good at getting heat to the tyres . so they’d work in cold conditions too . if its warmer redbull might wear their tyres off quickly in race conditions … however in bahrain the ferrari had that problem not redbull .

      1. Arya says:

        Ferrari had the problem with softer compound, not harder.

      2. me says:

        yes on harder tyres no one actually has that big a problem with tyre wear … the tyres are supposed to be more durable ( harder – more durable )

        warmer conditions dont really favour anyone in terms of tyre management . more heat – more wear . ( non scientific point of view :) )

  68. Alexx says:

    Hi Jimbo

    Any idea why Webber wasn’t punished for starting outside his grid box?

    Many Thanks

  69. Adrian says:

    I, for one, was quite excited about the no-refuelling change, but it does seem like F1 has shot itself in the foot again with what appears to be ‘change for change’s sake’ again.

    This was not a good race for the fans. It was the proverbial processional race, but that’s not the worst of it.

    Even more worrying was the comments from the drivers who actually might have been in a position to pick up places – e.g. Button, Schumacher, Rosberg, Hamilton about how the new rules completely discourage following the car in front closely. Not only is it difficult, but you compromise yourself for the rest of the race. Button on the BBC forum, especially, looked like he really wanted to say how bad he thought the new rules were, but was keeping polite. Schumacher too was barely holding his tongue. I also simply can’t for the life of me understand why they’ve reduced the front wheel width, which can only make following a car that much more difficult (less mechanical grip / more aero). And no-one’s going to be making any real mistakes, when they’re driving at 80% to save fuels and tyres.

    All of this exacerbated by the incomprehensible decision of the Bahrain track owners to replace a decent piece of track with clumsy low speed stuff.

    Even the effect of the pitstops seem to have become completely random. In previous times, there was at least some excitement in someone holding on for a couple of laps longer on low fuel to try to jump someone, but that is not reciprocated in what is now come in as early as possible. Doubtless, there’s some tactical demands in getting a driver in and out into clear air, but that’s next to incomprensible for the TV viewer.

    Everyone was hoping that the race would come alive at the end – this seems to be the idea of the new rules – but this singularly failed to transpire. That’s not necessarily a good thing – 1hr+ of waiting for 20mins of racing. And it’s not likely to happen much anyway, since the field will be completely stretched out by then.

    The ludicrous change in the points system to the 25-15-10 etc. had, as anticipated, no effect whatsoever other than to leave everyone scratching there heads as to whether they were better off, worse off or whatever. E.g. you had the embarrassing picture of Vettel not having a clue as to how many points he’d scored for 4th place.

    Another stellar rule-change was to exclude the physios from the grid, so that none of the drivers turned up.

  70. James B says:

    I often have to defend my love of F1 to others, who have always seen it as ‘boring’, but this weekend i simply had to agree, with new regulations that even several drivers have stated have slowed things down considerably(check out mark webbers twitter below)

    ‘Wow! New rules, not sure huh? Why do they keep dicking with it? Followed Mercedes power for the whole race, no chance to overtake – again’

    Whilst overtaking via the pits may not have been ideal, i can’t be the only one who misses drivers putting in a succession of blistering laps before their pit stops in order to leapfrog a competitor, followed by the excitement of seeing where they will come out as their competitor appears on the horizon!

    The combination of money saving initiatives and constant regulation changes seems to have turned F1 into more of an endurance race than ever, with cars running at 70% capacity for most of the race, engineers telling drivers to ‘slow down, preserve the tires, cool the car’ terrified of losing an engine and receiving the resultant penalties, and drivers unable to overtake due to aero.

    I will continue to watch, and hope things pick up at some of the more enjoyable tracks, but i think somebody in the FIA or FOTA really needs to address these issues.

    When most fans are applauding the pre and post race coverage more than the actual race something is wrong!

  71. Steven Pritchard says:

    What a yawnfest. I actually fell asleep half-way through.

    Just bring the soft option tyres to the races, problem solved. We need decent tyre wear to force pit stops and therefore give us some entertainment.

