Some unfinished business
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Intriguing situation developing over German GP
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Intriguing situation developing over German GP
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Jul 2010   |  2:59 pm GMT  |  107 comments

I’m interested in a few things which are developing for this weekend’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

One is the weather, which looks wet for Friday and Saturday and then quite cool on Sunday at just 22 degrees.

Darren Heath


Another is the tyre choice, with super soft tyres at one end of the range and the hard tyre at the other end. This is in itself the first time we have had such a range, which will make things very interesting from a strategy point of view as their operating ranges are very different.

We could have another Montreal on our hands.

The weather will play a part in this. If Sunday is as cool as forecast, hard tyres will struggle to warm up on some cars in the race, Mercedes is likely to feel quite nervous about this and I imagine Felipe Massa is weeping into his beer, as he has struggled all year to get performance out of the harder tyres. Engineers tell me that the hard tyre, which Bridgestone call the 199, will work in marginal temperatures, but the tricky bit is getting the fronts to work.

Another problem for the faster cars, which could level the playing field a bit, will be that the super softs will not last very long in the early part of the Grand Prix on the cars which qualify on them in the top ten on the grid.

This will be exacerbated should it rain, as is being predicted, which will leave the track green and that has massive graining on the super soft written all over it, particularly as there are lots of accelerations out of slow corners. So, we could have some of the top ten runners pitting very early in the race, which gives a chance to cars inside the top ten who can look after their tyres longer and possibly some outside the top ten, who can make a free choice on tyres at the start.

That said, we have been finding that whatever tyre you start the race on, the opening laps with full tanks tend to wreck the tyres pretty quickly. No-one has yet made the tactic or starting on the harder tyre work for them, because it obliges you to stop twice on tracks where the softer tyre is marginal, as it will be here. Will we see someone make it work this weekend? There’s a big reward if they can.

In the championship fight we have McLaren battling Red Bull, with a more competitive Ferrari in prospect, at least in Alonso’s hands.

Then we have the situation where McLaren has to validate the exhaust blown diffuser in practice on Friday, which might be made more difficult in the conditions,

“We’re working on the premise that we’ll have blown diffusers on both cars to start with. In Silverstone Lewis wanted to keep the blown diffuser on on Friday night. But we made the decision there to switch them both back to the old diffuser, ” said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh today in a Vodafone phone in session.

Williams managed to bring its exhaust blown diffuser to Silverstone and get it to work sufficiently well on Friday that they ran it for the rest of the weekend with a big upswing in performance as a result. This was quite a piece of work by Williams, which was noted with respect by other team’s engineers, particularly as many had suggested the team was losing its way technically. Williams divided it’s drivers’ programmes on the Friday in Silverstone, with Barrichello running the new configuration and Hulkenberg the old.

“We could end up dividing the drivers if there was a preference from one side of the garage to the other.” said Whitmarsh. “If I can I will avoid that but we’ll do it if we think it’s the right way to perform.

“There are advantages to running one car in one configuration and one in the other. But provided that in so doing you don’t end up rightly or wrongly accused of treating the two drivers differently,” he added with an ironic nod in the direction of Red Bull, who are on Red Alert for even the smallest sign of driver favouritism.

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107 Comments
  1. ian says:

    There have been few occasions this year – i think – when those likely to be towards the bottom in Q3 have simply sat it out and then run either the soft in as new condition, or gone for the hard to pre empt those in eleventh etc.

  2. F1Fan says:

    It’s going to be a great race that’s for sure.

    I just want to ask 1 thing. A close friend of mine works for mercedes he was at silverstone obviously working over the weekend. On Saturday he told me he saw both michael and nico head toward the back of the garage/into a room and start swearing/shouting at each other.

    What I want to know James is was there any mention of this amongst journo’s? There was not on track incident on Saturday so I can’t see why this would happen. I’ve known my friend since childhood and I doubt he’s lieing.

    1. Andy W says:

      I seem to remember Schumi being held up by Nico on one of his fast runs in P3, could have been that.

    2. JR says:

      Sounds like your friend is not very loyal to his employer.

      If someone from Mercedes reads this you might not be his friend for much longer: I suppose it depends whether James and his web team can be trusted to keep you anonymous, F1 Fan.

      1. FemiA says:

        I don’t think his friends loyalty is called into question over this afterall he didn’t post the question, F1fan did.

