Posted on August 5, 2010
Hungarian GP: The Decisive Moments | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

The Hungarian Grand Prix has developed a reputation as a bit of a dull race over the years, although there have been some races where due to strategy reasons, the race has been enthralling.

One that springs to mind was the 1998 classic, when Ferrari’s Ross Brawn switched Michael Schumacher on a three stop strategy, which required him to knock out 20 laps of qualifying level intensity to beat the McLarens of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard.

Webber: Reprised Schumacher's 1998 performance


Mark Webber faced a similar task on Sunday, as he and his engineer took the decision not to pit under the safety car on lap 15. The main reason why they took this decision is that Webber had fallen behind Alonso at the start and pitting at the same time as him would have left him behind, so they needed to try something different.

He was 12 seconds behind race leader Sebastian Vettel when the safety car came out. If he had pitted that lap he would not have had to queue for service behind Vettel, so that was not a factor in his decision. But it’s interesting to note that, since Valencia, where Felipe Massa lost a lot of time and track positions, it’s been established that queuing cars in the pit lane under the current safety car rules is a bad idea, unless it’s raining.

Interestingly, Massa followed Alonso into the pits again this weekend and was only three seconds behind him on the lap when the safety car came out. Having suffered at Valencia and to avoid queuing, he backed the pack up by a further four seconds on the way into the pits. But this backfired as he lost a place to Jenson Button in the stops!

After the restart on lap 18, Webber knew that his task was to open up a big enough gap over Fernando Alonso to be able to pit and retain the lead. This would need to be in the order of 20 seconds. Even at a second a lap, this would mean taking the super soft tyres to lap 38 and taking a lot out of them to achieve the lap times.

Bear in mind also that the tyres which start the Grand Prix always take an extra pounding from carrying the extra fuel weight at the start.

So Webber’s and the team’s decision to adopt this strategy was very bold. But he made it stick.

When you look in detail at the race lap chart, you realise that it only just worked out for him. By lap 37 he had 19 seconds lead, then by lap 40 he had it up to 22 seconds, but then the performance of the tyres began to go off and from doing high 1m 23s laps, he did two high 1m24s laps. Any more of that and his margin would have gone, so he pitted and got out ahead of Alonso. But there wasn’t much in it and this is a credit to Alonso for making him work extra hard to build the gap.

The performance of the tyres on Webber’s car in the first stint shows how safe a tyre this super soft is and the temperature had a lot to do with that. Tonio Liuzzi did 55 laps on it as a second stint, having started the race on the hard tyre. It was clear that the soft was the fastest tyre last weekend, the question was whether to try to spend most of the race on it.

It was interesting therefore to compare and contrast the decision of Barrichello and Williams to start on the hard tyre from 12th on the grid and with Kamui Kobayashi starting 23rd on the super soft.

There are two tactics to starting the race on hard, one is to do a short first stint and then spend most of the race on the faster tyre, as Liuzzi did. But this only works if you can pass cars, which isn’t easy in Hungary.

The other tactic of starting on the hard and running a long first stint hasn’t helped anyone gain places this season in a race, except Kobayashi in Valencia, where the safety car removed most of the cars in front of him.

Here Barrichello lucked into a safety car too, which moved him up to 6th place and after staying out to lap he ended up fighting with Michael Schumacher over 10th and 11th places. But Schumacher had started 14th on the grid on the soft tyre, so his strategy would seem again to be the better one.


Bearing in mind that Barrichello and the other cars around him on the grid all gained three places from the retirements of Rosberg, Hamilton and Kubica. So by starting on soft and following the herd, Barrichello would have finished at least 9th.

But then we wouldn’t have had that awesome battle with Schumacher at the end of the race to savour….

Contrast that with Kobayashi who started 23rd, got a great start and was up to 14th place on the first laps. He then pitted a lap later than the majority, to avoid having to queue behind De La Rosa – he was six seconds behind on the road. He nailed Schumacher at the restart and was in the group that moved ahead of Barrichello when he made his late pit stop. He finished in the 9th place that should have been Rubens’.

The other key decision which made for a real talking point on Sunday was the release of Robert Kubica from his pit box into the path of Adrian Sutil. The Renault team was penalised for this unsafe release, which was clearly affected by the chief mechanic being distracted by the loose wheel from Rosberg’s Mercedes coming down the pit lane. No-one can blame him for that.

However the normal protocol when it comes to releasing a car is if in doubt don’t release it. That is the safest way. But here the approach seemed to be to let the car go and deal with it afterwards, which is disturbing.

This is an area where the thinking behind split-second decision making needs to be realigned back to a ‘safety first’ mentality.

Renault are among the fastest at pit stops this year, along with Red Bull. while Mercedes have been the fastest in general, partly thanks to an ingenious front jack, which pivots sideways when the car comes back down to allow it to drive away immediately.