  72. JohnBt says:

    One down, still too early to make judgements. Cheers to Alonso and Massa for a pleasant start, but do sympathise with Vettel as he deserved the win. Would have been better if spark plug didn’t fail RB, would Alonso have fought a tight battle with Vettel for the win. If only…….await down under.

    1. James W says:

      I still reckon Alonso would have caught up with Vettel by the end of the race, and probably overtaken him. Alonso was on it all day yesterday. Without failure to his car, nobody could have beaten him, and I would be suprised if that is the case for the rest of the year.

  73. David Brown says:

    Last year I really enjoyed the pre and post race hype on both TV and Websites. Yesterday I didn’t bother to listen to red button etc. I thought it was a big let down.

    All the tactics plans just came to nothing. The cars just can’t get within a 1 sec of each other without seriously compromising themselves. The race pace is nothing like the Qually…it is not about out and out pace, it all about conservation of tyres and fuel.

    This year Qually is going to dictate the race, apart from Massa just being a bit rusty in allowing Alonso through..he would have won.

    Rosberg nicked Hamilton but a pit lane lane hold dropped him behind again. Hamilton then gained 15 secs on him…..so I’m sure Jenson was held up by both Mercs… but he just couldn’t get near.

    It puts paid to the myth that you can’t win the trace in the first corner!!!

    The same applies to Mark stuck behind Jenson, probably .5 per lap quicker and yet it was not enough to get past.

    The hards and softs just not different enough to make the tactics of starting on different tyres pay off (like Barrichello/Sutil)

    I thought we were in for a great season, but I suspect we will need rain for an interesting race or mixed up qually.

    I’m really disappointed.

    On a plus note….the coverage by this site and others through links is just getting better and better. BBC have taken it up another notch as well. Its just a pity they didn’t take you on James, but at least you are in the mix.

    Keep up the good work, and have a word with Bernie to get this F1 show sorted out!!!!!

  74. Richard Marsh says:

    James is right, teams shouldnt be forced to make two stops,it would be a rather peculier rule change, but if the tyres are so good as that they dont deteriorate anything like what has been expected, then what can be done?

    Teams will just do what they did this weekend, the tyres holding on mean making an extra stop will not recoup the time on newer, fresher tyres.

    Surely we need more extreme tyres?

    The teams are much more competitive and closer in time then they were back in 93, when cars were not as sophisticated and more susceptable to problems, which produced interesting, unpredictable racing.

    The cars are so bulletproof now, and the cars so close, and the aero so complex, the engines so close, that the only thing left is to alter the tyre situation.

    Or, lose the dependancy on aerodynamics and go back to mechanical grip, ground effect etc, that way cars WILL be able to race closer together.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sam Michael told me last night that making it two stops won’t change anything

      1. Martin P says:

        Did he say what will?

      2. Kazzy says:

        It would make competion between team mates go up to the final stop. If Ferrari were 1-2 after the first stop they would have just cruised for the last 30 laps. This has to be changed.

  75. Kam says:

    A few things I think that might help:

    1)They need to make the races shorter. A split race scedhule will not work due to TV air time. Leave the longer stuff to the ALMS. Maybe an hour race.

    2) Stop this silly ecomentalist approach to racing- conservation of engines (8/season), gearbox management, tyres and fuel. Yes costs sprialled out of control, but watching pure racers drive at 99% and finishing the race feeling like they didnt drive 100% is crazy (a la Buttons interview from the BBC forum).

    3) Stop making the cars slower to increase the spectal. For the first time in my life, the F1 cars looked slow. Like Brundle has said for many years, they can keep the speed, and stop the crazy aero by working from under the car.

    4) Open F1 to the fans- its should be on Youtube etc and teams should have proper channels showing genunie race footage. I am enjoying the Tweets this year- especially from the teams, engineers, drivers etc.
    I am sure I will get a barrage of opinions on the above, and how it may lack proper analysis but thats on of the biggest problems with F1 over the last 10 years.