      2. JR says:

        I don’t understand your logic, FemiA. So if you pass on confidential information to someone who goes public with it, then you not culpable?

        I’m pretty certain that F1Fan’s friend will have a contract of employment that requires him to keep Mercedes F1 team’s secrets to himself.

  3. AdrianP says:

    Particularly important weekend for Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

    Jenson Button very much needs to start reversing the flow of points to the other side of the garage. He’s always gone quite well at Hockenheim as I remember things and a wet race or a race in which tyre strategy comes to the fore should be a good opportunity. It’s a worry for Jenson that he was much more uncomfortable with the blown diffuser than Lewis at Silverstone – an unstable rear end (which seems to be one of the inherent vices of a blown diffuser) is just what Jenson does not like. I also wonder whether a blown diffuser will favour drivers who are hard and early on the throttle (i.e. getting the ‘blowing’ effect quicker out of corners)?

    If Webber finishes above Vettel again, and either or both Maclaren’s do well, the suggestion of throwing resources behind Webber will become quite pressing. Last year Webber was phenomenally quick around Hockenheim, so he’ll be rubbing his hands…

    Fernando’s Ferrari has looked very quick at the last two races but he’s been scuppered by the stewards. A couple of wins and he could be right back in the hunt…

    1. monktonnik says:

      You are right. All the “number 2″ drivers in the championship need a positive result to keep in the hunt.

      Personally, I think that this will be an opportunity for Jenson to regain some of the momentum.

    2. Harriet and Blah Blah Nyborg says:

      Agree with the points you make. But one correction: last year’s German GP was at Nurburgring, not Hockenheim, so I don’t know if Webber or the Red Bulls in general will be as quick. Although, of course, they’ll be right up there as usual.

    3. Andy W says:

      Jenson has done well over the last few races, but he does need to start beating his team mate if he wants to secure a 2nd WDC.

      Vettel could do with a win, but giving Webber dominance here last season and the form Mark is in its going to be tough. Honestly I would rather see Vettel miss the top 10 and then have to race and overtake to make points.

      Huh? Alonso scuppered himself at Silverstone, and what were the stewards meant to do in Valencia? Hold off on sending the medical car to a driver who had just had a horrific accident? I think Fernando needs to put these distractions behind him and stop focusing on everyone else ‘ruining’ his races and instead focus on racing.

    4. James Punt says:

      I think last years German GP was at the Nurburgring, not Hockenheim. That said, The pressure is more on Vettel’s shoulders this weekend.

      1. C Pitter says:

        Lewis needs a dominant win to widen the points gap to his teammate and really start to regain his championship.

  4. Robert McKay says:

    It’d be ironic if the one experiment of running the widest gap (super softs and hards) was removed by rain during the race.

    1. shortsighted says:

      Just don’t understand why Bridgestone cannot produce tires that can work well under a much wider condition. Surely such racing tires with such a limited workable limit have no place in an ordinary car. Having these tires leaving chunks of rubber just off the racing lines to me is another fault of design by Bridgestone. It ruins good racing and encourages just ‘follow the leader’. I hope the next tire supplier will do better.

      1. Jason C says:

        I thought one of Bridgestone’s problems was that their tyres were too good, rather than not good enough.

  5. Robert McKay says:

    Anyway, I thought, personally, that the interesting thing about Canada was that neither compound lasted particularly long, which forced multiple pitstops regardless.

    Assuming the weather is dry is there not a risk that the supersofts are useless after a couple of laps, everyone switches and then just runs to the end on the hards, regardless of the fact its difficult to get temp into them? Don’t we just get a similar but more extreme version of the usual strategy?

    Surely if the idea was to replicate Canada then you’d bring the supersofts and the softs…

    1. James Allen says:

      The idea is not to replicate Canada, my point is that we could have weirdness as a result of the tyre supply and conditions, as we had in Canada

      1. Robert McKay says:

        Oh I wasn’t insinuating that you were suggesting that James, more simply that wasn’t this a kind of kneejerk decision in the wake of the Canadian race?

        Perhaps we will get some weirdness, I’m just saying mayber there were better ways to generate that weirdness :-D

      2. jonrob says:

        Yes weirdness, that’s what we need.
        Will Bernie try and ban cars from their garages this race because they are carrying sponsors logos?
        Will FOTA collapse in civil war as Bernie wants?
        Will Monaco really be out of the venue list next year?
        Is Adam Parr really a pyromaniac?
        Its gonna rain anyway folks, so the tyre question will be out of the fenestre. Red bull to qualify on hards, the rest on softs except Force India.

