European Grand Prix – The key decisions
Insight
European Grand Prix – The key decisions
Strategy Briefing
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Jul 2010   |  10:32 am GMT  |  71 comments

The European Grand Prix at Valencia will be remembered for the enormous accident suffered by Mark Webber from which he mercifully walked away. But it was also another race where some vital decisions were taken in the heat of the moment, which shaped the outcome, especially when Webber’s accident triggered a safety car.

There were some important decisions to be made in qualifying, with a tricky one as to which tyre to use. There wasn’t much to choose between them and some people found that the hard tyre was fast on the second lap, but the soft was also faster for some on its second lap.


What was interesting was that having shown well in the first part of qualifying, some teams went backwards in Q3. The increasing heat made some teams struggle, including Renault, Mercedes and Force India, while Red Bull and Williams gained.

One interesting observation is that Red Bull has a setting on the engine, whereby the ignition is retarded on the over run, which maintains exhaust gas pressure even when the driver lifts off the throttle. This maintains the performance of the blown diffuser and keeps the downforce up when it’s most needed. It’s not something you can do for more than a lap or two as it damages the engine, but it gives that vital fraction of a second which keeps Red Bull ahead of the rest in qualifying.

Webber’s accident happened early in the race, lap nine, and for the drivers who started the race on the soft tyre, which was all of the top ten runners, it provided an opportunity to switch to the hard tyre for the rest of the race.

It was an inconvenience for the runners who started on the hard tyre, such as Michael Schumacher, because it inclined him into stopping earlier than the ideal for the soft tyre, which he would then try to take to the finish – a big ask. More of Schumacher in a moment.

It was obvious to all teams as soon as they saw the images of Webber’s car in the air, that a safety car was inevitable.


At this stage it was all about where your car was on the circuit and whether it was possible to pit quickly, before the safety car came out and get back out on track again. Regrettably for the other runners, the safety car did not manage to pick up the race leader, Sebastian Vettel and this was to have a major influence on what happened next. Vettel and Lewis Hamilton were able to get away and it spoiled the race.

Hamilton, who was second at the time, reached the safety car line at the same time as the safety car crossed it and passed the safety car, which is against the rules. He received a drive through penalty for this, but it would turn out to be only a time penalty, as he gained the advantage of a clear lap while the safety car held up all the cars behind him in which to change his damaged front wing. Even better for Hamilton, Kamui Kobayashi, who started 18th on the hard tyre, decided not to pit at all and ended up the car behind Hamilton at the restart, So as he held up the field, Hamilton was able to build enough of a margin to serve his penalty without losing a position.

The two Ferrari’s were caught out by the circumstances. They were the first cars picked up by the safety car. So they lost places to the cars behind them on the road, who were able to pit immediately. The Ferraris had to follow the safety car around until they were past the Webber crash site at which point they were waved through.

Robert Kubica was the first car to get into the pits, followed by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. Adrian Sutil benefited from this too.

Michael Schumacher was also caught out by the position of the safety car. He pitted and was held at the pit lane exit, because the safety car was coming through, although Mercedes argue that Schumacher could have been safely released and that the red line was lit prematurely.

Schumacher’s choice was either to switch to soft tyres then, expecting the track to improve as the race went on and therefore be kinder to the tyres, or to do a Kobayashi and stay out. But he would have had to take the soft tyre at some point. Kobayashi delayed it to the end and then showed that on a new set of tyres, he was able to attack and make up places. Schumacher could have done the same, would have run third for most of the race, and as his car is faster than a Sauber, he would have built enough of a gap that he would lose fewer places when his inevitable tyre stop came.

This was after all the strategy, which he had intended to do, by starting on the hard tyre. So the safety car, and the fact that they had already pitted Rosberg so there was no need to queue the cars up, made them take a gamble which failed to pay off almost immediately because he couldn’t get out of the pits. He lost 16 places as a result of being held in the pit lane. Kobayashi’s result shows that Schumacher could perhaps have finished in the top six.