    Keep up the good work James.

    1. Rich C says:

      Who’s gonna watch this boring crap even on uTube?

  76. Graham says:

    I thought the race was dull yesterday – in fact it was that bad I fell asleep for 20 mins in the middle and didn’t miss anything. Something is seriously wrong when the result is basically decided on a Saturday afternoon. Thought Massa did a good job coming back from his injury – only felt that Alonso got the jump on him due to Alonso starting on the clean side of the circuit. Don’t recall anyone in the top 10 making up places from the start on the dirty side. I haven’t missed a race live since Mansell won the European at Brands in ’85 however if that is what we have to look forward to I think the race will get sky plussed and watched at x12.
    My view on what’s wrong firstly too much reliance on Aero – something wrong if you can’t follow closely behind to get a slipstream. 18k rpm rev limit – might as well have a speed restrictor as most of the cars will have similar ratio in the box and so practically same top speed – I remember a race where Massa was in Kubica’s slipstream and couldn’t get past because he was bouncing on the rev limiter. Better to take the limit off – if you constantly over rev you run the risk of blowing up – risk vs reward.
    The tracks – It is a sad inditement that nobody has won Bahrain starting lower than 4th on the grid
    F1 used to be exciting because the cars were more on the edge reliability wise it was quite often for one of the ‘big boys’ to be down the grid for them to charge through the field – Mansell being one of the best.
    Something needs to be done otherwise you can see the sport losing a lot of the ‘casual’ viewer which is the type of viewer the advertisers are after.

  77. Freespeech says:

    There is nothing wrong with no refueling, the only real problem is that cars are almost impossible to overtake on many of the tracks it is taken to.
    In the glory days of Senna, Prost, Mansell etc the cars could slipstream & overtake even on the worst of tracks.
    The FIA playing with the rules as they do is just serving us rubbish, rubbish races on many (probably most) circuits & if Bahrain is anything to go by it looks like we’ll be having even more this.
    Even the once great Silverstone has seen fit to add a twisty section that is hardly likely to liven the show for F1 TV fans across the world.
    I think there should be less rules, more freedom for the engineers & teams & let them come up with solutions to counter the aero problems when following a car, left to them they would find a solution,
    The cars are so tightly regulated that it’s nearly impossible for any team to come up with something new, something that pushes the boundaries (well done McLaren for at least introducing soemthing new & innovative).
    What I saw yesterday was rubbish, a complete waste of several hours of my life & if the likes of me (an F1 nut) are saying & thinking this then what hope is there for expanding F1′s fan base?
    The question is…,,,,,Should I bother to get up & watch the next race live or not?

    1. CJ the 2cnd, probably... says:

      Hear hear to all of that! (except refuelling)
      Fewer and simpler rules, more scope for development. Stop emasculating the circuits, I would probably have forked out the cash to see a GP at Donnington, but not at Silverstone the way it is now. (I often went in the 70′s and 80′s, saw them at Brands Hatch too).
      I think the question to consider is this – if Bahrain 2010 was the first GP you had seen would you be making plans to see the next one? I suspect not. I’ll still watch, but I’d watch them race motorised rollerskates if such a sport existed so I don’t count!

  78. Jomy John says:

    Back in 1993, when we last had cars running on full fuel, THE BIGGEST – AND BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR WAS: Cars could come in and leave the pits at full speed! Nobody was losing 25 odd secs like nowadays.

    1. Peter Hermann says:

      Oh yes, and drivers were killed, and mechanics, and track workers, and marshalls. There even was a time when the commentators said before a race ‘gentlemen, start your coffins’. I take it you want that back too?

      1. Jomy John says:

        No, that was not what I meant. The races were interesting with full fuel loads becuz people didnt lose time at pit stops. You only lost bout 10 secs and you would easily make that up with fresher tyres. If they are gonna have a speed limit in the pit area then its best to revert back to low fuels. Otherwise we are gonna be stuck with processional races.