      3. Knuckles says:

        Kneejerk I don’t know, but Bridgestone did announce after Canada that they would use more adventurous tyre choices, starting with Germany (because the allocations for the GPs between Canada and Germany had already been decided and manufactured, as far as I recall).

    2. Luke A says:

      I agree, I though that bringing two compounds that are directly next to each other would provide better racing. The difference in qualifying performance may be minimal and some cars would benefit better from the medium, than the soft, for example. This would then lead to different race strategies.

  6. Red5 says:

    The teams and drivers will have learnt valuable lessons from Montreal. Getting the most out of the tyres could be key in the early stages, Hamilton in particular this season is making up ground in the first part of the races.

    If the RB team can maximize the tyre strategy I see Webber making a strong drive to the podium along with the chasing McLarens.

    Whether Schumi and Vettel can rise to the challenge of their home race remains to be seen. It could well be Nico taking the top German spot (again) this weekend.

    2 Questions:
    Will the exhaust blown diffusers be redundant next year as the double diffuser is banned?
    Do intermediate tyres also come in hard and soft compounds or will wet weather simplify tyre strategy?

    1. James Allen says:

      No blown diffusers are legal next year. Although Red Bull interpretation with the slot is not, interestingly

      1. Luke A says:

        Does that mean we’ll have single diffusers rather than double diffusers essentially?

        Otherwise, you could not make any use of the ‘blown diffuser’.

      2. Tony says:

        Hi James,
        Can you elaborate on this?

      3. BillDay says:

        James

        Do you mean: “No [comma] blown diffusers are legal next year”?

      4. Andy W says:

        What about the engine management system that Red Bull supposedly have that allows the engine to keep reving when the foot is off the accelerator?

      5. tharris19 says:

        It’s the same ECU (made by Mclaren)used by everyone. RBR has simply adjusted the settings to meet their needs.

      6. chris scott says:

        ECU is standard in all cars and made by mclaren and microsoft if i remember correctly

      7. jonrob says:

        Its also weird because they are meant to be standard units made by McLaren.

      8. hesus says:

        That’s weird. Does it mean that RB will still have an advantage next year, or is their version of diffuser already technically known by other teams and can be copied?

      9. Dave says:

        You have to remember that the RB5 was blindingly quick out of the box pre double diffuser. With F-ducts and double diffusers banned and with a fully working and understood blown diffuser I would say Red Bull should have a significant head start in 2011 development.

  7. Robin says:

    I know this is unrelated to this topic but was it just me who heard Alonso say something along the lines of “go home” to the crowd immediately after the Silverstone qualifying?? I immediately thought how rude that was!

    Did anyone hear this or has it been mentioned in the press or am I simply getting old…?!

  8. Andy C says:

    Will be an interesting race no doubt.

    James,
    any update on mclaren and how they have revised their blown diffuser in the light of the issues last time ? Or are they essentially trying to make it work through setup changes?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think that heat protection for the suspension will be one key area of upgrade. Not sure how they’ll modify it from a balance point of view, but maybe looking at the ignition idea of Renault to help with qualifying.

      1. Luke A says:

        James,

        I saw Ted Kravitz suggest that the Renault F1 team also had the ignition switch. I wasn’t sure whether he meant that they had the capability of doing it, as they share the same engine as Red Bull, or whether they are currently doing it? Do you have any information on this?

        Also, you say that McLaren are maybe looking at the ignition idea? Assumably, this would mean making it work with the Mercedes engine? Would they have to get authority off the Mercedes F1 team to do this?

        What about Ferarri, are they going to bring it to Hockenheim?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes, read the FX Pro Strategy briefing from Valencia and the LG Tech Report from Silverstone. Renault has the technology, Red Bull work with them on it. This is one area where an engine builder and customer have to be transparent

      3. FemiA says:

        If it is not built into the engine and with engine lock down, wouldn’t Merc need approval from FIA to implement this or is this area outside the engine homogolation regulation?

      4. Luke A says:

        Thanks James,

        I have read those, very interesting.

        Just to clarify, are Renault also currently using the ignition switch in Q3 to enhance their performance, or is it something they plan to introduce?

        I haven’t really see them make a huge leap forward in Q3, which you would have expected with the introduction of it.