Valencia was the first time this season that we have seen cars queuing up in the pits under the new safety car rules. Two drivers who lost a lot by queuing were Felipe Massa and Tonio Liuzzi. Apart from the five or six additional seconds, they lost track positions too. Massa was fourth before the safety car, 17th afterwards. Speaking to engineers, it seems that in light of what happened, the decision to queue in that situation is being reviewed and we may not see that again with the current safety car rules. Probably we would only see it if the track was wet and doing an extra lap would be far slower.

Part of the reason why so many places were lost is because the field spread in Valencia is not that big, so after nine or ten laps the cars are still quite bunched up, which does not create the gaps for cars to slot back into,

Strategy Insights
Strategy Briefings
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
71 Comments
  1. Edgas Mutute says:

    Good morning James.

    Next weekend in Silverstone Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Charle Whiting and Jean Todt, will have a breefing meeting. Do you know what they will talking about?

    1. Banjo says:

      I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting!

      1. Lalit says:

        Jean Todt and Alonso in the same room, hmmm…… ….

  2. Snuff Smith says:

    James

    With Mark Webber’s big accident, the question of why he dropped so many places at the start has yet to be answered.

    Any insight?

    1. Phil says:

      Dirty side of the grid, then went wide through first corner leaving the door open for others to cone through, then all out of shape for 2nd corner and that’s how he lost so many places IIRC.

    2. sixtenths says:

      It was one of the worst Sunday performances by a driver I can remember, you do have to wonder if it was also a factor in his ramming Heiki from behind. Given the “form of his life” 2 consecutive wins, clinically executed, abeit with no real opposition, in the best car out there, he went from Hero to Zero, with no real explanation or comment. It could be a fluke, or maybe there was something brewing inside him.

      The whole Safety Car situation is a fiasco. The SC messed up by not collecting the leader, full stop. The farcical dilemma Hamilton was suddenly, innocently put in, trying to judge what is the right thing to do, in a split second, was out of order, the criticism, by Alonso and his fans, illuminating. Not in a good way, obviously.

      Alonso was clearly very sore that his car was not up there at the front, with McLaren getting it’s updates next week, it was his [possibly/probably] one great chance to shine, unfair, but given his reaction, good. The way he was so deranged and obsessed about Lewis was amazing, it spoke volumes, likewise his fans subsequent reactions.

      1. BiggusJimmus says:

        No real explanation??? He got (a polite term would be “designated”) by his team at Turkey. His comments before Turkey were ‘the team is 100% working together for the same goal’ etc etc, then he found out this wasn’t exactly true. Don’t believe the public niceities, there is nothing more debilitating for an Australian than to discover that your team is not behind you. It must have had a profound psychological effect on Mark, and I think it showed up here. A complete disaster.

      2. mtb says:

        “…there is nothing more debilitating for an Australian than to discover that your team is not behind you…”

        Is this comment the consequence of extensive research. I would have thought that there were several things that would prove far more debilitating – running out of beer amongst other things ;)

        Incidentally, are other nationalities able to cope better with such situations?

      3. ChaosA.D says:

        Good post. I agree, Webber is very lucky, me thinks, to have signed a new contract while on form, unlucky for us though who would like to see a top driver in the top car.

        As a further note… the T.V hosts had to interrupt the BBC coverage after that crash, here in Australia to declare Kovalinen as ‘pathetic’ and ‘ridiculous’ along with further insults at Mike gasgoine (sp??). i just mention that here because i know they read this site.

        Those who complain about the BBC coverage… just be thankful you are not watching Webberview.

      4. mtb says:

        “…unlucky for us though who would like to see a top driver in the top car…”

        A bit like having to watch Button in a front-running car, or seeing Damon Hill in a Williams in 1996.

        The BBC does a fairly good job at being impartial nowadays.

    3. Ajasco says:

      His Car was Nobbled?