  79. Richard Marsh says:

    I like your thought on abolishing the both compounds rule.A straight fight between, a slower but more durable harder tyre vs a faster but less durable softer tyre. Could Work.

    What about a change in the regs, to bring in more mechanical grip? Perhaps a return to ground effect, and a dramatic drop in aero dependancy?

    And I agree with the above comment about the tracks, they realy only reward single file racing.

    Corners need to be designed with two racing lines, or like turn 1,2,3 at Bahrain, reward a driver on the outside and the inside.

  80. Chris says:

    BORING BORING BORING. Bloody hell if this continues I shall stop watching for the first time in thirty odd years of following F1. I managed to stay awake but my wife fell asleep and so did my two cats and the dog. My uncle went into such a deep sleep that for a moment I thought he’d died.
    It’s a bloody insult to the fans and as for Leggard’s commentary, words fail me…..

    1. LMW says:

      I know how you feel. I like my food and I like my F1 even more, this is my 16th year following, but this weekend I found myself making scrambled eggs on lap 30.

  81. Stevie P says:

    Congratulations to Ferrari. Alonso wanted it and he got it, so well done to him too.

    How come Alonso had to back off for a lap or two, when he first reached Vettel (before his issue)? He spoke (afterwards) as though he’d got it all planned, but without the issue on the Red Bull, I’m not sure he’d have got close enough to pass cleanly – no-one else seemed to be able to do so (except on the first lap, when drivers are on different lines and close together).

    Still mystified why McLaren didn’t do the same ie, stop dev in ’09 and focus on ’10. Thought their f-slot \ top end speed would help on the straights, but they kept losing out in the twisty bits.

    Race was dull – the first time of watching a GP in 30 odd years that I actually nodded off – TWICE!

    Not impressed with the new in-field section at Bahrain either.

    But we roll on to Melbourne, let’s hope it’s better… much, much better… but as Brundle alludes to, the teams are more savvy and far more reliable than ever before, so more of the same me thinks.

    And finally a note to Kubica – who was my driver of the day – never gave up and kept on pushing despite his 1st lap incident.

    P.S. Just a thought: let’s reduce the number of tyres they can use completely, so there’s more chance of them racing on used tyres in the race, thus throwing in a random variable and giving us more enjoyment… after all, the idea of no-refuelling (other than cost-cutting (pah!)) was that we’d see drivers on worn tyres.

  82. Jon says:

    James you are writing this article as if Alonso overtook Vettel with 2 laps to go. Watch the Indycar race in Sao Paulo street circuit if you want to see an overtake for the win on the dying laps. Alonso would not have been even able to get close enough to make a move on Vettel. And that is not because of Alonso’s talent, or Ferrari’s pace, but the aero and FIA regulations. Everyone saw the same interview you did, it was on TV. How you interpretted it, and most other people though is pretty different. Unless they are a Ferrari fan.

    Vettel’s car had a problem. That’s why Alonso won. Not because of some sixth sense tickle in his lower elbow, or some great power. But as always in F1, results are remembered (not how they are acquired), and the victors write the history books. Vettel drives a perfect race, his car fails, Alonso gets the result and so therefore also gets all of the credit. Maybe his Prost like sixth sense made the spark plug fail.

    On a seperate note.. there is a big concern with these regulations and F1′s entire structure. The sport is run by old people. Old people who have conflicts of interest between the good of F1 and the good of their own team, or in Bernie’s case his own pocket. People who grew up watching vintage F1 would probably love to see them racing in that hunk of junk that DC drove around the track (Fangios car). Prost thinks no refuelling is a great idea! Newsflash Mr Frost, technology, racing and the whole world has moved on since that point. We now have slicks, lower front wings, skinny rear wings, and now no refuelling and it goes backwards and becomes worse every season.

    Bahrain 2006 ring any bells? Button and Montoya overtaking each other. Rosberg spinning on first lap and then overtaking alot of people for 1 point. Kimi getting a podium from the back of the grid on a 1 stop.