        Also James, if McLaren wanted to introduce it, would they have to come to an agreement with the Mercedes F1 team and could their be a situation where Mercedes would make it difficult for them if they were both competing at the front?

  9. Ledzep4pm says:

    Weren’t Williams planning to run the Exhaust Blown Diffuser at the start of the year, but a change in engine supplier(toyota to cosworth) delayed it ?

  10. Ben G says:

    Achtung!

    I’ve just heard Schumi’s bringing his own upgrades:

    Rear-firing oil gun;
    Boadicea-like wheel spikes;
    And proper ‘barge boards’.

  11. Another James says:

    @Red5 wet weather tyres are just in two grades of Wetness. They’ve been called Wets and Extreme wets, or intermediates and full wets, but the difference is primarily the tread pattern. Each only comes in one compound – I think the size of the tread blocks and the way they flex means the two are made from different compounds, but I can’t be 100% on that point.

    BTW James, this is the sort of insight that makes me enjoy your writing. Straight news is easy to find, analysis, and what the events *mean* taken together less so.

    1. Brace says:

      I’m pretty sure intermediates are harder then wets. Also, extreme wets are softer then regular wets. It’s due to friction with tarmac and tarmac temperature. The wetter the tarmac, generally the cooler it is. And also friction on a soaked up track is not as big as on a damp track.

  12. gn23 says:

    very interesting indeed. maybe this might just stop the Redbulls running away with it and Mclaren will be there to pick up maximum pts, again!!!. Bad news for Massa again. I kind of feel bad for the man. He clearly has been out classed by Alonso in every way.

  13. Those Super Chrome McLarens says:

    I’m praying that McLaren can get their new floor to work this weekend, and hopefully add 0.50 secs ( bare minimum ) per lap. We’ve been living a bit of a charmed life for the last two races, we need more pace for qually from the “25″ if we want the championships.

    1. chris says:

      Pray that it rains and i think we will see Lewis on the top step on sunday. Hockenheim should suit the mclarens.

  14. ashley edwards says:

    Teams bringing blown diffusers not tested are going to be praying for day weather.

  15. Nando says:

    With the new position of some exausts would if be possible to direct some exaust gases onto the rear tires to get heat into them?

  16. hesus says:

    Very interesting compound gap indeed – Super Softs and Hards. I imagine that at the peak of F1 mountain there was a meeting and someone said: WIR MUSSEN KEIN LANGWEILIG RENNEN HABEN!!!
    So it was changed to make the race more interesting. Why it hasn’t been done for British GP or Spanish GP? It seems that Ze germans run the F1. I see new era of Mercedes coming with huge favouritism from FIA and the stewards. We will miss Ferrari/Mclaren small wars times :)

    1. EK says:

      Jokes aside, the compounds are selected a couple of months in advance (in order to give BS enough time to construct the tyres) – usually in batches of 4 races or so. Germany is the first round after the Canadian GP that hadn’t already had its compound allocation decided.

      Should hopefully be good! It’s back to super soft and soft for Hungary though.

  17. Flintster says:

    James,

    Safety cars aside!!!! Do you think Ferrari have a real competitive chance in Germany like in Canada? Ferrari are certainly talking their chances up before the weekend!

    1. James Allen says:

      The car has been quick lately, the results don’t show it. I think they will be competitive yes

      1. Flintster says:

        right answer! Cheers James

  18. Andrew says:

    If qualifying is wet but the race is dry, are the teams then able to start the race on whatever tires they want?

    1. FletcherB says:

      Yes.

    2. Treebeard says:

      Yes I believe they can, assuming that Q3 is wet China is an example of this

  19. Bevan says:

    If all are subject to the same conditions these weather & tyre issues will count for little,”the cream always rises to the top”.

    1. Ari says:

      Disgaree.

      If we are plagued with differing conditions requiring extreme/inters/slicks then it really brings the team and strategy into play.

      Take a few of the early GP’s as an example. Being an Aussie I’m a Webber/RBR fan but even I believe McLaren are miles ahead of RBR when it comes to team harmony and strategy which is one of the key ingredients of a wet race.

      The difference between a front driver and back driver in the wet is not what it was 20 years, or even 10 years ago!

  20. Tone says:

    Is the Ferrari chassis still kinder on its tyres than its competitors? If so, the hard/soft allocation could play into their hands with a longer first stint.