    4. Andrew P says:

      Seems two factors combined to create the propblem fro what I can see.

      1. As the BBC commentators noted the slow formation lap by vettel was a tactical ploy to ensure that tyres were colder than normal and therefore those on the dirty side are less able to get a good get away.

      2. Webber appears to be hit from behind on the F1 replay pushing him wide and allowing kubica and the williams through.

      The push from the RBR pit wall, via radio, immediately prior to the accident doesn’t encourage him to be conservative either.

      1. Martin says:

        Thanks for that – who hit him? I thought Webber’s car positioning was poor and he should have tried to stay outside of the Ferraris in turn two. Then he would have been no worse than fourth. Instead he tried double behind to get better run and left himself exposed.

        I saw one suggestion that Kovalainen braked or lifted 80 m ahead of where Webber would brake, and certainly the closing rate was much more than 20 km/h at the time of impact. I haven’t looked too hard, but I haven’t seen any suggestion that this is being investigated.

      2. Spenny says:

        The 80 metres comment does not warrant any serious analysis. The accident happened around the 100 metre board, the braking zone from 190 miles an hour – I am not sure what the stopping distance is, I’ve only come across a suggestion that 200kph is 55 metres, so for 190mph the braking point can’t be far off 80-100 metres.

        So I am sure Heikki was stopping sooner than Mark’s braking point but not by much, but I think his head was in overtaking, not braking. This would be a good example of where publishing the Lotus and Red Bull telemetry for the braking points on previous laps, and Heikki’s for that lap would settle what happened once and for all. I suspect if I am right, then Red Bull would not embarrass Mark by showing he was in the process of overshooting his breaking point when he had the accident.

  3. Gary says:

    Close the pits during SC period until all cars are queued up.

    This was only changed to allow critical refuelling, and as that’s gone the rules should have reverted … but as usual the FIA didn’t join the dots.

    1. Teddy says:

      I agree with Gary. Closing the pits as soon as the SC is deployed and wait for all the cars to get in queue behind it is the sensible solution. But to allow averyone to pit at the same time, each car should have his team of mechanics to change tyres at the same time without being hampered by the other car of the team. Its time for a change here !

    2. Banjo says:

      Well said. I thought the very same thing when it happened.

    3. gezmond says:

      good point, this would be the fairest option and would allow the race to restart in the same order as when the safety car was released.

    4. Frenchie says:

      Isn’t this what they do in other series?

      I was about to said racing but then was thinking of Nascar and Indycar. They seem to handle ‘caution periods’ a lot better in the US. Can’t the FIA learn a thing or two from that part of the world?

      1. Brandon says:

        The cautions in NASCAR are little more than commercial/food breaks but the sc rules should be adjusted a bit

    5. Martin says:

      You could extend it further and close the pits until after the green flag. Pit stops are most dangerous when all the cars are in. Half the drivers get screwed (except for the team mate of the safety car period causer(s)). It is also easier to track what is going on.

      If it is raining, it could be a safety issue.

  4. Damian Johnson says:

    James, Alonso has not offered a clear apology for his manipulation comment and Ferrari have not distanced themselves either from this. Do you think that FIA should have summoned Alonso/Ferrari to the WMSC to explain his comments with the possibility of a sanction for questioning the integrity of F1? I can’t think of another sport where this would be tolerated and it gives the impression that Ferrari above FIA.

    1. Brace says:

      In football you can see it happening in every match. Players are shouting at referee and only once in a while they get a yellow card for that.
      This race was a cock up by FIA and not for the first time, so they were due a wake up call.
      For example, if Hamilton was reprimanded for driving side by side with Vettel after being released into his path in China, then next time that happened official penalty was supposed to be applied? Right? Well, he did it again in Canada and got no penalty. Alonso might we whining in the eyes of Hamilton fans, but it’s really pretty pragmatic stuff. Hamilton gains advantage in the championship in a very questionable way. He ran out of fuel in Canada after Whiting sent a memo to teams warning them about that very thing. It might be a bit of coincidence but after 9 races, Hamilton has bagged quite a load of points through numerous questionable situations. You can think that Alonso is protesting against Hamilton, but he is just protesting against a championship rival which seems perfectly justified to me.