Hungarian GP: The Decisive Moments
117 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Galapago555
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 8:53 am 

    “The Renault team was penalised for this unsafe release, which was clearly affected by the chief mechanic being distracted by the loose wheel from Rosberg’s Mercedes coming down the pit lane.”

    James, don’t you think that it is the moment to reconsider closing the pitlane during the SC periods?

    [Reply]

    malcolm.strachan Reply:

    …or at least for the first lap or two of a safety car period, until the field is in order…

    [Reply]

    Dave Roberts Reply:

    I like the way the safety car causes teams to make split second decisions and how drivers cope with the situation wherever they are on the track.

    [Reply]

    Jack Flash Reply:

    Yep, but this introduces a new factor on the race outcome, IMO unfair. Mean that many races are decided by where the driver is just in the moment when the SC is deployed (e.g. crashgate)

    [Reply]

    Nando Reply:

    I think a chance was missed when designing these new circuits and when upgrading the pits on some older tracker, they should of been made with two pit-lanes and bigger pit-box areas. Works fine in Indy Car.

    [Reply]

    Baz Reply:

    “James, don’t you think that it is the moment to reconsider closing the pitlane during the SC periods?”

    No!

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Samantha button lover
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 9:36 am 

    I think He will qualify 22nd

    and finish 17th!

    Thanks

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: d.h.
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 9:37 am 

    If it wasnt for the safety car deployment (remember seeing debris on track, but cant remember what caused it), this would have been another dull hungarian gp. The track offers almost no safe (rubens take note!)and consistent areas to pass and being a very technical circuit, we almost had the procession effect.
    when webber did carve out his lead for his pitstop, he continued at that pace, so wasnt under threat.
    if it wasnt for the safety car, this would probably have been one of the most boring gp’s of recent times. in the end though we had the pitlane crash, the wheel bouncing down the pitlane (james, did any reasoning get offered for how it happened?) and the now infamous barichello/schumacher incident.
    im looking forward to belgium, always a classic.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Let’s pray that there 7 more dramatic races like this left in the season. Thanks to Schumacher, safety car and Vettel’s drive through, otherwise it would’ve been a very boring race. Let’s also hope that it buckets down in Belgium.

    [Reply]

    Jack Flash Reply:

    I would prefer a dry weekend, so we see cars racing instead of boats sailing…

    [Reply]

    Spark Reply:

    The loose wheel was caused by a wheelnutfailure through the wheelgun. The wheelnut kind of desintegrated in the wheelgun. So the guy who was bolting on the wheel, changed to antoher wheelgun, but the lollipop man thought that he was finished by putting down the wheelgun. So this was a misinterpretation of the lollipopman, as you normally see the guys who are changing the wheels, put their hands above the wheels to indicate they are ready.

    [Reply]

    M__E Reply:

    loose wheel nut apparently.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Jonathan Vogt
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 9:41 am 

    Regarding the lack of safety in pit stops, here’s my solution (and I’m not sure how much this differs from Ferrari’s system). Several criteria need to be met before a car can safely rejoin the pit lane; each wheel properly secured, jacks removed, and the pit lane clear. Why not have each one of these criteria controlled by the responsible person such that, when they are all met, the driver is automatically given the signal to go (Green light, like Ferrari’s system). Each mechanic could press a button once his wheel change is done, likewise the jack men and the lollipop man could, instead of deciding when to release the driver, be in charge of determining when it is unsafe for the car to be released – ie, he would depress a button when and only when it’s safe for the car to go – if another car approaches, his finger comes off the button. This way, the lollipop man’s job is to ONLY look down the pit lane and not also at mechanics’ hands. Thus the car would never be released unsafely and the pit stop could still be executed very quickly.

    [Reply]

    Michael Grievson Reply:

    You could take it one setp further. All teams have a traffic light system. When ready you press a button. The system only then turns green (to go) when its safe to do so. It could use the GPS systems as a reference to other cars to calculate if its safe to release.

    [Reply]

    Ian Reply:

    Ferrari’s system does seem to be working very well, now that there’s no fuel hose to worry about.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Kenny
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 9:46 am 

    Was it not actually Lewis Hamilton that jumped Massa at the pits? Because Button was quite significantly further back and it was this slight backing up by Massa that allowed Lewis the window with his mechanics to sneak through?

    I think another thing we found out about the super soft tyres is apart from the safety aspect as you said was the amazing durability of them!

    [Reply]

    Henry Reply:

    I completely agree with the comment on the durability of the soft tyre – That stint was an amazing show of the technology and expertise that bridgestone have put into place ties last season – not only did the pace hold up for so long, with hot track temperature, but it really was safe. There is something to be said about this that the huge amount of downforce from the red bull does mean that although the tyres are being put under huge load, that actually reduces the lateral slipping and therefore helps with tyre wear to some extent.