  21. Nick B says:

    James Allen:
    “No-one has yet made the tactic or starting on the harder tyre work for them, because it obliges you to stop twice on tracks where the softer tyre is marginal, as it will be here. Will we see someone make it work this weekend? There’s a big reward if they can.”

    Isn’t that exactly what Kobayashi did at the European GP – or am I missing something?

    Granted Kobayashi benefited from an early safety car, but he still made the tyres last for almost the entire race.

    Not saying it could be repeated successfully, but it has been done.

    1. Chris says:

      Koybayashi started from 18th on the grid in Europe, which meant that he started the race on fresh tyres (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_European_Grand_Prix#Qualifying_2). Nobody seems to have successfully run a race after qualifying in Q3 on harder tyres (see Webber in Canada, etc). (James, is this right?)

      1. Nick B says:

        Sorry, didn’t realise he only meant top 10/Q3 runners, thought he meant anyone at any GP.

        However, the fact remains Kobayashi did start on hard tyres, didn’t wreck them in the first few laps, did make them last almost the whole distance, and had a very successful race.

        Obviously the circumstances have to be right, and you need a large slice of luck, but it’s not impossible.

  22. This people do pronounce that webber be strongest here, for the preceding year he is strongest. These people are WITHOUT understand – a webber did not race here, last one!! The track becomes a total different!!!! HOCKENHEIM.

    1. Albevo says:

      Good point mitsifumi-san. Your English is better than my Japanese. Your blog is very funny. To quote:

      “I must tell it feelings of Vettel. When Vettel become pole or win it race, his FINGER makes for my FRUSTRATE! I have katana and wish it to be snipped off! Hatred of finger. SNIP FINGER”

      I’m sure many agree with you.

      1. Trent says:

        I hate the finger, but even worse is the mechanic who has taken to copying Vettel singal after each qualifying.
        Please – SNIP!

    2. Ari says:

      Sad but true!

      Here is Webbers most recent record for Hockenheim lifted from markwebberforum.com:

      2002 Minardi, Qualified 21st, DNF lap 23, Hydraulics.
      2003 Jaguar, Qualified 11th, Finished 11th.
      2004 Jaguar, Qualified 11th, Finished 6th.
      2005 Williams, Qualified 6th, DNF lap 55.
      2006 Williams, Qualified 11th, DNF lap 59, Water Leak.
      2008 Red Bull, Qualified 8th, DNF lap 40, Oil Leak.

      You have to say that even in the best car he’s starting behind it so to say!

  23. Liam S says:

    It’s good to see Bridgestone kept their word on bringing a much larger gap between the option and prime tyres to races from Germany onwards.

    James, I was just wondering what your personal opinion is regarding the change in layout at Hockenheim a few years back. Personally I much prefer the old layout, and if they really needed to change it, they shouldn’t have changed it so drastically.

    1. James Allen says:

      We they are two completely different things. The old Hockenheim was majestic, something really different, more like Monza. The new one is okay, but nothing really to recommend it.

      1. John Gibson says:

        Perhaps the worst aspect is that Mercedes Arena, which is just a very big, glorified chicane “complex”.

        If the new circuit had simply kept to the line of the straight that used to be there, a closer semblance of its high-speed nature might have been retained. Plus, more of the trees (the truly defining feature of the old Hockenheim, producing its eerie feel, evident even on TV) might have been retained.

        It’s one thing to hack into a circuit, but quite another to completely destroy its preceding character. Hockenheim is like an anti-Spa. The revision seem to have been designed to entirely obliterate its sense of character and place. I’d much rather than German GP was permanently at the Nurburgring, even if that too is a pale shadow of a track formerly holding its name.

      2. Craig says:

        I’m not a big fan of the new layout in terms of driving (the challenge etc), however we should remember that this track is one of the best on the calendar in terms of overtaking. It’s one of the few circuits where the drivers turn up saying “you can overtake here”, which makes a nice change.

        We had some nice overtaking at Silverstone but it was mainly due to cars running out of position (Alonso and Vettel). Plenty of the drivers who were running where they were supposed to said it was impossible (yet again) to overtake.

      3. Josh M says:

        The old Hockenheim was a joy to drive/watch. The castrated Hockenheim is like a kart track. So wish they hadn’t changed it.

  24. smellyden says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8838354.stm It would seem that Martin Whitmarsh has come out and said they wont favour Lewis. Is this just a slight dig at Red Bull, or is it trying relieve tensions building up at Mclaren. Any thoughts James?