      1. Damian Johnson says:

        I trust that you were equally upset with FIA race stewards for stealing the race win from Hamilton and handing an undeserved win to Massa based on an arbitrary 25 sec penalty dished out after the race, and deny Hamilton any opportunity to respond during the race?

        Todt’s decision to turn a blind eye to Alonso’s outspoken criticism sets a dangerous precedent for FIA to take formal action against any other teams for a similar offence as this would look favouritism to Ferrari by Todt as its former team principal.

      2. TheNewNo2 says:

        It’s actually quite refreshing to see a driver saying something which hasn’t been sanitised. Even though it is a whinge.

      3. Martin says:

        The penalty was a retrospective drive through, which is 25 seconds, so it is the application of the rule by the stewards that is the problem in Spa, not a concoction by the FIA.

      4. mtb says:

        “…for stealing the race win from Hamilton…”

        Pure twaddle. Hamilton failed to give up the advantage that he obtained by cutting the chicane.

        Remember also that he overtook Massa at Monza in 2007 by cutting the chicane, but escape penalty. do you consider the gain in position that he made to be undeserved?

    2. Banjo says:

      That’s a pretty standard attitude for Ferrari isn’t it?

    3. Frenchie says:

      Alonso has aoplogised.

      See Autosport news article:
      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/84896

  5. ColinZeal says:

    Interesting analysis as always James.

    Whats the deal with so many drivers beating their assigned “delta” time under the SC? Are they simply trying to cut it as fine as is possible to gain an advantage or is it another issue with the entire safety car system as it currently stands?

    According to Button he was at a position on track where he was mid corner just prior to pit entry, he claimed it was not possible to lift at the time the delta came through and he was too close to the pits to reduce his time as required. If so it seems to point to something which might be looked at?

    For me the Safety Car when needed does often add to the excitement but in the case of Valencia it did seem to deal some rather bad cards to several drivers. The Hamiliton incident (and his split second decision) has really highlighted the mechanisms of deploying the safety and revealed how it can have major and varying outcomes for the drivers.

    1. iceman says:

      This is a good question and one I’d very much like to see considered in more detail.

      Alonso and Massa were apparently already past the pits when the safety car was deployed, and Kubica was only a couple of seconds behind Massa so it’s hard to understand how he could possibly have slowed down to the delta time.

      Perhaps this is why the stewards handed out a very lenient penalty but that seems like a cop-out to me. Either they did wrong and should have been given a proper penalty, or they were innocent victims of circumstance and should have been given no penalty.

      And what about Alguersuari? He was behind all the cars who were penalised, so had more chance to comply with the delta time than any of them – but he didn’t pit, and completed the lap only 1 second slower than his previous lap. As far as I know the delta time applies whether you pit or not. So why did Alguersuari get away with it?

      I note that the stewards’ report from Valencia has still not been published. James – it would be very much appreciated if you can shed any more light on the stewards’ reasoning on those penalties.

  6. Harvey Yates says:

    It would seem that the Delta Timing rule is rather farcical and that for some cars it was impossible to fall within it. The stewards would appear to have taken this into account when deciding on the punishment. That said Alonso and Rosberg benefited while some drivers suffered through no fault of their own.

    There was some criticism of these specific light penalties by one team but as they had criticised the stewards for not adjusting the penalty for Hamilton it would appear to be a bit extreme.

    Certainly the rules on Delta Timing need looking at.

    I don’t think Alonso should be punished for his outburst after the race. The stewards have taken a softer line and many might feel he’d been requested to retract what he said and he’s done so. A shot across the bows perhaps? He needs to be careful in future though. Any subsequent behaviour of a similar nature might well result in some corrective measure.