    This is the question. Is F1 trying to please the “old people” or is it trying to draw new viewers into the sport? I’ve been watching F1 10 years and I’ve never thought about stopping watching the sport more then in the last 24 hours. If I feel this way, how in the heck is someone who doesn’t even know or understand the sport, going to want to tune in and watch???

  83. I think they need to a few things to bring back the spectacle:

    1. Remove rev limits. They can ban exotic materials to control costs. At least provide a rev limit bypass button to be used twice per lap. Or how about a small tank of Nitrous Oxide? Perhaps only 30 seconds worth to be deployed freely when desired. Engines are way too reliable at present.

    2. Provide more freedom on tyre selection and quantities for the race at least (maybe restrict during test and qualy to control costs). Forget the mandatory use of both compounds and let the drivers choose their strategy more freely.

    3. Make the tyres less durable. Tyres should not be capable of lasting any more than half race distance and preferably no more than 3rd race distance.

    That would do for starters…

  84. Peter Hermann says:

    Last year, when Brawn started with winning races and with a car 2 seconds faster than all others, where were the british people complaining about the races being boring?

    When FIA allowed the diffusers (and they are one of the main reasons the cars can’t overtake most of the time), where was the british outcry?

    But now they are complaining?

    This was so predictable.

    1. AlexD says:

      I am a life-long Ferrari fan and I can’t express how boring it was to watch this race!

  85. Michael Prestia says:

    The FIA should introduce some very lucrative points to the driver with the fastest lap during the race. Therefore each driver has to push hard on the tires and not nurse them for half a race distance. If your given 15pts for the fastest lap then it is almost as important as taking 1st place. No driver could afford to sit back… but by gunning hard on the tires the driver is more likely to wear them out quicker and force additional pit stops. Just my thoughts on how to spice up the show.

    1. Hayden L. says:

      Then all the cars taht are outside top 10 would chill aroud till the last 5 to 10 laps… pit for option tyres… then kept diong qualifying runs till they get a top time get a good time… which will most likely beat any car’s best lap within the top 10 since they are acutally racing…

      Look at the top time in the race compared to the top time in the qualifying sessions….

      If i’m in P5 to P10, I might as well fall all the waty back and leave myself outside top 10 just to gamble for the top qualifying lap…

      I’m not sure if that would make sense…

      1. Michael says:

        Gambles are good. No one is gambling right now and it is a long procession. Why gamble when there is nothing to gain. 5th to 10th place is a points paying position to gamble that position away by pitting in the last 5 laps is a gamble because if you can’t pull out a fastest lap in the closing stages and you pit for primes… you may give up points to someone else. I am not saying its the answer to all F1′s issues but it adds a new dimension to the race. I suspect the top 3 or 4 cars will be the ones with the fastest lap every race.

        THE BLAME:
        The double diffuser should not have been approved last year to begin with. The FIA is the blame for this!The overtaking group that set up the new car designs took a slap in the face when the FIA approved the double diffuser… but we all now that was a political decision made by Max to piss off the FOTA group.

        Last note:
        I don’t agree with reintroducing fuelling during the race. Seeing a pass in the pits is nothing exciting. I rather see cars running with boost button to pass on the track. THe benefit of KERS with the additional weight!

  86. rpaco says:

    Interesting that Vettel’s exhaust was thought to have broken, substantiated with after race with TV pics of the extra hole burnt in the engine cover due to the gases going in the wrong direction. Later to hear that it was a spark plug does not sound at all right and does not tie in with the burnt cover. Also of course we saw something fall off the car in the rear facing onboard shot, or was that someone else?

    No team seems to have taken any notice of the change in the regs re tyre warmers, the all seem to be using the same type as last year.

    1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Spark plugs that don’t fire, or misfire, cause unburned fuel to enter the exhaust system. The unburned fuel ignites inside the system and can lead to meltdown or damage.

  87. Robert Wiseman says:

    I know this has been touched on above, but the double Ferrari engine change. Based on the comments above, as long as within the 8 engine limit you can change as many times during a weekend with or without penalty ? Is this a possible loophole, in terms of having an option for practice, qualification and the race. Based on the events of yesterday it seems key to keep a fresh power plant for qualification, and maybe not so important to have ultimate power available for race other than in the latter stages ? Have Ferrari already outwitted the field ? Good luck to them if so.

    1. Peter Hermann says:

      To change the engine between qualifying and the race is only allowed once without a penalty, as far as i know. So Ferrari already used that ‘joker’ at the first race of the season, and i wouldn’t call that an advantage.

    2. Dale says:

      Interesting points, mmmmmmm. I think you could have a point as it’s clear from the Bore-rain race that maximum engine power during the race is not so important.

  88. LMW says:

    I like the look of the Ferrari – both in terms of performance and appearance. The white sets it off nice. I also notice that the drivers have taken a leaf out of Lewis’s book and appear in the post race press conference in pristine race suit ‘covers’.

  89. Ok everyone, I think we should all just calm down a bit and reserve judgement for a couple more races. Ok, Bahrain wasn’t the most exciting race in the world, but it was still worth watching, so if you dud wander down to the pub after lap 17 can I suggest you go back and watch the rest on iplayer.

    I fear it could be a dull season under these rules but hopefully it’s a one off, and even drivers like Lewis or Alonso will push a bit and think about the fans.

    Have faith in the FIA I’m hoping Jean Todt and teams will introduce what ever is required to slightly spice up the show. It would be a waste to have the best ever line up in years and see it turn into a procession, but I’m convinced the FIA won’t see that happen.

    Here’s for keeping the F1 Faith and having an exciting 2010…. I won’t give up watching and supporting it and haven’t for 22 years.

    Chris.

    1. Dale says:

      You have more faith in Todt than me, I remember what he (and his mate Mosley) served us with the US fiasco and many other Ferrari dominated races.
      F1 needs to think outside of the box and I don’t think they are able to do this as all those in the F1 family are all but stuck in concrete.
      The engineers know how to counter the dirty air when following behind but aren’t allowed to design their car accordingly as the FIA has made it almost impossible to innovate any more.

    2. JohnBt says:

      Good post Chris.

  90. Phil W says:

    I don’t think it matters how many races you give it, it still won’t be proper racing.

    Fundamental flaws:

    a) Drivers not on the limit constantly. This is a joke. Since when was watching drivers managing tyres/engines entertaining?

    b) Downforce too high. I’m fairly certain the teams could work together and come up with a set of Regs which means the cars can follow each other better.

    c) Bad circuit designs / re-designs. Drivers or ex-drivers should design the tracks. Herman Tilke can make it look pretty on the eye.

    If you address these three points, F1 would be a million times better. I think it really is as simple as that.

  91. Phil W says:

    Just to add:

    Has anyone ever seen the drivers so unanimously unenthusiastic after a race before?

    Give it a few more races and i think they’ll be stirring up a fuss.

    Now would be a good time to start mentioning that proposed breakaway series flavio ;)

  92. Toni says:

    I think the fatest lap of the race was made by a fever called Alonso and by more than a second.

  93. timem1 says:

    It’s really sad to see all the Hamilton fans making excuses for Lewis’s third place and trying to slag off Alonso’s smart win. Really poor sportsmanship, IMO.

  94. Rits says:

    If they’d shown Sutil and Kubica overtake half the field, te race would’ve been so much better! Poor production!

  95. Rob says:

    James it was great to see you on One HD (in Australia). Hopefully we get to see a lot more of you. I’d love to hear you commentating again. I always thought you and Martin made a great team.

    Great posts by the way. You have access that others just don’t seem to and every post is worth reading. Keep up the great work!

  96. Joe says:

    Alonso eats Newey’s cars for breakfast. It is not the first time he’s pushed one to destruction.

    Too bad though. Considering the speed he had at the end of the race, a pass in the last laps would have been the highlight of the “boring” race.

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