    1. James Allen says:

      I was in on that conversation and he wasn’t making a big point. But the facts show that LH has the edge on JB now and so the team is in a good position to benefit as LH harvests the points

      1. Andy C says:

        It does seem (as I guess we suspected) that Lewis will be able to maximise a car that is struggling more than Jenson.

        It is interesting that they have not excluded the thought that one car might run “blown” and one not.

        Didn’t Lewis want to keep the diffuser on after Friday at Silverstone?

        I think (even as a JB fan) that Jenson needs to up his quali game, as in race pace is doing really well, but is just too far back at the start.

    2. Ari says:

      When it was Hamilton vs Alonso, even then they didn’t come out and say they favoured Lewis…. but they did!

      Ultimately, there is NO WAY a team could come out and say they favour one driver in the current politics of F1 and with as many races remaining as there are.

      BUT in saying that, as we get deeper into the year ALL of the front runners will have to choose their driver and run with them as points will become tighter and tighter.

      McLaren have Hamilton.
      Ferrari have Alonso.
      Red Bull have Vettel.

      If McLaren give Hamilton the chance to be the greater points scorer while Red Bull swap their winning points places every second week then, ultimately, McLaren win the WDC. It’s a simple math thing really.

      McLaren, however, are in the fantastic position of being able to say “oh we don’t favour” drivers and thus throw more fuel on the fire that RBR are trying to turn down making it harder and harder for RBR to, when the time is right, be able to come out and choose a driver publicly.

  25. JohnBt says:

    As long as it’s not processional we will welcome the tyre differentials extreme for Germany.

    Sounds like this will be the most interesting race of the year.
    As always, the first turn jostling is what I like most.

  26. TG says:

    Hi James, this is completely off topic but I can’t help asking, as I’m a resident Kiwi.

    Brendon Hartley getting cut from RB’s development programme – some are saying its down to a snap judgement from F1′s new bogey man, Helmut Marko, rather than any poor performance from Hartley, even though he has had a suck year in his championship.

    Can you shed any light on whether Hartley’s cut was actually justified or whether its the symptom of some sort of power struggle in RB?
    Apparently, the F1 team was a big fan of Hartley’s due to his prowess in the simulator, so it sounds like Marko might be doing his old bull-in-a-china-shop routine again.

    cheers – and keep up the excellent work. Most F1 forums digressed into Alonso/Hamilton bashing fests years ago, but you’ve managed the blog very well.

    1. James Allen says:

      I will ask Christian Horner tomorrow in Germany

  27. mo kahn says:

    Well, its a boring boring track baring ofcourse whats left of that legendry super fast old track.. the first conner and the stadium section still possesses the only true racing interest, the rest of the track is purely a wind down from turn one to the stadium section.

    I do fancy Mclaren to do well there. Seb and Web (sounds like a rap song) do have the fastest cars but have the tendency of shooting each other on the foot.

    The Mclaren however, have the best driver line-up.. by far the most complete and the most complete package and if the manage to get that floor right, which I’m sure they must have not sat idle on since the British GP, they will be make everyone look rather ordinary including the Redbull monkies.

    However, my personal interest lies with Fernando Alonso. He has been a revelation this season. At comes a true Ferrari Driver in a true Ferrari mould. I can compare his few drives baring Valencia to Giles Villenuve.. there was heart in his drives and I’m sure and forsakes of the spectacle I wish he continues to drive through his heart.

    Give him 90% of a car of what Redbull and Mclaren are and I’m sure you will see a new complexion to this season, for honestly, apart from Alonso its all been about cars, be it Red Bull or the Mclaren, their drivers delivered when the car came good, but Alonso on the other hand has been driving a notch above than anyone on the grid.

    Some may disagree to my views, but if you remove your personal elements out from Alonso and see Alonso the driver, I think you will see things in a very different light.

    Bracing for a good German GP.

    Ah and about Schuey… Give him this year… he is re-adapting… next year… I’m sure he will make everyone on the grid look rather ordinary.

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      Mo, about Schumi, I hope you’re not putting the house on it. Otherwise, time to dust off the tent …

      PS, when I post for the first time in a week, does the site say I’m posting too quickly ?

      1. Nando says:

        Sometimes I get an error message when trying to reply. Think it says “Slow down, you’re posting to quickly”

      2. Jason C says:

        Me too.