    The days when Brundle could be threatened with civil action just for mentioning that many feel the FIA’s behaviour was less than impartial are, happily, gone. And I don’t think we should bring them back. My opinion is that Alonso is rather emotional. Perhaps a controversial opinion. But perhaps not. He shot his mouth off and he’s backtracked, and as far as one could possible expect. We don’t want automatons, surely?

    Ferrari corporate’s response was more problematical. The Ferrari website did little to calm matters and the intervention of Piero Ferrari didn’t help matters. Having seen Luca Corajanni in action perhaps it might have been better if they’d used their press chappie rather than go into an arena where they were less than professional. I feel sure his response would have been less likely to incite the more excitable. I would assume there might well have been a phone call or two.

    I wonder if Todt himself phoned. It would be nice to hear the recording if so. I bet there would have been little reminiscing about old times.

    How gutted must Rosberg feel to see the Williams and Rubens half a dozen places in front? That’s not to mention a Sauber either.

    What has happened to the world when Brawn’s tactics and strategy can be held up to ridicule? In the ‘old’ days, a safety car would have meant a five or six place bonus for Schumacher. A 16 place drop is too much the other way to be explained by bad luck. Or by poor funding either. Something is missing.

    Any idea what, James? Or perhaps who?

    Do the rules, the procedures or at least the punishments, need to be altered for the features of the specific circuit? We already have alterations in the pitlane speed. But if, as you suggest James, the particular circumstances of the Valencia circuit altered the situation, should this not be taken into account?

    Valencia gave us a lot to think about. I’m working at home at the moment (well I’m commenting on your blog actually – 500+ words I’m not getting paid for) and I’ve had half a dozen emails from friends about it. Our consensus is:

    Ferrari need to work on their diffuser as its benefits were limited,

    Vettel’s slow parade lap was to try and get the new diffusers of their opponents’ cars to damage the rear of them – very naughty,

    Mercedes’ upgrade has probably not improved their car all that much,

    The tyre rules add an element of farce,

    Webber needs to curb his enthusiasm when attacking backmarkers,

    The McLaren upgrades will, if they do what it says on the tin, or at least the press comments, give them enough of a lift to challenge the RBR cars in qually,

    And we are all looking forward to Silverstone for the new circuit and some exciting racing.

    1. Martin says:

      The thing with Ross Brawn is very simple. If you have a performance advantage and you are stuck behind someone, do something different and you may be able to overcome the inefficiency of the strategy with pure pace. Ferrari and Schumacher, depending on tyres, often had this advantage. This year the Merc is slow, so going off the optimal strategy just sends you backwards. All Ross Brawn was doing was relaying via the radio what the strategy guys in the shed were telling him would work. Having an aura of strategy brilliance doesn’t hurt as it gets people reacting to you, but the reality is that the teams know Ross isn’t doing anything special. What Brawn did do was create the right engineering environment to deliver the car performance that then gave the strategic flexibility that the race strategy guys could analyse and exploit.
      thanks for your other thoughts.
      Cheers,
      Martin

  7. Chuck Jones says:

    Aside from fine tuning safty car rules. Velencia could use some fine tuning also!

  8. El Shish says:

    James,
    This mode that Red Bull switch on for qualifying… I’m extremely curious. Is the effect offered by this solution sufficiently strong to enable Red Bull to blitz qualifying the way they have this year while other teams, namely Mclaren, can’t match them but seem to have an equally strong, or stronger race pace?

    How did the media find out about this and, in your opinion, is it something that the other teams can develop in time to make use of it this season?

    1. James Allen says:

      I just heard about it this week. I’m sure the other teams can develop anything..

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        If Red Bull is controlling engine over run, are they using the EMC? I thought that was an FIA locked item.

      2. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Make that the ECU.

      3. Spenny says:

        The ECU is standard, but it can be programmed differently by the teams with a standard set of inputs from sensors, and only certain standard functions are allowed.