    [Reply]

    Kenny Reply:

    Oh yeah absolutely. I think Anthony Davidson actually mentioned it during the Hungary practice sessions that it’s a win win situation with more downforce as the tyres heat up quicker AND can last longer because of the reduced amount of lateral slipping.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Track plays a big role on tyre degradation as we found out in Montreal.

    Kenny Reply:

    Formula Zero: I accept that too, but Montreal was (as many described) a special case in that the surface was like “marble”. It was just so slippery!
    However, what I believe Anthony Davidson was meaning was relative to each other, the car with the more downforce will manage the tyres better, but then depending on the track layout or more likely surface will bring the cars either closer together or a bit further apart. If that makes sense.


  6.   6. Posted By: Jon
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 9:57 am 

    James, I thought Massa lost the place to Lewis not Jenson in the pitstop.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Yep Massa lost the place to Hamilton, not Button. Button gained a place in the pit on Schumacher. Must be a mistake.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Stephen Pattenden
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 10:02 am 

    Great analysis as ever James.

    Focusing on the pit stop issues; David Coulthard made some interesting comments during the BBC post race F1 forum.

    He suggested that F1 should look to DTM which uses an automated jacking system that does not release the car until all four wheel nuts are safely secured. If F1 could tally this with the new “zones” for each team in the pit lane, then maybe we could avoid some of these incidents in future?

    Of course, there is always the whole “machine vs. human” element to this discussion, similar to the debate over lollipops vs. traffic lights a couple of years ago – which I note a few more teams are using this year.

    Something for the next FOTA Fans Forum maybe James!?

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Dave
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 10:09 am 

    The only thing I’d disagree slightly with is that you say there wasn’t much in it when Webber came out ahead of Alonso.

    Personally, I thought it all looked pretty comfortable, and when he did come out he had no defending to do while getting his tyres up to temperature.

    It felt to me like he not only got the gap required to pit, but also a few extra seconds so that it wouldn’t be tight. A great stint from Mark!

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    Also, I think he had to get by Yamamoto and Senna in those last couple of laps of his first stint, and looking at the driver tracker, Senna seemed to take a while to get out of his way. That might party explain the high laptimes.

    [Reply]

    er,go Reply:

    Yep, very, very good stint from Webber. Fast and clean as a whistle. The tyres let him take full advantage of that opportunity to get back out with new tyres in front of Alonso.

    I would say another decisive moment was Webber getting right up behind the safety car just before the restart and creating a lovely big illegal gap back to his teammate. Now, far be it from me to suggest he deliberately caused the young bloke Vettel to get a penalty, but with Vettel behind Alonso he did get 1st instead of second after running 3rd. Not bad for an old dog!

    [Reply]

    Fluebroggle Reply:

    I don’t think Webber being so close to the safety car at the restart is creating the big gap back to Vettel. Vettel should have been more aware and kept the gap closer.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Exactly right. Vettel lost because of his own fault. That was a very basic knowledge for any F1 driver. I guess he was afraid that Alonso could overtake him at the restart & as we all know how much FIA failed to improve the overtaking this year.

    er,go Reply:

    absolutely, he said himself he was asleep. the point i was making is that normally the lead driver is giving plenty of space behind the safety car to get a good run on the moment it comes in. Normally. I bet Webber had a pretty good idea where the blokes behind were, and he is someone who know the rules. After all, it was his accident in the rain when he got rammed a couple of years ago that provoked this rule of set distances behing the safety car.

    BMG Reply:

    Yah, it was nearly 6 second that Webber had over Alonso after he completed his Pit. “That’s huge”

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Edd
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 11:08 am 

    Don’t forget that those first set of soft tyres had been used to set Mark’s pole position time too the day before, so had had an extra heat cycle.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Mark didn’t have the pole position, Vettel did

    [Reply]

    Edd Reply:

    True, an oversight, but not central to my point. All the top ten were on used tyres, but nobody seems to mention that fact when quoting tyre longevity. All they say is “Wow, those options did n laps”.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Good point


  10.   10. Posted By: ian
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 11:12 am 

    If the FIA want to reduce the danger of pit stops during safety car periods – simple – ban them. They were brought back because of the risk of cars running out of fuel, that is no longer an issue.

    [Reply]

    M__E Reply:

    Exactly!

    [Reply]

    Ian Reply:

    Ban that chaotic melee? Are you mad?! It was great. I suggest a new rule, all cars must take a pitstop on lap 17 with 10 points for the fastest one.

    [Reply]

    Mart Hugh Reply:

    Good one, though could be improved. What about: All cars must take a pitstop on every 5th lap with 10 points for the fastest one.

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: ian
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 11:15 am 

    Rubens would have finished 6th – he was ahead of Hulkenberg – and would – if on softs – have pitted with everybody else.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    In hindsight

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: mtb
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 11:58 am 

    JAMES ALLEN

    Did Barrichello gain a position by driving off the ‘track’? i.e. driving onto the pit lane exit in order to complete the move.

    I remember a great degree of furore in some quarters when Massa overtook a Red Bull/Torro Rosso(?) at Fuji in 2008 by driving onto the striped section in order to complete the manoeuvre.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Looks that way, but hey, he didn’t have much choice! But it shows that rules are flexible!

    [Reply]

    ian Reply:

    He was pushed off the track!

    [Reply]

    Richard Mee Reply:

    Ha! It would be a very brave steward indeed to suggest that RB give back that place for going off track after him almost becoming a Banksy painting along that wall!
    The powers that be in F1 are often surprisingly contemptuous of public opinion but I think even they would struggle to justify that one.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    I hope you are not suggesting that rules should be enforced according to public opinion!

    However, I can understand the flexibility in this situation. After all, Alonso escaped a penalty for crossing the white line when exiting the pits at Hockenheim in 2008 – his action was no doubt influenced by being pushed in that direction by Vettel.

    mtb Reply:

    Alonso didn’t have much choice at Silverstone either!

    As you say, the rules are flexible!

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Exactly. Maybe in stewards’ mind it is to make the championship exciting or just to show off

    AussieGit Reply:

    I’m not sure that this element of danger has been mentioned elsewhere, but the fact that Rubens cut across the pit exit raises the risk of a ‘Zanardi’ type accident for any car leaving the pits at the same time. I guess a blue light would have been shown to anyone leaving the pits at that time, but with such a high pit wall and Rubens/Schumi travelling way off the regular racing line, it would be a big surprise for any driver exiting the pits.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Some people get penalized for gaining a position while driving off the track. Rubens has the sympathy vote from a lot of people. Only difference is that many many generation letter no one will know who he was or what he used to do for living because the number of championship next to his name is ‘ZERO’.

    [Reply]

    Harvey Yates Reply:

    I’m not sure that is true. Moss was one of the highlights of the BBC presentation of the British GP and similarly at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

    I feel that had he survived Gilles Villeneuve would probably have generated about the same degree of interest. After all, he is still talked of to about the same level by F1 enthusiasts.

    With each race being recorded and available if F1 still has a following in many generations, these great drivers will still be talked of and enthusiasts will know who they were.

    The WDC is a statistical construct. It proves nothing other than the driver got more points than anyone else. Even that’s not really true as in some years drivers had to discard some scores.

    There are hundreds, probably thousands, of books and DVDs on F1 drivers and these will ensure that the greats who never won a WDC, like Peterson for instance, will be remembered.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I completely agree with Derek on this one

    Jonathan De Andrade Reply:

    how many gps has he raced? Are you sure it is only number of championships what makes a pilot being kept within the hall of fame? I highly disagree with you. Rubens is probably not a world champion but definitely he is not a driver to be forgoten.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    I think that Rubens will be come to be regarded in the same way as Patrese – indeed, there are many parallels!

    Stevie P Reply:

    Didn’t Schumi make up several places at the start, by having all 4 wheels off the track (outside the white line) in Hungary on the outside of turn one? Kimi did this at Silverstone too, a year or two back, on the outside at Copse. Massa at Hockenheim, turn one too, I think. Alonso did it at Silverstone (past Kubica) and got a penalty!

    Excuse any inaccuracies (above) and I’m not trying to side with one driver or another… but there seems quite a few occasions where drivers have left the track completely mtb and made up places; some get penalised, some don’t.

    I’d like more consistency in this area.

    I’m becoming fed up of the huge swathes of tarmac everywhere. I know they are there for safety reasons, but it gives the driver too much leeway.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    I was referring specifically to the pit lane exit area. As far as I am aware, drivers are only permitted to drive along that area when exiting the pit lane.

    [Reply]

    Nando Reply:

    There is obviously a difference between going of the track and shortening it, and going of the track and lengthening it. On some tracks there is a faster line available by running over the white line and it isn’t against the regulations.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: mo
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 12:11 pm 

    quali 23rd, race 14th

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Harvey Yates
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 1:00 pm 

    The FIA must look at the safety issues of the pit stops, especially those under the safety car rules.

    You cannot put pressure on mechanics to perform a vital task in as short a time as possible and then expect them to be 100% each time. Indeed, it is remarkable that he have had so few instances of poor wheel attachment.

    I know that the cars are travelling slowly and the wheel doesn’t have all that much kinetic energy but it can go anywhere and hit any one and any thing.

    And again with car release. there are lights at the end of the pitlane. Why not have some light system at each pit? A car within a certain distance will trigger the red. If the car moves after it is comes on then, with apologies to Arnie, they’ll be back.

    Nothing is perfect of course but when a position can be made up by a smart release people will take risks.

    I’m with you about Mark’s middle stint. Very impressive. It’s on the circuit that we need the excitement.

    Not one of the great races but certainly one with lots of interest.

    [Reply]

    ian Reply:

    Don’t allow pit stops under the safety car.

    [Reply]

    malcolm.strachan Reply:

    How can NASCAR and IndyCar teams have so few problems with safety car rules, pit-lane safety, etc, and F1 have such problems? NASCAR teams pit several times, with fuel and tire changes, and you don’t see carnage down the pitlane, or have teams crying that the safety car rules screwed them over… They even have four more nuts to screw onto the studs! ;)

    I don’t get it, to be totally honest. It’s like F1 is blind to the rest of the world in terms of how things can be done. I hope Todt learned from his NASCAR visit a while ago.

    [Reply]

    Jason C Reply:

    There’s not enough room in F1 pits for each car to have its own service area. Also, many more people service an F1 car than a NASCAR.

    I agree F1 should learn from other racing series, but not necessarily in this case.

    [Reply]

    Rich C Reply:

    Nevertheless it does *not take 14 ppl to make a pitstop! 3 ppl per corner is overkill.

    Aside from the fact that these ghastly American series are looked-down upon by F1 ppl, they could actually learn a thing or two if they’d open their eyes.

    malcolm.strachan Reply:

    You completely misunderstood what I was referring to.

    They don’t have as many problems with safety, and none of the teams cry and whine that the safety car screwed them over. The rules are fixed, and the safety car ALWAYS picks up the leader. It’s stupid that the safety car doesn’t necessarily pick up the leader, and that the pits are open at all times.

    fausta Reply:

    Incidents happen, why call for changes each time something goes wrong?

    [Reply]

    Harvey Yates Reply:

    To be fair, the phrase ‘each time’ is not really applicable. There have been a considerable number of such incidents. I certainly do not think that the FIA should wait until there is a serious injury or worse before acting.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Formula Zero
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 1:10 pm 

    Late entry, but thought I’ll give it a shot as well. Schumacher will start 17th (because of the grid penalty) & finish 9th (because he is by far the best starter of the 2010 season & the track layout is suited to him).

    Rubens talk is finished I hope. Rubens should’ve been disqualified for more than one race for his actions in Monaco this year. He didn’t even say sorry, nor got penalized (Brawn GP didn’t even get penalized for nearly murdering Massa).

    It’s understandable that there are many fans and people involved in F1 who doesn’t particularly like Schumacher. But it doesn’t make Rubens the champion of sympathy. He has never been a champion material (including having the best car last year) & never will be. I’m a born Schumacher fan & always will be. Still I’m happy about him being penalized. But the bottom line is ‘steward’s decisions this year have been an absolutely mockery’ anyway.

    [Reply]

    Jan Reply:

    This charge has been made often lately. I believe Rubens did apologize. On the other hand, he was in the middle of the track, facing traffic in a broken and BURNING car.

    So, you do not like Rubens. It shows and is a bit over the top.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Jan the issue is not about liking Rubens or not. It is about the inconsistency of the steward’s decisions. As James Allen said in one of replies, ‘rules are flexible’. If I finish of James’s reply it would be, ‘rules are flexible depending on who’s on the spot light.’

    [Reply]

    Neil Reply:

    I think you need to look up the definitions of “murder” and “accident”. I think it unlikely that Brawn GP deliberatly set up a car to shed a spring with the pre-meditated aim of it hitting the driver of the following Ferrari. (You might also want to look up “slander” and “libel”.)

    Personally I tend take far more notice of posts that avoid wild accusation. It tends to colour my perception of the rest of the post – even if it has good insight in it.

    Neil.

    [Reply]

    Topless Porridge Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Neil I accept what you meant by my comments about the Filipe/Rubens incident. My frustration is about his comments ‘I’m lucky to be alive.’ The bottom line is he didn’t crash into the walls & he managed to make a great move over Schumacher. But his reactions were way over the top along with a significant amount of viewers & people in F1. But the history doesn’t only revolve around Schumacher. The point is Rubens’s history isn’t clean either. Another example is him accusing Brawn GP favouring Jenson last season. As I mentioned earlier he is the champion of sympathy when it comes to Schumacher, not results.

    [Reply]

    Mart Hugh Reply:

    Ruben’s reputation precedes him as a whiner. We saw it at Ferrari and at Brawn.

    EM Reply:

    I don’t have much regard for Rubins as a driver, he’s always been too fragile for my liking.

    However I defend absolutley his right to say I’m lucky to be alive especially 20 minutes after an incident that would have shaken up anyone.

    We all make comments in the heat of the moment and say things we’d maybe tone down if we had another chance. Just look at your comment accusing Rubins and Brawn of attempted murder one year on for example.


  16.   16. Posted By: Paul
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 2:20 pm 

    Since the race I was wondering about the restart after the safety car. How big was the gap in seconds from Webber to Vettel and Webber to Alonso on the first crossing of the start finish line after the safety car went into the pit lane?

    My thought is that when Webber came out after his first pit, he had something like a 4.5 second gap to Alonso. If the gap due to Vettel hanging back was less than 4.5 seconds, then Webber clearly “owes” his win to Vettel’s penalty for hanging back and keeping Alonso back too.

    During the safety car period, I felt that Red Bull was purposely setting up Webber with a larger gap. I know Vettel complained that his radio didn’t work, but it was clearly working a few laps later when he got the penalty. If indeed he was told to hold back at the restart, he would be really upset to find out he gave away the race win for holding back too far.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    What goes around comes around mate. Webber deserves the championship and every win he achieved so far only because Vettel is the favoured ‘Golden Boy’ for Red Bull. I hope that he is not going to crash into Webber again & ruin everything.

    It will be even more interesting to see if Christian Horner does favour Webber over Vettel because of his as it was his excuse for giving Vettel the front wing.

    [Reply]

    EM Reply:

    If you watch the race edit on formula1.com you hear Vettel apologising to the team for messing up the restart.

    Mind you his radio was working then, and at the late call pit stop.

    [Reply]

    er,go Reply:

    hey paul. I think vettel gave a couple of clues post-race, if we leave the radio to one side.

    Vettel said he was sleeping. ie not concentrating on what was going on in front of him. so he didin’t notice the safety car had the lights off and he didn’t remark the gap to the car in front of him. So i don’t think he was deliberately leaving a gap so Webber gained a few seconds at the restart. He certainly would have mentioned that as part of his excuse had it been so.

    He also said that he didn’t expect Webber to be so far away because normally the lead driver likes to hold all the cars up and control the restart. Webber was right up behind the safety car well before the restart. So Webber was doing something unusual. Vettel was not holding back. Webber was well foward.

    I would have thought that to hold Alonso back would be a big help, but it doen’t correspond with Vettels post-race demeanour.

    [Reply]

    SH Reply:

    If you watch the Hungary race summary on F1.com you’ll find out exactly what happened with Vettel, the safety car, and whether or not he or the team was trying to help Webber.

    [Reply]

    er,go Reply:

    Yep. Saw that just now. Not sure now if Webber deliberately widened the gap hoping for a penalty on Vettel, I think he blew it all by himself!

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: D.
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 2:41 pm 

    Ok, so Red Bull have the fastest car by at least half a second on most tracks, and they have the fastest pitstop crew. So whose head is going to roll at the end of the season when Alonso wins it all ?

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    If Red Bull doesn’t win the title it will be because of their poor team management & ‘reliability’. If Alonso wins though I’ll get healthier pay out than Vettel or Webber or Hamilton. There’s another upside to Alonso’s chances.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: JJ
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 3:02 pm 

    Would lowering the speed limit in the pit lane when the safety car is out increase safety?

    Does the FIA have any requirements for protective clothing of the pit crew (other than fire proof overalls)?

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Brian M
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 3:18 pm 

    It was hard to see how far the tire was from the car on TV. However, it was certainly very high in the air. Perhaps the idea was to get the car out of there as a tire coming down on the rear wing or on someone’s head was more of a threat.

    I find it hard to fault Renault on this one.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Red5
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 4:13 pm 

    Part of Webber and Liuzzi advantage was down to the conservative Bridgestone super soft. It hasn’t always been possible this season to run so long before heading to the pits.

    Montreal I think spooked Bridestone and there’s every reason for teams to run longer and longer knowing the soft compound will last.

    As you mentioned, Webber started on soft which with a full fuel load was quite a challenge. I suspect going forward the majority of strategy calls will favor starting on the hard until fuel loads are down then switching to the faster soft.

    Hopefully this will raise the prospect of drivers fighting to the finish.

    Does anyone know if the different tyre compounds affect fuel consumption?

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Andy C
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 5:05 pm 

    James,

    A little bit off topic, but did anyone get injured in the pitlane when Nicos tyre came flying down the pitlane?

    I saw it coming along the pitlane at quite a pace, then it hit something and flew up in the air. It looked like it might have hit the air bottles but I was amazed it didnt smash into a pitcrew member or one of the cars.

    [Reply]

    Andrew Reply:

    It hi at Williams mechanic, knocked him out and left him with a suspected broken rib. (He was interviewed on 5 live’s podcast.)

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Not sure if it helps your question mate. But Ted Kravitz from pit lane reported that somebody was taken to the hospital just to be safe because he was hurt. I think it was either someone from Saubar.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: drums
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 6:29 pm 

    One detail of the Russell Batchelor’s pic of Shumacher/Barrichelo in Hungary GP has (positively) surprised me. Both cars are at the end of the wall there. Yet Shumacher’s one is not even touching the white line. To avoid penalty? May be Michael also knew that the space between that line and the wall was just enough for Rubens’ car to pass and for Rubens to be deterred at the same time. Again, Michael is looking not to the front but to Rubens’ car, as he was looking during the whole maneuver. Cool blooded driving, anyway.

    [Reply]

    Formula Zero Reply:

    Well said mate. Nobody seem to appreciate the skills! As if any race driver will let the rivals just walk in the park without any resistance.

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Unbiased
        Date: August 5th, 2010 @ 7:08 pm 

    Only real key moment was Vettel’s radio not working and he didn’t know the safety car was going in that lap. He said himself after the sleeping comment…funnily no one reported this, they just hammered on the ‘sleeping’ comment.

    Unbiased reporting at its best!

    He only knew the safety car was going in when he turned around the corner and saw Webber flying away and the safety car turning into pits. His own words, after the sleeping comment.
    Webber stuck to the safety car like he was racing it, and normally he would have backed off and timed it.

    If Vettel had done it the way Webber did and Webber said in the press conference his radio wasn’t working and he didn’t know the safety car was going in that lap, all HELL would break loose. And you all know it.

    Accusations that RBR had told Vettel to stick to the safety car and jamming Webber’s radio so Vettel would get a jump.

    But this now happened to Vettel, so no worries, change the channel.

    [Reply]

    Artorwar Reply:

    Thats why they put lights on the SC.

    [Reply]

    ElChiva Reply:

    I really cannot buy Vettel’s lame excuse, IF the radio was not working properly, who in his right mind would lose sight of the SC two corners away from a possible restart?

    I still can’t make whose intelligence was more insulted, Vettel’s or the fans’…

    [Reply]

    Andrew Reply:

    I agree, Vettel is not stupid, if you have no radio you would watch that safety car like a hawk. I reckon he was trying to give Mark a headstart so they could pull off a 1-2. He messed it up and that’s why he was so annoyed after the race.

    [Reply]

    Anup Kadam Reply:

    Hey hie James,
    I would like to know that at Hungary during the safety car period Vettel said that he was sleeping but when i saw the video couple of times i doubt he was sleeping. Accordingly to me it was team orders to held up Alonso and let Webber create a gap on Alonso.
    Don`t you think those were the team orders.
    Vettel is lying. During the race he was totally angry bcoz he was penalised and was shouting all the time while after the race his race engineer told him to shut his mouth not to speak anything.
    That indicates it were the Team orders.

    The same happened during Turkey when Lewis was told by his race engineer to switch his car to fuel saving mode and Button was attacking him.
    Lewis confirmed on his radio that is Jenson going to Attack him and his race engineer told him that he wont means that indicates the team orders were given to both the drivers.
    So point here is that why don`t FIA investigate against this to teams.

    Vettel is not mad enough to sleep.
    He claims that he was sleeping, his radio was not working..how come at the same moment this things happened..and then how his radio started to work again..
    He is definitely lying.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    No, I do not agree. He has a simple task, to maintain a gap of 10 car lengths behind the car in front. After the restart, he wasn’t terribly fast, I agree but that’s not what he is referring to when he said he was asleep.

    er,go Reply:

    Too right James.

    Furthermore, you do not need team orders if you want to hang back a little bit to help your team”mate”.

    Liam Reply:

    The video on the F1 site has some interesting radio conversions, I don’t think it was team orders. The video doesn’t do any favors for Vettel and his public image.


  24.   24. Posted By: Paul
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 4:07 am 

    James,

    Can’t help thinking Webber will be hoping that the Redbull front wing does get banned. You made reference in your earlier tech article about the redbull rear maybe being a bit more unstable due to the flexible wing which history suggests Vettel will handle better. Webber likes the a stable rear end which he’s had from Barcelona to Silverstone, since then the new wing and Vettel has been slightly faster. So lets hope it gets banned from both the Redbull and the Ferrari and the Aussie will be back on top.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Don’r recall saying that. The car is very well balanced front to rear

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: FidoDido
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 6:34 am 

    How can anyone blame Renault or Sutil for the coming together in the Hangaroring pits?

    All to blame should fall back on the Mercedes F1 team pit crew. They release Rosberg with that crazy wheel that destroyed the races of KUB & SUT.

    The biggest damage was done to the poor soul in the Williams garage who got a broken back. I wish him a speedy +100% recovery.

    I suggest Renault and the injured Williams crewman take legal action against Mercedes claim compensation for damages.

    That was reckless pitting from Mercedes.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Sure, there was a problem there, but the rule is if in doubt don’t release the car

    [Reply]

    Steve Mizzi Reply:

    unless you see a wheel hurtling towards you and your crew, with nowhere to go because the car is in the way.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: F430-FOX
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 8:39 am 

    Maybe Mercedes can go back to winning a race if they manage to improve their pit stop time to be 20 seconds faster than anyone else …

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: F1Maniac
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 10:28 am 

    James,on a side note, how good is Kobayashi at the moment, he has been nothing short of stellar in my book and his latest performance just confirms it. I think he can still improve in qualy, but in the races he is superb.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Steve Mizzi
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 11:11 am 

    Hi James

    In my opinion Red Bull were racing Lewis Hamilton and not Alonso. The Red Bull mechanics were out waiting for Webber when Hamilton retired only to be called off when they saw Hamilton parking his car.

    Although credit has to go to Webber for being able to get so much out of the tyres for such a long time, when it comes to The Red Bull pit wall, I have my doubts on how much of it was inspired strategy as opposed to winging it.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Grant
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 1:27 pm 

    I usually dread the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    1997 was good with Damon Hill going up the inside of MSC and almost winning in an Arrows.

    2006 was another good race as Jenson drove through the field to win his first Grand Prix in his 113th race.

    And now we have 2010. Amid all the ‘stuff’ that happened it was, all in all, exciting and fun.

    All the following discussions just reflect the passion that exsists.

    Thank you James for the colossal time you spend taking us and our opinions in the spirit most of them are made.

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Kenny
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 3:10 pm 

    The race edit has on the F1 site has been released . . .

    Vettel’s radio seemed to be working after the restart – he says ‘f**cked up the restart, I’m sorry”

    The quote from Vettel after Mark’s pitstop is classic “how the f**k is Mark in front now, how is that possible?”

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: F1 Novice
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 4:33 pm 

    If they can have proximity sensors for next year to allow or disallow the use of the rear wing – they can have proximity sensors to not allow an unsafe pit release a la Kubica’s Renault.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: Vic
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 8:00 pm 

    Hi James,

    a bit off topic but would you happen to know what the front tyre regulations for next year will be? will it still be the narrow front tyres or will it go back to previous years? or has it still to be decided?

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    As far as I know it’s the same, but I should check that

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Ayrton
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 8:38 pm 

    Interesting radio transmissions on the formula1.com race edit for Hungary. To those of us who thought Vettel had been asked to hold the pack at the restart to help Webber I think his radio transmission after the restart appears to confirm his own admission that he fell asleep (“I f*$*ed up the restar, I am sorry”). You can also see how mad he got when Webber came off the pits still in the lead (“How the f**$ is Mark on front now, how is that possible?”). Clearly Vettel decided to try Webber’s theory of swearing on all his radio transmissions, so that they stay out of the broadcast…

    Also interesting are the German GP’s radio transmissions, which add some more to the team orders row. I specially liked Massa’s transmission after crossing the finish line: “What Can I say? I guess congratulations to the team…”

    James, what are your thoughts on making all radio communications available to the fans (live on the web for example) in a similar way to what NASCAR in the US does. Not sure if it was you or somebody else who said that if that were to be done, teams would just start to use code, which would result in incomprehensible chatter.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I’m a big fan of radio in the broadcast, have been since I did the Nigel Mansell Indycar show in 1994 and the research came back that the radio transmissions were very popular. You need to hear what goes into the decision making process. F1 can give much better access to drivers pre race and comms during the event than other sports like football where you get the manager before the game if you are lucky and a player or two live in the minutes after the match.

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: MattNZ
        Date: August 6th, 2010 @ 10:12 pm 

    Tech geek request here – this is the first I have heard of the Mercedes trick pivoting jack. Can we please have photos/diagram/explanation of this device?

    Cheers

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I’ll try to get them to let me to a piece on it in Spa

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: EM
        Date: August 7th, 2010 @ 9:11 am 

    Safety Car pit stop rules.

    What was wrong with them before? Nothing! No dangerous dash round the track to get in the pits, cars snaking in in an orderly fashion, you knew if the snake was going past you’d be stopped on the way out (well Lewis didn’t).

    Trouble was people were in danger of running out of fuel, tough! Carry two laps extra or be prepared to take the drive through IF the safety car came out and IF you didn’t have the reserve.

    No idea why they changed it but it makes for a brilliant race.

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Anup Kadam
        Date: August 7th, 2010 @ 1:05 pm 

    Hey hie James,
    Nice to hear from you for my previous post..
    But my next question is all F1 fans want to see exciting races…Last week all saw at Hungary where Mark`s soft tires survived for 43 laps and Kobayashi`s for 55 laps..this is really ridiculous. According to me the soft tires should last for not more than 20 laps…that will make the races more exciting.

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: ajpandabear
        Date: August 7th, 2010 @ 9:24 pm 

    Hi James,
    great forum!I’m expecting a great finale over the last few races. but i believe the engine usage will come into play. Is the usage of each engine, which circuits, how many races each engine has done? available to us before each race?
    have a great rest, your going to need it.
    Aussie Fan!

    [Reply]

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