      3. mo kahn says:

        Grabyrdy,

        The most lethal thing about Schuey is that he channels all the available resources for himself. At this juncture he is still in the process of making that happen with Mercedes. By no means Rosberg is no push-over, and Schuey has been beaten on a numeber of occassions by his teammates, namely Ruben and Massa. But what Shuey gets to a team is world championships and consistency, something where others fail by quite some distance.

        If you review his carrer, he always consistently fought out, may it be Senna, Hill, Villenueuve, Hakkinen, Alonso or Raikkonen.

        This is a true reflection of his metle.

        Now the game has changed. God F1 is more complicated now than it has ever been with Double Diffusers to Blown Diffusers to Tire Variants to F-Duct.

        So, its natural to give him a season’s window to re-adapt to all these techonological advacements.

        He might not be young and might have a reflex deficit. But fludity and his competitive furiosity can never be questioned.

        Afterall, Drivers of Schuey callibre and the ones who offer the level of commitment as he does are rare in coming.

        And about dusting my tent… I own plenty of houses to put on :)

      4. Grabyrdy says:

        Mo, nothing you say is wrong. But I fancy his “reflex deficit”, which I sense also, means that none of it really counts at the very highest level. A year seems a very long time to really get back on it.

        Time will tell. Rendezvous in a year’s time to see who’s right ?

        PS Glad to hear you’re well set up for houses, just in case …

      5. mo kahn says:

        Grabyrdy,

        Thank you for your reply, I know one year is a rather longtime for a driver of Michael’s Caliber to take to get back into thick of things. But lets not forget, after three years of sabatical he still is managing to give Rosberg an occassional sweat or two.

        But, we all know, Michael does have a unique approach to racing. His goal is not to prove himself against his teammate but to win a worldchampionship. Bearing that in mind he needs to develop a car that can deliver this. It was all too evident in Valencia where despite of multiple pitstops and being completely out of any noteable contention he altered the task for testing and clocking in fastest laps on a few occassions.

        I feel its his approach which is being misread currently and would only be visible next year.

        Forsakes of F1 I’m hope I’m right :)

        Godbless Bud :)

  28. malcolm.strachan says:

    James: do you know why teams have not been trying to use scrubbed tires at all??

    I was thinking that if they put a quick heat-cycle on a set of the harder compound during FP1, wouldn’t they then last longer for the first stint at a more abrasive circuit??

  29. Paul Mc says:

    Hockenheim has lost its soul in my opinion since it changed the layout. My best memories of the old circuit was Mika Hakkinens tyre exploding in 1998 and Murray Walkers reaction to it.

    Looking to this weekend i really hope Schumi can deliver a solid result and maybe a podium. Its quite fashionable to be slating him at the moment and the Schumi haters are loving it. James i remember watching Saturday qualifying in 2004 when Schumi absolutely destroyed the new layout, stunning lap. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xz0MSgkPXg

  30. Mr G says:

    Analysing all the different information given until now about tyres, weather and car performance so far, the German GP could be a very interesting race.
    Bridgestone choice of tyres is very particular, months ago Bridgestone were adamant that they did not want to see tyres not able to finish races while Bernie and the fans were crying for more marginal tyres, I wonder who won at the end, Bernie off course.
    Bringing those tyres and the possible weather changes, the teams will need to compromise on the set up and most of all, the track will not rubber up if we will have rain.
    Without any grip the supersoft will grain creating a lot of problems.
    Mercedes, Renault, Force India and Toro Rosso will struggle in these conditions and probably Ferrari with Alonso, McLaren and Red Bull will create a bigger gap w ith the rest of the field.
    In my opinion the ones to watch will be Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.
    I believe that Sebastian Vettel will struggle with these conditions and my personal choice for the win in Germany will be Alonso, Ferrari is back in the hunt.
    But watch out, if we will have rain during the race, for Rubens as well

  31. hesus says:

    James in your comment to the previous text you mentioned the wrangle between Allsport and Fota developing. You said:

    “It’s funny that it’s never been a problem before. It will be resolved, just some early sabre rattling. There will be much bigger bumps in the road soon.”

    It would be interesting to know what bumbs are we talking about. After Hungary there will be plenty of time to talk about 2011 season. Maybe there is a chance for “10 issues that have to be cleared for the 2011 season” text on your blog?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s not 2011, its 2013 we are talking about. THe new Concorde Agreement

  32. ogi says:

    James do you know will it be “drivers trackers” on BBC online for this race?
    It was great for British GP.

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t know, but I imagine so as it was a great success

      1. ogi says:

        Following the success of its introduction at the British Grand Prix, BBC Sport has decided to continue with the new Formula 1 driver tracker feature.
        Great!

  33. PaulL says:

    To be honest the idea of tyres spicing up the racing seems a gimmick. I’m not in favour of tyre management being a driver skill – I only want flat out sprinting. You can tell more about a driver who can push the limits of his car and himself.

  34. Mars says:

    There is a report out now which says that a senior RBR mechanic stated anonymously that Webber did not want the wing during the training sessions.

    He was only complaining about how it’s not good and won’t work. And when suddenly 1 was left over, he wanted the wing come hell or high water. And the team was very surprised and shocked he made such a fuss about it, while he didn’t even want work on the wing dirung the training.

    Vettel on the other hand was positive about the wing during the training sessions. Adding these things up led the team to decide what they decided.

    It seems Webber is totally not wanted by the team at the moment because of these kind of weird primadonna moves.

    Kimi they say is still an option for next year for RBR.

    PS: why doesn’t it let me post this without a proxy? Censorship?

    1. James Allen says:

      Quality control, keeping the standard high, read the rules of the blog

  35. Chris H says:

    Excellent insite James, preparing us already for another weekend. This is why I keep coming back to your website – I don’t know of another which prepares you and analyses in this fashion.

    Thanks, and keep it up.

  36. Jimmy says:

    There is a more interesting report out now which says that a senior RBR mechanic stated anonymously that Webber did not want the wing during the training sessions.

    He was only complaining about how it’s not good and won’t work. And when suddenly 1 was left over and they said it’s going on Vettel’s car, he wanted the wing come hell or high water. And the team was very surprised and shocked he made such a fuss about it after the qualifying and race, while he didn’t even want to work on the wing during the training.

    Vettel on the other hand was positive about the wing during the training sessions. Webber also had a new lighter floor, which Vettel didn’t have. Adding these things up led the team to decide what they decided.

    It seems Webber is totally not wanted by a big part of the team at the moment because of these kind of weird primadonna moves. Unfortunately the media and fans also feed his act of ‘poor guy’ while the truth seems to be very different.

    Kimi, the report says, is still an option for next year for RBR because senior RBR figures do not want Webber anymore.

  37. Malcom says:

    Potential rain this weekend could possibly mean green tracks for both qualifying and the race. I believe Hamilton’s best performance took place at Hockenheim in 2008, which Niki Lauda described as ” It was Senna type driving “. Look for a possible winning performance from Lewis on Sunday.

  38. Luke A says:

    Hmm James, I submitted a comment earlier and it wasn’t accepted for some reason.

    Anyway, my question to you was regarding something you previously said about the engine retarding ignition switch:

    “Renault has the technology, Red Bull work with them on it. This is one area where an engine builder and customer have to be transparent”

    My question was – are Renault currently using this trick with their blown diffuser in Q3, or are they planning to introduce it? It’s just I haven’t seen them make a huge jump in Q3 like Red Bull do.

    My other question was – if McLaren are to introduce the engine ignition trick, will they have to get it passed by the Mercedes F1 team and if Mercedes were fighting with them upfront, could there be a situation where Mercedes make McLaren’s life difficult.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sorry about that. Something went a bit pear shaped on the comments today. Seems to be working again now. The ignition trick is common to both Renault engined teams. Mercedes are working on it for their teams, yes

  39. Malcom says:

    Potential rain this weekend could mean green tracks for both, at the starts of qualifying and the race. I believe Hamilton’s best performance was at Hockenheim in 2008, which Niki Lauda described as ” It was Senna type driving “. Look for a possible winning performance from Lewis on Sunday.

  40. Noahracer says:

    I think Flavio visited Ferrari on behalf of his new client……….. Valentino Rossi.

    I hope he is successful.

  41. F1 Fan says:

    Am hoping for rain – but fearing the worst

  42. F1 Fanatic says:

    Marginal tyres like in Montreal should make for an excellent race tactically. It could force some of the teams to make two stops or more, and it could force some drivers to perform kamikaze overtakes to make their strategy work if their strategy fails to work (i.e. if dependent on safety car).

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