        The program can also be examined and is locked down, so any hacking is supposedly detectable.

        What Red Bull are doing is simply an unusual engine setting, not fuel saving, or extra power or race starting mode, but a special qualifying mode.

    2. Steve W says:

      By retarding the engine to much it will get hot,on over run the engine will burn a very lean mixture and this would apply to any car,retarding the ignition only increases this,so it makes sense that the blown diffuser must have to have extememly hot gases to make it work,on the other hand engines will suffer,particularly the piston tops,and cylinder heads,and my guess is RedBull would only remap the engine if qualifying times are marginal in relation to other teams

      1. sinnae404 says:

        Any ideas why, in the 1990′s, we used to see great lashings of flame from the exhaust on the overrun, but now there is nothing?

      2. Steve W says:

        Probably because there is little or no excess fuel(unburnt),flames which used to appear were either this,or when we had the Turbos,the cars today run very lean to maximise the least amount of fuel required,often we see the driver adjusting the mixture setting,”Rich” for slightly more power,”lean” to conserve fuel.

    3. BiggusJimmus says:

      Well I’m just glad that we’ve finally got an explanation. Seems less complicated than the suspension height idea. Anything unusual visible on the floor? We all got a good look at that when MW backflipped.

      1. sixtenths says:

        Yes, James has explained the one great mystery of F1 2010, Where do Red Bull get that extra speed from in Q3 ? I could never work out any logical reason [or previous example] for sandbagging in FP or Q1, Q2, now it seems a dangerous retarding of the ignition to maximise the Exhaust Blown Diffuser is the answer.

        Given this, what of all the talk that they also seem to be getting the speed by running lower than the others, was it Red Herring of the year ?

        The really interesting bit from James quoted :
        “One interesting observation is that Red Bull has a setting on the engine, whereby the ignition is retarded on the over run, which maintains exhaust gas pressure even when the driver lifts off the throttle. This maintains the performance of the blown diffuser and keeps the downforce up when it’s most needed. It’s not something you can do for more than a lap or two as it damages the engine, but it gives that vital fraction of a second which keeps Red Bull ahead of the rest in qualifying.”

  9. Richard M says:

    James, why can they not just have a rule that when there has been a accident or something that requires a SC all of the cars have to put on their pit lane limiters so the gap between cars remain the same. Or would this detract from the excitement of a SC restart.

    1. James Allen says:

      It would also be too slow and tyre temperatures would drop in some places

      1. A-P says:

        So why not have a second limiter, an SC period limiter, set to an appropriately moderate pace?

      2. Frenchie says:

        As Gary suggested above, closing the pitlane these days would make a lot of sense as refuelling would no longer be an issue.

        That said, the FIA does not seem to like easy solutions and they might be looking into your idea for implementing a SC speed limiter. :-)

      3. mtb says:

        Mosely talked about introducing such a system around 10 years ago. For some reason it never happened.

    2. BiggusJimmus says:

      There are good arguments against the current rules in terms of fairness; however, the SC rules as they are certainly can spice up a poor race, as happened in V. Bit like a volcano going off in the arctic: something’s bound to come of it. Good for some bad for others. Everything okay in the end.

    3. iceman says:

      That would defeat the purpose of the safety car, which is to close the field up into a single bunch so that the marshals can have a period of clear track to do their work. For safety reasons they don’t work on the track while cars are passing, regardless of how slowly they’re going.

  10. Malcom says:

    What part in the fact that the pit lane in Valencia had a typical time loss of only 12.7s, and the shortest pit lane that F1 has used so far this year, play with Hamilton retaining 2nd place. Shanghai for example, pit lane time loss is 21s.

  11. Pawel says:

    Why not to oblige driver to execute the penalty (for instance drive through pits) not later than in the next 3 laps? Hamilton built an advantage after 11 laps and kept his position. I could see his smile when he was leaving the pit-stop ahead of Kobayashi…
    Second key decision was the pit-stop after SC. When many drivers pitted and both Barichello and Button passed Kubica.

    1. TheNewNo2 says:

      Drivers are already so obliged – the 3 lap rule has been in place for years. The reason Hamilton “got away with it” is because it took a long time to decide to penalise him.

      1. Pawel says:

        Thanks, I’m still on the steep learning curve :)

    2. Rich C says:

      The point is that the *Stewards waited that long to assess the penalty!

  12. Leo says:

    This is getting so technical now !!! Crazy.
    I feel that Mark is in a slump right now due to Valencia and the race before, vettel is now on an up he too had a slump earlier.
    However I am not convinced that Finger Boy (Seb) is not the chosen one.
    As Mark is now in a slump who’s to stop RBR from favouring Seb now.
    Mark has proven that he can match aynone with the right car, but I believe that he will not win the title as Seb will be favoured.
    Look forward to accidentally slow pit stops and strange strategy to halt Marks momentum.

    However they may all be stopped by the McLarens who are looking like real race winners now.

  13. Chopsy says:

    Lewis Hamilton was not the only driver under investigation after the SC was incident. As half the field had infringed the rules in some way, it isn’t surprising that the FIA took some time to issue their decisions.
    I’d not be surprised if they hadn’t spent half the race attempting to make sense of the numerous rules and variations of the rules that involve the SC.
    It’s pretty easy to sit at home for a few days and watch replay after replay of the event and arrive at a suitable ‘punishment’. It’s not that simple when the race is still being run.

  14. wxwax says:

    The pits should close the instant a full course yellow is issued.

    The pits should not reopen until the field is in order behind the safety car.

    To penalize the Ferraris and Schumacher like that is a complete injustice and devoid of any racing logic.

  15. Legend2 says:

    I think you and most other people missed an important fact James.

    Even if the green light was on in the pitlane Schumacher would have emerged between 10th and 15th. Watch the replay. Therefore Ross Brawn’s strategy was farcical. I couldn’t believe it when I was seeing it (pitting, even before the red light came out). The man was on hard tyres. I think we all have to agree, Ross Brawn is as bad as whoever looks after the strategy on Mark Webber (ie. the Red Bull saboteurs headed by Dr Helmut “Dr Pompous” Marko).

    Where’s my 1 million quid per year to be a strategist?

  16. Mr G says:

    In this article we are talking about key decisions.
    In my humble opinion we have 3 main key decisions that changed the course of the GP.
    1 Deployment of the safety car
    2 Hamilton overtaking the SC
    3 Tyre degradation

    1 The SC should be deployed and pick up the leader fo the race.
    It did not happen and therefore the drivers ahead of the SC did not need to slow down behind SC but should switch to Delta time.
    The car already in the track shoud do the same and they have the opportunity to pit.
    Therefore only the cars near the end of the pit lane have been affected and it is not professional and fair having all the technology in the Control room and in the cars, ie GPS in cars and steering wheel display to name some.
    2 Hamilton has breaced the rules and he has been given a very little penalty compare to the gain that he made.
    The drive-through penalty is nowhere near the time he has gained overtaking the SC, need to be addressed sharpish in future
    3 Kobayashi has demonstrated that if Bridgestone will produce more marginal tyres there is an advantage to have fresh rubber at the end of the race and gain some places.
    The fact that the soft tyres were 2 steps away from the hard ones made the difference together with the hot condition.

    Overall Valencia demonstrated that we can have very good racing, need fine tuning with the SC and some cleaver or dumb teams, ie McLaren, but the overall F1 is in good shape for the rest of the season.

  17. monktonnik says:

    The thing that surprised me the most at the whole weekend was when MSC was brought into the pits under the safety car. Even I could see that this was an opportunity to gain track position against a much later pitstop. I seem to remember shouting something similar at the television.

    Unless Michael’s tyres were completely shot there was no advantage at all to doing this. I thought that under the current the strategist’s maxim was “track position is everything”.

    I am not sure that this was a decision that came solely from Ross Brawn. After the pitstop and subsequent delay you could see Ross talking to one of the team, and he looked really fed up. The conversation concluded with RB just shaking his head.

    Either way, I think we can conclude a couple of things from Mercedes performance this year:

    They still seem to have the same tyre problems that they had last year. I am sure that we all remember the qualifying issues that they had with JB in particular. There must be a fundamental problem with the way the car heats up and looks after its tyres.

    They need to stop trying with this car and concentrate on stealing a march on next year again.

  18. Rich C says:

    Stupid televisions never listen!

  19. Rich C says:

    James you need to do some technical checkup on this site.

    I just posted my 1st and only comment of the day so far and got this daft msg: You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

    Trust me: I *am slowed down and properly behind the SC with a tall drink in my hand!

  20. john g says:

    i think people are focussing on the wrong thing with regard to hamilton. he clearly slowed as he saw the safety car, unsure of what to do. this was why he was behind it over the line and why he got penalised as he overtook it. had he accelerated earlier he would have been ahead at the line and not been guilty of any infraction, even tho the outcome (and all of the associated risks to marshalls etc), overtaking the safety car, would have been the same.

    the main question should be why did the safety not pick up the leader of the race when it was deployed? you should never be releasing it into the middle of the pack!!

  21. James,

    A thought about how the Valencia safety car mess might have been prevented.

    From Daimler Benz press release about the 2010 SLS Safety Car -
    “The two centrally positioned green lights in the aerodynamically optimised light bar are illuminated when the Official F1™ Safety Car joins the field and first needs to overtake all the racing cars in front of it. Once the SLS AMG has assumed the leading position, the outer orange flashing lights are switched on to signal to the Formula-1 drivers that no overtaking whatsoever is allowed.”

    Note that this indicates that the Safety Car can overtake the race cars to reach the leader.

    After the Safety Car joined the track between Hamilton (2nd) and Alonso (3rd), Race Control could have radioed to Vettel & Hamilton to slow considerably until the Safety Car overtook them. This would have avoided many of the problems that followed.

    Link to Daimler press release on 2010 Safety Car
    http://media.daimler.com/nc/dcmedia/0-921-1283095-1-1284847-1-0-0-0-0-0-11701-854934-0-1-0-0-0-0-0.html?TS=1278401498210

  22. Luke A says:

    James,

    Regarding the setting on Red Bull’s engine that maintains exhaust gas pressure throughout the lap. Could this be used potentially in the race in a situation whereby you need a very fast lap either before going into the pits or immediately after coming out of the pits, in order to jump someone? It could be very useful in that circumstance I think.

    I also wonder if maybe that was what Vettel’s race engineer was referring to when he said “Use the overtake button”, before Vettel ended up crashing into Webber.

    1. James Allen says:

      Like when Vettel wanted to pass Webber in Turkey and suddenly sped up, you mean….?

      1. Luke A says:

        Yes I do mean that. I know that he changed his engine settings to high, rather than being in some kind of fuel saving mode, however, I wondered if there may have been an addition of using this engine switch to make full use of the blown diffuser for the whole lap, therefore flying through turn 8.

  23. Andy Karter says:

    I could accept it if decisions were made in the heat of the moment but this isn’t the case. As you say the Webber incident occurred in lap 9 yet the decision to penalise Hamilton didn’t come until what was it lap 20? The other half dozen cars deemed to have been speeding immediately prior to the Hamilton incident did not receive their penalty until after the race at which point the impact of the penalty could be seen prior to issue! The same was true with the Alonso jump start a few races back and right under Charlie’s nose; again how many laps did Alonso do before he was penalised?

    All this in an era of numerous cameras on around the cars, full access to telemetry and pit radio, GPS positioning on every car and former drivers giving advice. Just how hard can it be?

  24. Spenny says:

    If Red Bull are using the ECU to control the aerodynamics of the car, is it legal?

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH Strategy
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer