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90% positive response to Chinese Grand Prix spectacle
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Apr 2011   |  12:39 pm GMT  |  232 comments

An online poll on JA on F1 overnight has shown that from a sample of over 3,500 fans polled, 90% of them thought that the Grand Prix yesterday was really good and that the racing in China was entertaining.

This contrasts with the mixed feelings after the first races, where there was too much action in Malaysia and not enough in Melbourne.

Not everyone is happy about the new style racing, with around 10% still feeling that the DRS and the high wear Pirelli tyres make the racing artificial.

Meanwhile 55% of a poll of 6,000 JA on F1 fans thought Mark Webber was the Driver of the Day for his charge through the field, ahead of race winner Lewis Hamilton who polled 35%.

I’ve picked out two points of view from fans which sum up the general mood about the spectacle we saw yesterday, however.


Posting this morning, Simon said, “I understand [the] point that tyres are maybe of too much importance to the pace of an F1 car, but I take a different point of view than this is “manufactured racing”.

“If looked at from a completely different standpoint, F1 itself is a manufactured thing, everything is manufactured, the engine, the front and rear wings, the bodywork and everything. A few years ago it was the double diffuser that was the difference between Brawn and the rest of the field, now tyres is the differences. Because the cars from the tops teams are so close in terms of performance, any advantage would be made to looked to be a great advantage, I can’t see someone from the lower teams starting from 18th and finishing 3rd, and at the end, everyone is given the same number of set of tyres, same rules for everyone.

“But all in all, this is a personal preference. I would rather see this type of races than everyone finishing the race in order of what they qualify with no overtaking, and wouldn’t mind if everyone try to qualify 18th and overtake people to try to win a GP!”

Meanwhile regular contributor Trent said, “After watching dozens of races over the years without a SINGLE top-6 overtaking manoeuver (outside the pits), give me this formula any day.

I’m starting to think even the Spanish and Hungarian GPs could be worth watching this year!!”

It’s not all positives, though. Although the last minute adjustment to the DRS zone made for a good compromise in overtaking, it’s clear that some teams are still having problems with the DRS and KERS. Michael Schumacher lost some time in qualifying with a DRS problem on the penultimate corner and in the race Fernando Alonso had issues for the second race in succession.

A BBC producer spotted Alonso’s DRS opening after Turn 14 as he battled with Schumacher, in an area where it should not have been activated. It only opened for a couple of seconds, but it raised questions about the synchronisation of the system.

According to the BBC, the FIA explanation of the glitch was that Alonso’s system was activated late. Instead of opening 750 metres before Turn 14, it opened 300m before and was still active after the corner.

It’s clear he didn’t gain any advantage from it and it was a glitch so no penalty applies. But the teams have three weeks to perfect the DRS system before the next race in Turkey, where it will again play a major role in the racing.

Photo: McLaren

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  1. Kevin says:

    the whole offset drs activation thing does not make sense because no matter when you activate it it is supposed to immediately close and no longer be able to open when the driver touches the brakes. So even though it was only opened 300m from the corner he still would have had to brake for the hairpin.

    1. EM says:

      It does make sense if the default setting in a race is open if the FIA system says it can be unless the brake is on, which is pretty sensible.

      1. wayne says:

        I’m just infuriated that so many people including Martin Brundle give the driver of the day to Webber! Webber has basically been given driver of the day because he made a complete mess of qualy! Hamilton performs at 100% all weekend and Webber performs at 100% on Sunday only yet he is the star? Had he/his team not been terrible in qualy there would have been no star drive on Sunday! There is no justice when you praise a guy for messing up qualy and finishing third over the guy who did everything right all weekend and won without even having the fastest car under him. Were I Horner I would be at least as interested in what might have been had my driver/team collectively not made a hash of qualy as about heaping on the praise for clawing his way back to third place in the fastest car on the grid.

      2. Toby says:

        Hence “Driver of the Day” not driver of the weekend. Sure Hamilton drove pretty much flawlessly, but he didn’t have to pull anywhere near as many overtakes as Webber.

    2. Luca says:

      true – but if you watch the footage, the flap is closed coming out of the corner and then re-opens momentarily before closing again for the next corner.

      1. yes, DRS activation area was offset, but has default cars have to close DRS under braking it would have closed when alonso got to the corner and braked ( car does this )

        and from what i have read ferrai open there DRS ( when they are allowed ) on a switch/position of the throttle pedal.

        so that why it opened after the corner , the car / pedal ask the system to open , normally the the FIA/system would say no in all other places on the circuit. so DRS would not open.

        simples.. just a mistake/bug in the system somewhere. why is everyone fussing about it.

        Matt

    3. Buck61 says:

      Key word: glitch

      We are all using computers and machines so we know these things can happen. Every race in F1 we see something that shouldn’t be.

      1. 4thtryFirst says:

        It doesn’t matter so much now but if it decided the WDC then people would be angered.

        Imagine if a driver moved up one position gaining 2 or 3 points and then won the WDC by up to 3 points.

    4. Ralph says:

      Guys,

      I was interested in this so I had a really good look at it. First some background:

      Basically there are two switches that have to be on to allow the DRS to deploy. FIA control one remotely, and the driver controls the other. When the driver brakes it automatically turns their switch off. In extreme conditions the driver also has an override to allow deploying the DRS even if the FIA switch isn’t on. According to Charlie Whiting there are “Extreme penalties” for using this override, and FIA would know if it had been used. This is not what happened with Alonso.

      To see how Ferrari deploy DRS look here where it explained by one of their chief engineers (in english) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnrEHOHCVEk&t=11m42s but there is a button behind the top left of the steering wheel, like a trigger. Top right for KERS.

      If we look at the replays of lap 23 we see in car footage of Alonso and see the FIAs idea of what speed he is going. Down the back straight it flicks to 0 on multiple occasions. There is definately some communications glitch.

      When the footage jumps out of car we can see that Alonso’s DRS only actually deploys about 1 second before he has to brake, rather than the usual 6 seconds or so. This supports the FIAs explanation of the DRS activation being offset for whatever reason.

      When they turn out of the hairpin (corners 14 and 15) We can see a light at the top right of Alonso’s steering wheel. (This is where I’m guessing) It seems to me this tells Alonso he can deploy DRS. It looks to me like he deploys it using the trigger a different light comes on to show it is deployed, and you can see he looks in his mirror to see if it was deployed. You can also see this head movement from the out of car replays a lap or two later.

      I don’t think this was anything dangerous. The DRS can’t deploy on its own, Alonso saw the light on and wondered what was going on. Pressed the button, and saw he had deployed DRS. He braked, and it shut off again. When he came out of the corner 16 the FIA had turned it off again and he couldn’t use it anymore.

      Looking at the regulations I don’t think he has broken any regulations as it states that:

      The adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has completed a minimum of two laps after the race start or following a safety car period.
      The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics (see Article 8.2) that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled by the control electronics the first time the driver uses the brakes after he has activated the system.

      The FIA seem to have detected Alonso in the right places, but due to the communication glitches I showed earlier the message to allow DRS was slow getting through, as was the message to turn it off again.

    5. Nando says:

      One thing I wondered did the DRS light up and then Alonso activated it again? Seems strange that it didn’t reactivate until he came out of the corner.
      Some nagging doubts that it may of been a Ferrari issue since Alonso’s DRS didn’t work properly in Malaysia either.

  2. Fareed says:

    Isn’t the DRS malfunction a potential safety issue? For example if it stays open during a high speed corner?

    1. Stefanos says:

      My thoughts exactly!

    2. jls says:

      yes, or if it randomly opens, but the FIA assured us the device would fail to safe.
      /sigh

  3. JW1980 says:

    Great comment from Trent. Could there be an exciting Spanish GP this year?
    It was an excellent race yesterday, very much reminded me of the early to mid 80s when someone in 5th or 6th could go on and win the race. At one point Hamilton was 9th.
    As a consequence of the improved races qualifying perhaps will not be as exciting as it used to be. I hope a situation does not emerge whereby qualifying runs become minimal as drivers save tyres for the race.
    As great as Mark Webber’s run was I think perhaps he gained too much of an advantage by not using any softs in qualifying. I thought that the idea of tyre allocation In qualifying and then in to the race was to close the gap between the top teams and the slower ones. In Mark Webber’s case with his superior car and better tyre allocation he had a very significant advantage.

    1. Totally agree JW1980. I was thinking the same thing.

      Do you remember the days when Prost used to bide his time to preserve the car and tyres, then come through the field later in the race?

      It also reminded me of the classic British GP of ’87, when Mansell came into the pits dropping 29 seconds behind Piquet. Then with 28 laps remaining he closed Piquet down on fresher rubber and took the lead with 3 laps to go. Brilliant!

      Grand Prix racing of old was never all about going flat out. Strategy always played a huge part and I love seeing it playing a big role this year.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      +1 I wrote about it below before reading your comment. Mine is more detailed

    3. Born 1950 says:

      That’s true, but deceptive. Webber only did Q1 so only used hard tyres. Most of the other top drivers only used hard tyres in Q1 too — but they managed to get through to Q2.

      I believe I’m correct in saying that Hamilton actually didn’t use softs until Q3 — hence he had the additional unused softs in the race.

      1. BMG says:

        But that’s called planning for for the long game. Hamilton is starting to gain my respect. He has always been fast, he clearly has learnt his race craft and put it into practise. While my vote went to Webber, Hamilton ran a very mature race.

      2. James Draper says:

        The article asked for driver of the day not the weekend.

        Driver of the weekend HAM
        Driver of the day WEB

    4. TheWon4 says:

      Webber’s result has only positive implications for qualifying. Neither Red Bull nor McLaren have any interest in starting from the back on fresh tires. They don’t fancy a mighty struggle for the bottom step of the podium b/c it’s too risky and it allows their competitors to control the race pace from the front.

      However, other teams may not feel the same way about starting from the back of the grid. The midfield private teams may see value in saving all of their soft tires. Instead of Weber charging for the final podium paying position we might see a Sauber. If a majority of the midfield teams run hard tires, it creates incentives for the lower factory teams like Ferrari, Renault, and Mercedes to run hard tires b/c they want to save their softs. If they run hard tires, then McLaren and Red Bull might choose to use hard tires.

      If everyone uses hard tires in qualifying, there are huge incentives for one of the lesser teams to throw on a set of softs and try to steal pole at the very end of the session. You see how much more oomplicated Webber’s charge has made qualifying.

      It would be even more insane if they took the markings off of the tires. True prisoner’s dilemma b/c you have to cope with greater uncertainty.

      1. D@X says:

        I like your thinking “It would be even more insane if they took the markings off of the tire”
        I think this would make things more interesting, that way we could see all manner of strategies and give the back markers a chance to race. Overall the suspense would almost make it into a card game, see who calls the bluff and watch the reaction..Only the wet tire would be a give away.

  4. Mark Jordan says:

    I may have missed it, but how is the DRS activated in the Ferraris? From what ive seen most others have a button on the wheel, so does that mean Alonso was pressing the button after the corner anyway?

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Maybe that the Ferrari drivers don’t use the Button (not Jenson ha ha ha !) to disactivate KERS and rely on automatic disactivation when braking.

    2. Landon says:

      I was under the impression that it is attached to the throttle, so under full throttle activation it opens.

    3. Irish con says:

      Ferrari use a foot pedal system so I believe

      1. Mark Jordan says:

        Yeh i did some googling and found it is a foot pedal.

        Delay in the activation or not, in my eyes he shouldn’t have been using DRS after the corner.

      2. Elliot R says:

        You assume ‘he’ was actually using it with a manual imput.

        If DRS activation in the Ferrari is linked to the throttle then the error is with the FIA’s electronic system allowing the DRS to open. Not with the driver/car ‘asking’ for it to open.

  5. Scott Shrubsall says:

    My assessment of DRS is that it readdresses the loss of slipstream that has been virtually wiped out by aerodynamic efficiency. Give the teams a means to get in the “tow” and hey presto!, you have overtaking again. Far from being artificial the overtakes evidently still require skill from both drivers (attacking and defending). DRS also seems to have the effect of creating overtaking opportunities further on in the lap as the chasing driver gets closer than they would have been before in key areas, although this may be more down to the tyres. Either way, three intriguing and entertaining races out of three this season… three weeks until Turkey will seem like an age.

    1. Sebee says:

      Well put. If I can design a fast car or a fast car that also leaves filthy air behind it so no one can approach – which one would I design? DRS just takes that disadvantage out of the mix.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      I noticed during the race that some drivers closed on the chased car thanks to RDS but when they get out of the toe they can’t gain more speed due to the gear ratios and need to brake later to overtake.

      Is it possible for F1 to go 4 8 speed gearboxes as the rev-limited engines don’t help overtaking

      1. markdartj says:

        What I like about Hamilton’s win, and the pass he made to get the lead was that it was a good old fashioned pass. He did it around the bends, not in the “DRS” zone.

      2. devilsadvocate says:

        I’m not sure what is so old fashioned about passing a car with nine laps more wear on it’s tires, he didnt have to make a move, Vettel didn’t even try to defend, he just drove around, pretty anticlimactic really, did you not see the Force India (or someone else, cable was bad and color was out) make almost the same exact move? Don’t get me wrong Hamilton had some decent passes earlier when he was reeling Vettel in, but his actual pass for the lead wasnt exciting nor demanding

      3. Fnordsrus says:

        I seem to remember that the ‘rools’ say 7 speed plus mandatory reverse maximum.

      4. Darren says:

        Well thats a case of compromise. The max speed as you say is limited by the engine RPM, but the teams can set their gear ratios to be either bouncing on the limiter with the flap or with the flap closed. They cant have both, they have to find the middle ground thats best

        If they set the ratios so that it only hits the limiter with the flap open then the car would suffer badly when the flap was closed (longer gear = higher top speed = slower acceleration).

        In summary it wouldnt matter how many gears the cars have, it will always be a case of compromise in picking the ratio of the top gear.

      5. Alex W says:

        They don’t need 8 speeds, they just need to pick a higher gear if they think they will be using DRS. this will also give them a much better Qualy time ofcourse, but would be terrible if they were in the lead. i am surprised Red bull did not change Webbers Gearbox to go faster,, knowing that in his position he would be using alot of DRS.

        Or the FIA could just change the DRS area to a slower speed straight, that would allow them to top out.

      6. Elliot R says:

        Re setting Webber’s gear ratio for the race, I believe once quali has finished (and Webber’s quali finished once he was knocked out) they can’t make adjustments to the car’s setup so Webber would be stuck with what he qualified with.

  6. Sergio says:

    Well, F1 is like any other sport. Everything depends on how affect your team or your preffered driver. In Malasya, the more the negative feedback about Pirelli’s behaviour. Hamilton’s position? 8th.
    Now, F1 is great. Great spectacle and lots of overtakes.(same as Malasya).
    For me, I preffered a F1 equal that it takes for granted same cirmcumstances for all drivers. That’s not the case with DRS.
    We have seen races with DRS relevant issues. Issues enough important to affect results.
    Maybe if you are not afffected by them you will defend new “improvements” as great for spectacle, but for sure are not for the sport. I repeat: the sport, not the F1 business.

    1. James Draper says:

      I thought the comments about Hamilton were how he ruined a set of hards in qualifying by flat spotting them and it cost him in the race. Not that the tyres themselves were bad.

  7. Michael Roberts says:

    I’m starting to think even the Spanish and Hungarian GPs could be worth watching this year!!”

    That’s what I’m hoping for. Circuit de Cataluyna is the dullest circuit on the calendar by far. Haven’t seen a good race there in any formula.

    1. Sebee says:

      Do you think we would have been able to make sense of this race at the track?

      I think there maybe less value to going to events now.

      And for the record, there have been good races at Hungaroring recently – so let Spain stand on it’s own! :-)

      1. ben says:

        I was fortunate enough to be at turn 1 in Malaysia a couple of weeks ago, and I was wondering before the race weekend exactly that – would we be able to keep up with what was happening without the additional info that television viewers have? It was actually ok and I was able to keep up with what was happening, who was on what tyres, strategies etc. I counted that I was able to see the cars for somewhere in the region of 20 seconds of the total lap, a fair percentage in terms of lap times and being able to see the pit exit also helped. China was in some ways more frenetic than Malaysia so I cannot vouch for how the crowd were interpreting the race there but if it was anything like Malaysia then I would think that the crowd were ok.

        A post below mentions about Singapore – I was also there for the inaugural race in 08, right in front of ‘crashgate’ and found that although the race is quite a spectacle, it was far harder to keep up with the comings and goings perhaps due to the limited visibility of a street track – and this was pre-Pirelli/DRS/KERS. I remember Massa being at the front and then after the fuel-hose incident he was at the back and we had no idea why until watching the re-run later that same night.

        So, in answer to your initial question, there will always be a compromise being at a track but keeping up with events is going to be dependent on the view that a track offers and the quality of the stand the individual is able to provide themselves with. Like any live event, there will be things that you will not be aware of immediately but that sacrifice is balanced by the atmosphere and spectacle of live sport against the comfort of your own living room and not fully hearing the roar of those wonderful engines, or just how steep the drop off is as turn 1 goes from a right hand to left hand bend(in Malaysia – it’s not as obvious on tv).

        Personally, give me a ticket to the event any day. If there’s anything that I missed, I’ll catch up when I watch the re-run as soon as I get home!!

    2. Anil says:

      I hear you there.

      Funnily enough though it’s definitely one of the best race tracks in the world, it just doesn’t create a good overtaking opportunity, much like old silverstone.

      It’s a joy to drive round though, one of my fav tracks in games like Forza and F1 2010.

    3. Paul D says:

      Agree. Cataluyna is always an awful race. Only two decent races there were 1991 and 1996. Both of which were wet.

    4. Darren says:

      Oh come on lets not be harsh, at least its a decent track (if not for action) Its Spanish neighbour Valencia is boring in every concievable way! The only bit of a race ever at Valencia I can recall was Webbers crash. If it werent for the lights then Singapore would be just as bad (although im told it is a great event when your actually there). Like Valencia the only interesting thing I remember about an Abu Dhabi race is Button and Webber fighting for about 2 laps in 2009. And to finish it off I think if it hadnt been for the rain then Korea would have been Bahrain the 2nd last year, what a throughly uninspiring track.

      Hopefully these tracks will all benefit from the changes this year, I was never a massive fan of the Shanghai track (it is better than the aforementioned ones though) but as most folk agree the race there was great.

      ;)

      1. Mark V says:

        I wonder how the massive amount of rubber marbles that have been collecting on permanent tracks will affect street circuits as it builds up against the walls? More passing? Less? Crashes galore?

    5. Trent says:

      What’s interesting is that the whole debate about circuits has been turned on it’s head in one fell swoop. Hermann Tilke for one will be very pleased –

    6. terryshep says:

      Michael, I can see you’ve never watched a MotoGP at Barca!

  8. Aaron Devaney says:

    Nobody can deny we had a good race in china. It was thrilling and in a large part that was due to the tires, but also due to the split in strategies, as teams get used to the tires that will happen less.
    I’m all for tires that don’t last as long as the bridgestones. My worry is that they limit people driving the car on the limit. I’ve followed f1 for 25years to see man pushing his machine to the limit, and there’s much less of that this season.

    As for DRS, they just don’t get it. We don’t want it to make the races better. If it makes the races more enjoyable it will stay, but at the expense of the having any relevance to the road racing it came from, and in my view it should no longer be called a sport as the result is manipulated.

    1. Warren Groenewald says:

      I disagree about your comment with man pushing his machine to the limit in the past. It may have seemed so, because as viewers we had far less information available to us, but F1 drivers have always had to preserve their cars at some point in the race, possibly even more so than now because they were only built to last a single race distance, and you don’t think Hamilton or Webber pushed their machines to the very limit on Sunday?

      Instead of seeing DRS as manipulated, why not think of it as giving the drivers back what they have been missing since the introduction of rev limits – an alternative to the over run created by a slip stream on engine and gaining a proper tow.

    2. Darren says:

      I hear what your saying but I also disagree. As Warren pointed out F1 or indeed all motorsport was about preserving your machinery to a certain extent.

      Its only in the last decade or so we got the flat out all the time racing in F1. This was in the most part due to the incredible improvements in reliability which allowed the cars to be pushed all the way to the flag. It was also due to the tyre war between Bridgestone and Michellen, that really drove on the tyre technology. In 2005 the tyres had to last the whole race, which they could do easily and not be much slower than the ones from 2004. Since then the tyres have been almost bulletproof.

      Back in the bad old days Prost was named the professor because he used to take it very easily in the race, often trundling around in 5th / 6th saving up his tyres so he could push like mad at the end. Conversley you got the Mansel types who prefered to charge all the time and if the tyres died then you came in. Thats the extreme of each stragegy but that was the general idea. Lets not forget that Mansel on Piquet at Silverstone in 87, regarded as one of the best overtakes in f1 was all down to Piquets tyres being knackered and Mansells being fresh, down to different strategy. Back then that was just what happened, but now we get so much information that we know exactly what each driver is doing every lap of the race.

      I also agree with Warren in that DRS gives you back a proper tow. As another poster stated if you could design a car or an equally fast car that also chucks out horrible turbulent air behind it then which would you choose? All the teams design their cars in this way, surely designing a car so it is as hard to overtake as possible is making the racing artificial?

      I was sceptical at first about DRS but they have deployed it in such a way where it doesnt guarentee a pass. I think in China they got it right, if they had left it in its original place then it would have been too easy. The drivers still had to work for it, clever defending (see Schumi) still keeps people behind. Also lets not forget the move for the lead of the race was not in the DRS zone.

      1. Aaron Devaney says:

        I take on-board what you and Warren say about the tires, although I think think there characteristics need improving slightly. I would like to see them wear less at higher slip angles and I would also like to see the hard tires wear better than the soft, but tires are a good way to introduce some much needed spice to the racing.

        I did consider thinking of DRS as making up for the turbulence factor, but the advantage is just made up on a judgement call and doesn’t direct negate the problems with turbulence. It also means the cars are being controlled remotely and discriminatorily which I think is against the hole ethos of F1 (I know this happened before but was banned)

        It is possible to govern the turbulence a car produces, but the costs and restrictions on design changes mean the teams just won’t do it, but in my mind is the only proper way to fix F1.

    3. TheWon4 says:

      What’s truly sad is that F1 was naturally sporting and entertaining in the past. In the modern era, they had to engineer entertainment value with DRS systems and KERS push to pass.

      Over-complicated solutions like KERS and DRS are merely a penny-dreadful attempt to “keep the sport relevant”, and their awkward implementation is enough to dull the luster of any race (even sparkling China).

      A better formula is painfully simple to imagine:

      1. Put the rear wing in it’s proper place.
      2. Reduce downforce significantly
      3. Widen the tires for more drag and grip
      4. Work with Pirelli to reduce marbles
      5. Increase KERS to 20 seconds (aim for 1 second lap improvement)
      6. Ban the dangerous, artificial, and pointless DRS systems.

      Rear wing helps aesthetics. Reducing downforce and increasing mechanical grip makes it possible to follow closely. Marble reduction is self-explanatory. Increasing KERS will increase power, and allow them to carry less fuel (more green as well……if that kind of thing floats your boat). The motivation for banning a inequitable “innovation” should also be self-explanatory.

      Is the aero-dynamic lobby within F1 really powerful enough to block vital improvements to the sport?

      1. Aaron Devaney says:

        The restrictions on car design are just in F1 are just crazy. If you look at every change compared to the previous year it seems sensible enough but if you had a time machine and gave the design regulations to a car designer in the early 70′s they they just wouldn’t believe it was anything to do with their sport.

        The ‘regulation boxes’ need to be removed and instead they need less verbose but more effective rules such as banning bodywork with and edge less than a certain circumference (wings would be very different), and having a turbulence test just like a today’s crash test. The sport would be very different than at present but I feel they have just went down one line with the design of the cars and the regulations then fix them to that design.

    4. Mark V says:

      Since the formerly terrifying Eau Rouge was tamed by modern F1 cars years ago this is not the first year that drivers rarely push the car to the limit. That said, it was pretty cool to see Webber try that outside pass on a fast corner, fully knowing he could lose it on the marbles.

  9. Jean-Christophe says:

    Hi James,

    Just a question here. What would happen if the drs fails to close in a fast corner or opens up in a reacceleration zone too early?
    Couldn’t it trigger an accident? Can’t remember who it was but I think there was a driver in Australia (force India IIRC) who nearly lost his car seemingly because he apparently used the drs too early.
    Thx.

    1. James Allen says:

      It should close when the driver hits the brakes at least.

    2. Darren says:

      For Alonsos case, do we know that he wasnt pushing the button? Yes I know it shouldnt have opened anyway but if it opened because he had his finger on the button (or however they operate it) then that is far less worrying than it opening on its own accord, which is very worrying indeed. Personally i’ll be very surprised if the year passes without a big shunt due to DRS failure.

      It was Sutil that crashed in Melbourne, he hit the button too early, im fine with that, that was his own fault trying to find the limit. But the thought of it opening itself going through Eau Rouge or something scares me.

  10. Vj says:

    Aren’t glitches that cause late activation dangerous? Won’t cars lose downforce when going through a corner? Should the system be shelved until is really reliable?

    1. markdartj says:

      A modern F-1 car is such a complex collection of systems and each one has to be reliable for maximum performance and safety. The engineering that goes into each of these systems is always going to be on the edge. While I’m no fan of the DRS, it is just another system that may go wrong. Think of the carbon fiber wishbone suspension & what happened to (I think it was Alguersuari) on the Toro Rosso last year. Should the FIA ban carbon fiber suspension and go back to tubular aluminum? Things are going to go wrong on a car from time to time.

  11. Sergio says:

    Just before started the race, one Spanish journalist asked Fernando Alonso if Hamilton’s problem at pits would be a good advantage for him. The Spanish driver answered he didn’t want any problem for anybody and he would prefered defeat him in track. This is Sport. When people avoid that issue, then are fans, when media avoid that, they are defending his part of business, when FIA avoid that… Think whatever you want.

  12. Si Mason says:

    Hi James,
    I saw Alonso’s DRS open when it shouldn’t have in the slow mo replay and tweeted you at the time as no one mentioned it.

    Enjoyed the race, more please!

    1. Gold Leaf says:

      Not sure how BBC editors are trying to horn in and claim credit for spotting this one.
      It was an FOM slow-mo replay that was originally played in on the world feed, no comment from either TV or radio commentary, only later being figured-out (I suspect by 5Live producer) and the clip then re-replayed by BBC TV.

      Credit should therefore clearly go to whoever it was in the FOM truck that spotted it and spun out the original replay.

      As for Alonso, I’d like to better understand the Ferrari DRS mechanism and software. He activates DRS on the straight, and releases it before the braking zone, he exits the corner … the DRS will not re-activate itself, it must have been in response to Alonso seeing the dashboard DRS light still illuminated.

      If so, irrespective of the initial FIA delayed activation signal for that lap, and the “therefore the driver didn’t gain”, we are unavoidably still left with a driver deliberately deciding to initiate an action on-track that he knew to be in clear contravention of the rules. Alonso knew he wasn’t allowed to have DRS there, and still chose to press the lever, that’s dubious behavior whatever way you slice it.

      1. James Allen says:

        Not sure you are right there. Did the rest of the world see it?

      2. Tim B says:

        We didn’t see it in Australia. The local anchor guys mentioned it coming back from an ad break, and claimed they had spotted it, but no footage.

      3. Ben says:

        Yes. (from U.S.)

      4. Gold Leaf says:

        Well the replay first came in on lap25 (of I presume Alonso finishing lap24), and was bumpered front and back with the FOM transition graphics, and an FOM replay banner flashing.

        The incident wasn’t shown live in the world feed, so not sure where BBC would have access to the truck footage. As it played-out, seeing nothing of note, Martin described it as just a moody slo-mo, so if it was a BBC producer’s spot, he didn’t pass the info along to (the superb) Mr Brundle.

        On lap27 Crofty on 5Live, having also seen nothing out of place on the original replay, apropos of nothing suddenly refers back and floats the suggestion that perhaps the DRS was open.

        So depending on who spotted it might not even have been a BBC employee, could have been USP that spotted what FOM were originally trying to get at.

        Not until lap 39 does the BBC TV re-replay arrive, sans FOM transition at the front and with a BBC text caption added.

      5. Mattoz says:

        Yes Darryl Beattie spotted it here in Australia prior to the BBC mentioning it.

      6. Robert says:

        Yes, Gold Leaf is correct. It was on the FOM feed considerably earlier in the race.

      7. Simple says:

        Yep. Saw it on one hd in aus, at the time BBC commentary didn’t pick up on it

      8. Adam says:

        Yes, I saw the slo-mo here in Australia (we get the Brundle/DC commentary.

        I remember DC or Brundle commenting at the time that they weren’t sure exactly why the slo-mo was being shown.

        It was only later in the race that it was replayed and one of them pointed out that the DRS was still activated.

      9. Buck61 says:

        Yes from Canada

      10. Alex W says:

        Yes James I saw it in Australia, Brundle and DC said – what are we looking at??? A nice little replay??? (or something to that effect) I saw what the slow mo replay was on about, and was surprised they didn’t notice it.

        Alonso’s DRS is likely automated at full throttle, and only operated because the FIA system allowed it to.

      11. Phil says:

        Yes, from Australia using BBC feed.

        In the initial replay, Martin Brundle said something like ‘And a replay of the Ferrari, anything there? or just a beautiful slow-mo reply. Seems to be the latter’

        I couldn’t believe he missed it, I saw it. Was shouting at the TV to tell him what it was!

      12. Robert N says:

        Yes, it was on FOM feed. Martin Brundle did not spot it first time round, and wondered why they had shown it. Only later the BBC showed it again with the correct explanation.

      13. Owen says:

        Yes. The replay was when Brundle said “Is this just one of those moody, lovely slo-mo’s, or are we actually … No, we’re not, we’re just meant to enjoy that bit. Back to the racing!” and totally missed the point of the replay. :-P

      14. hutch says:

        Yes. In Australia we get the BBC commentary but the world feed. Saw the slow-mo clip as it was first played. Brundle commented that it was just a “beauty shot”. Later we heard them talk about it as they re-watched it be we could only see the live feed.

      15. Austin K says:

        Yeah, that’s what happened. FOM showed the replay on the world feed (Brundle made some comment about it being fancy-but-pointless slowmo footage) and then about 5 or 10mins later the BBC cut in with that same footage replayed again!

      16. James Draper says:

        FIA 3.18.2 “The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control
        electronics (see Article 8.2) that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second
        behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit.”

        My interpretation of the incident is that Alonso had notification he could use it and did, it is arguable that it is FIA’s fault or he had a malfunctioning ECU. I now agree though Alonso shouldn’t have pushed the button on that straight and he should have been penalized if in fact he did.

        Planet F1 are reporting FIA are investigating

        http://www.planetf1.com/driver/3213/6882549/FIA-investigating-Alonso-s-DRS

      17. TM says:

        On the who spotted it first question, who gives a monkeys really?! Lol!

        On the Alonso pushing button question – i agree if he did push the button but since it was a malfunction how do we know whether it activated itself? They should look into it but it’s a bit harsh to automatically brand it dubious behavior isn’t it?

    2. Nj says:

      Well done

  13. Tom in adelaide says:

    I have to say, the Brundle / DC combination is working for me so far. DC’s “in the dark” comment had me laughing.

    Wish we could get some picture in picture action going. I didn’t enjoy being dragged away from the action to watch Perez cruise through the pits.

    Oh and one more thing – as a staunch anti-schuey guy – how good is it to see him a bit closer to the front! F1 needs villains, but I’m finding it harder to dislike the old German. Lucky we still have Teflonso ;)

    Great weekend for F1!

    1. EM says:

      That sums it up. An F1 fan asking for split pictures cos there’s so much action going on.

      Three years ago only a split picture of a classic 80s race would have provided some action!

    2. Declan says:

      Same here – I think the rapport between Brundle/DC is fantastic. That comment was a real gem (who knew DC had non-smutty lines?)

      You are 100% right. The coverage should look at picture in picture to cover more storylines. There should be a second Ted as well! Logically, he covers the front teams but it’d be also nice to occasionally hear how the second half are faring.

      These aren’t complaints. Merely suggestions. Coverage from BBC really is top notch.

    3. Darren says:

      Haha totally agree, from someone who used to hate him with a passion I would now like nothing more than for him to win that 92nd race. I loved Brundles “treat that Mercedes like that back end of a Donkey, get to close and it will kick” Yes luckily Alonso seems to have picked up Schumis “Red Baron” title. Sport does need bad guys, just like it needs supremos, wise guys and the plucky loosers that nothing ever goes right for. I think we have a good mix at the moment.

      As a mass pidgeon holing
      Dick Dastardly’s – Alonso, Schumacher
      Supremeos – Vettel, Hamilton
      Loosers – Webber, Massa, Barrichello
      Wise guys – Button, Heidfeld

      Sorry I’ll stop commenting on everything now. I’m trying to finish writing a report….

  14. Craig Perkel says:

    Hi James,

    I have been watching F1 for around 20 years and have found the racing this year to be brilliant. I started watching when I was around 8 years old and what kept me glued to the screen was the huge risk factor involved and the potential of an accident around every corner. I didn’t like see the accidents knowing how much risk the drivers took lap after lap, corner after corner.

    Over the last 10 or so years F1 became boring, safe and the racing was taken completely out of the drivers hands. If you were in the best car and could beat your team mate you would win the championship.

    This year has definitely livened the sport up again, it is no longer guided parade around tracks all over the world. Nobody knows who will win the race even with 5 laps to go and drivers are more involved than ever, DRS, Kers, how to best use the tyres are all in the drivers hands. F1 is exciting again and will attract bigger and bigger audiences because of this.

    To all those who don’t like the racing stop watching, build a scale-electrics track and place 24 cars one behind the other and watch them going around the track for an hour.

    Kind Regards,
    CGP

  15. PaulL says:

    Well, thanks to Simon for putting across a considered point of view.

    I have to wonder though if we are equivocating on the word “manufactured” here.

    Clearly, the teams manufacture components on the car for maximum performance within the confines of technical regulations, which have been for the most part aimed at either (or both) safety and cost effectiveness.

    Now, this is not the same sense we mean “manufactured” when we talk about rules and regulations aimed at inducing change and variability – which lead to greater scope for unpredictability in races.

    Furthermore, I’d argue it’s a mistake in reasoning to say that because everything bears a degree of being “manufactured”, then we’re not justified in recognizing one particular area as being unjustifiably “manufactured”.
    This is like saying, we aren’t justified in recognizing bodily defects like a cleft pallet or being tone deaf, because well everything about the body is not optimally functional and/or designed. My eyes don’t have 20:20 vision for example.

    I still think it’s a dreadful shame F1 has given up on purity in search of quick and easy action multiplying solutions.

    1. Alex W says:

      F1 has not been pure for a long time!

      1. DaveP says:

        Seems to me rose tinted specs play the biggest role in deciding how “pure” F1 is/was, when Fangio got handed a car and a WDC by Collins was that pure? To even call F1 a sport is odd, it’s a game, a fantastic game but a game none the less. You have to win sponsorship, get the best engineers, mechanics and drivers, play the politics AND be lucky.

        DRS is a strange solution to a problem but it is better than watching cars unable to lap within a second of one another. It’s something I disliked the idea of intensely before it’s introduction but am now happy to see working reasonably well, cars race in proximity more than at any time since the 80′s, the stretching out of the pack is reduced and people can strategise on the hoof. China was fantastic, from the first corner to the final lap there was so much action and I was absolutely CERTAIN of a victory for 3 different drivers at various points. Like many of us I’d love to see reductions in aero, but nobody wants to see the best drivers in the world being forced to scrap it out in formula fords ten seconds a lap slower than lesser formulas. The current aero puts each car literally in a bubble, DRS allows a following car to get into this bubble so it “artificially” creates the conditions for a car to make a move that has been rendered impossible for so long by aerodynamic wake.

        Whilst you might THINK you want to see pure racing, you’re wrong, or you should watch one of the single car series, the tech, the drama and the enormous human factor OUTSIDE the driver’s control is as much the spectacle as the racers

    2. Mark V says:

      How can you debate what the word “manufactured” means in regards to F1 when you use the word “purity” as if the definition of it cannot similarly be debated?

      Anyways, this whole argument is “unpure” haha.
      You want “pure” racing with nothing manufactured to alter the racing? The only way to have truly pure racing would be to throw away all the rules. Let the teams spend whatever they want on the cars and let them build unlimited monsters that James Bond would be envious of. Then for a “circuit” merely designate a starting point and a finish line and then let the drivers loose to go all Mad Max on each other. Sounds not too bad actually.

      1. PaulL says:

        Well we can all of course debate what purity entails. However I do not therefore think there is no objectivity in the word.

        In a previous post I laid out two criteria for “purity”:
        1. Every racing driver has equal opportunity within the natural cause and effect structure of the event.

        2. Every aspect of the top class of motorsport is optimalised to the highest reasonable standard.

        And now to where F1 2011 manifestly fails:
        - DRS rules obviously violates #1 because only the driver behind can use it. The aero turbulence effects that aid the car in front fall under the category of the natural cause and effect structure of the sport. Sure, itd be better if they did not exist to begin with, but two wrongs don’t make a right, they abnegate  authenticity.

        2. The Pirelli tyres violate the standard of highest reasonable optimality in design and performance. They are decades behind in durability compared to what is presently possible. I argue they thus degrade the overall technical standard.

      2. Mark V says:

        I see your point about #1 but I wouldn’t be surprised if DRS is not the first example of unequal opportunities for drivers that were created due to rules. I am too lazy right now to come up with examples.

        But #2 is where I object to most recent complaints which is why I suggested with tongue in cheek no rules whatsoever for “pure” racing. The current tyres are no less “optimal” than the shrinking engines, the switch to regular fuel, the shrinking size of the rear wing, the grooved tyres of a couple seasons back or all the other restrictions placed on the cars in the past which I think most will agree makes the cars perform nothing close to “optimally” given current technology.

        The days of F1 being a straight arms race likely ended with the ban on turbo engines and ground effects. It has been in conservation mode ever since. You may argue that this has been for the sake of safety, but the counter to that argument would be Senna’s complaint shortly before his (and Ratzenberger’s) death that the recent ban on active suspension made the cars too difficult and hence dangerous to drive, even though some of the reasoning behind the ban was to purposely put more of a premium on driving skill.

        Sure the new tyres degrade rapidly. But they also work very well before they do, so in that respect it’s not like the put rollerskates on the cars, and when they do go off it’s not to act as a simple roll of the dice to shake up the grid because every driver has to deal with it equally when it happens and that puts a premium on skill.

      3. Thebe says:

        The problem with this is that the so called “BIG BUDGET TEAMS” will be miles ahead of the pack, regulations are there to keep things level in some way.By allowing TEAMS to spent massive amounts on car developement the result of this will be more critisism of the sport, some people might say a Driver is faster because he is in a much faster car than the rest , evidence of this; You already have people who believe Sebastian is ahead of everyone points wise because he drives for RED BULL which has proved to be a very Superior car over the rest and this is already happening in an era where TEAMS are not going wild on Budget . I can understand most people’s argument about the sport being artificial and all of that, but I think in the end if one were to answer the question of whether it is entertaining or not, then I would have to say yes , in some ways its also not predictable and again one has to consider the idea that it is not completely artificial and manufactured, a driver with worn out tyres still has to skillfully defend his position when attacked by another driver.(Schumacher/Alonso) I dont know about you but I thought the battle between these two entertained a lot of viewers. I think the new regulations have ignited passion for the sport in some people , while others are still to warm up to the new F1 style of racing, but my suspision is that if the upcoming races are going to be anything like this weekend grandprix there will be more people tuning in to watch F1 compared to last year.

    3. Benson Jutton says:

      I am a fan of pure racing, and I loved this weekends grand prix

  16. Paul H says:

    I think that we need to differentiate between the KERS and DRS effects and the tyres degradation. The KERS and DRS impact teams differently, with some having much better KERS than others and some not having any at all. The DRS will obviously work better for some cars than others as it ties in so much with the overall car aero package.

    On the other hand, the tyres are a control item, all teams receiving the same from a sole provider. The way the teams use and manage them is down to individual choice and ability. The tyres have added an unpredictable joker in the strategy planning forcing drivers and teams to work on their feet during the race and even return to using instincts. It is the one feature of the cars the engineers have no control over and therefore is the same for all teams regardless of resources.

    I see the tyres being a good solution to remove some of the predictability that has been in formula one for the last few years and improving the show. KERS on the other hand does add an artificial advantage to some teams over others. The DRS is something that I have yet to make my mind up over. In theory it too offers an artificial advantage to some teams more than others but so far it has a offered fun racing between cars fairly evenly matched throughout the field so I reserve judgement for now and see how it goes. As always the first flyaway races are generally surprising, it’s the next few races that will be the better indicator for the season.

  17. Wake says:

    The race should be about the cars and the drivers. Not tyres.

    This isn’t Formula 1 anymore, it is Tyres 1.

    Of course tyres are important, always has been, but now tyres DOMINATE, it has become the focus, the core of the sport.

    Webber proved you don’t need to qualify as long as you save your soft tyres for the race. In fact if you are not a top 3 car, only qualify with the hard tyres, see how far you go. Then start the race on hard, and use your fresh spanking new 3 sets of options to be 2 seconds a lap faster than anyone in those stints.

    hamilton also got past Button that way with his 1 fresh set.

    It is a joke and I can’t understand how so little people see through this and concentrate on the ‘overtaking’ as proof it is good.

    In American wrestling there are a lot of knock outs too and it has millions of followers. F1 went that way this year, took only 3 races to fool everyone. to accept it.

    1. Anil says:

      You realise that the great action we saw on the weekend was due to people being on DIFFERENT strategies, with Renault, RB and Ferrari going after the wrong strategy?

      F1 now rewards strategy AND driving skill, what more do you want? It was like that for 30-40 years until the early 90′s and then the last decade.

    2. Sebee says:

      Interesting. And absolutely not wrong, just a point of view. I think a judge would have to hear your case, but I don’t think majority would care about his ruling. Looks like the masses have activated their DRS and KERS and have made the pass on one stop races for victory of years gone by. In the end only the TV ratings matter.

    3. Markin Brundell says:

      I dont think it is that big problem. Actually, I cant see a problem at all with the Pirellis, except loads of marbles they make. Even before 2011, tyres was the only element really giving you the traction. This is how car racing works.
      It has always been vastly important to build your car(or drive it) considering the characteristics of tyres.

      Some 5 years ago we had mighty tyre wars going on. I would call that era(2001-2007)”Tyres 1″ if you like. Current situation is much better in my opinion. Same tyres for everybody, be a man and pick the best strategy only. No way of politicking with tyre supplier contracts or sth.

      Im not a big fan of lifting the show above everything. Sport should be what it is, best races are not written, they happen. I also didnt expect that so many people seem to be like “Kids, would you like to…” -”Yes!”, eating everthing you throw on their plate. Im quite sure, the popularity of DRS leads to more “innovations” soon, sprinklers, explosives and stuff like that…
      But I see some good effects with single tyre supplier/Pirelli and if they help overtaking as a by-product, I give it a green light.

      Only other negative about Pirellis is more pitstops. More stops means higher importance of pitcrew, giving more excuses for the drivers.

    4. markdartj says:

      The best pass of the race was Lewis overtaking Vettel for the lead; and it was done without the DRS. In my opinion, the DRS is just a “circus side-show”, added to pander to casual viewers in hopes of gaining TV viewing shares and selling more tickets. F-1 ceased to be pure when they took away innovation (Brabham BT46B), unlimited horsepower, and unlimited spending (I admit this was necessary; otherwise F1 would have gone the way of Group C/IMSA GTP prototypes). The holy trinity of F-1 is Best Driver+Cleverest Engineering+Biggest Budget, stir together and see what you get.

  18. jmv says:

    Perhaps it is good to add a note in your article about the composition of the respondents.

    Since the majority of the respondents might come from the UK, or Anglosaxic countries.. people might be more inclined to like a British driver.

    I wonder what the German audiences thought of the race. Sure many were dissapointed.

    1. Buck61 says:

      Good point
      I live in Canada and the poll is just being posted as I go to bed and the results are posted as I wake. Maybe the poll should be posted for 24 hours so we can all have our say.

      1. James Allen says:

        It was posted middle of the day Canada time!

    2. TJS says:

      Not to mention the Spanish audience! I agree, James, how do you separate positive responses to the racing from positive responses to the result?

      Personally, this reminds me of the first time I saw 20/20 cricket, my response went from “what a blinder!” to “when’s the next test match…” very very quickly.

    3. Chapor says:

      I am a German and I loved the race! And on the driver of the day poll I voted for Webber… Simply because he deserved it. And this race deserved the title of “Exciting Race”. That’s all there is to it really. :-)

  19. Well I for one LOVE this new Formula, I don’t think I’ve missed watching a race since the late 1980′s and I can’t remember the last time I thought half way through that anyone could win this….

    So here we are, 3 races in, DRS and KERS and Tyres making a difference, so we can’t go back now can we? We’ve had a taste of what everyone has wanted F1 to be like for years.

    We can’t now go and take it all off and go back to the majority of races being processional, with excitement added only due to safety cars and rain…. after yesterdays race can we, I reckon we would see MORE THAN 10% being up in arms!

    CHRIS

  20. RS says:

    I hate the argument that the current formula 1 rules create artificial racing.

    I hated the situation in years gone by where faster cars were unable to pass slower cars due to instability caused by aerdynamic turbulence. That for me was artificial racing.

    We finally have rules that overcome this hurdle of turbulence, allowing the faster cars & drivers to win. It’s been a brilliant few races, with hopefully more to cone.

  21. Jo Torrent says:

    On the 10% unhappy
    ****************

    how can someone be unhappy with this situation. Everything is great about this season, the result is not decided till the last pit stop and after the last pit stop.

    Yesterday, I thought that Vettel and Massa will fight for victory because I thought teams had a good estimation of tyre wear. It proved wrong so not only spectators and commentators are struggling to understand what’s going on but teams too are finding it hard to understand how the tyres will behave after a couple of days of testing because yesterday had Vettel chosen the 3 stop strategy he would have won easily but his team didn’t and paid the price.

    If some are unhappy with KERS and DRS you can ditch both and have great racing too because once the tyres give up there’s nothing you can do to defend as Hamilton proved against Vettel.
    To convince you, I’ll take an example of the year where Alonso won his 1st world championship. Back then overtaking was hard and almost impossible at Monaco. Both Renault at that event destroyed their tyres and got overtaken on the track because their pace dropped significantly.

    So the main element of this year show is the tires with their short life, “off the cliff” behavior and unpredictability so far.

    Given that these tires are the same for every team I don’t understand why some are unhappy.

    1. TM says:

      For once(!) I agree with you!

      It is turning out a great year, but they could and in my opinion should do away with DRS. Whether people agree with it in a purity way or not is almost meaningless because as you say, it’s the tyres that are really mixing it up big time.

      Whenever a DRS move is successful I wince and hate it, but the tyres are a different story as it’s the same for everyone, and it’s right that the drivers should be challenged to manage a race. Afterall, ultimate speed is only one aspect of motor racing, and it’s called qualifying.

  22. Michael Grievson says:

    What I don’t understand about Alonso’s rear wing opening is whether or not it activated late he still had to press the button to activate it after coming out of turn 14

    1. Neil says:

      My thoughts exactly. The wing closes when he hits the brakes going into turn 14, so how does it re-open coming out of 14? Either he didn’t brake, or he hits the open button every lap “just in case”?

      Neil.

      1. FSWong says:

        BBC’s site mentioned that Alonse’s DRS is “offset”, it means Alonse use it within the DRS zone, but his DRS system is delayed, so it is enabled 300m before the hairpin AND the short straight before the final corner (I didn’t measure it but I guess it might add up to 750m – the length on DRS zone), and the closing of the flap is cause by braking – braking is probably a kind of system override.

      2. Neil says:

        Sure, but you miss my point. The DRS doesn’t open automatically, the driver opens it. So how did Alonso know to press the button on the short straight?

        Neil.

    2. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

      I thought the same thing – to have the presence of mind to notice the DRS indicator and press the button between those turns when it shouldn’t even have been in his head to do so was amazing …

      … and then someone mentioned that the Ferrari DRS “button” could actually be at the end of the accelerator pedal – which would be a very clever idea (but with the side effect that he couldn’t choose _not_ to use it for whatever reason, and of course, an error in race control could open it unexpectedly …).

  23. Garry T says:

    The racing is the same for everyone opportunity and risk go hand in hand, Reading many negative comments seems to be the norm for a lot of forum users.

    One thing a lot of people are bagging Webber for the first 3 races this year. The thing you might be missing he is in a better points position this year after 3 races than he was last year

    1. Richard D says:

      But the problem for him is so is Vettel!

  24. MiG2009 says:

    Thats a good point in racing everything is artificial anyway its not like McLaren have a barn where they breed and raise MP4′s. As long its exhilarating. If people want ‘Natural’ they should watch the Discovery channel. This an awesome F1 blog/site, its good to know that the Author is reading & responding to posts it gives us a greater insight into this phenomenon we call F1.

  25. Jo Torrent says:

    Off topic : Webber
    **************

    I really like Webber an outspoken geniune guy who’s never afraid to say it as it is but yesterday he said “Shame McLaren won in a way but also we can’t let Seb get too far away, so it was good day for the racing and good day for us in terms of points for the team.”

    I wished before the race that anyone wins but Vettel. Hamilton wasn’t my ideal choice to say the least but still better than Vettel to keep the championship alive. Most people think the same I guess.

    But when you’re working for RBR the last thing you expect from your driver is to publicly say that he rather see someone else win that your own team at the hands of the other driver.

    To be fair to Webber, most drivers think the same but stop short of saying it. Hamilton was more angry last week that he was beaten by Button than that he was beaten by the others… Webber lost track though that Vettel mechanics helped repair his car before qualies and that there are hundreds of employees happy for an RBR victory with whoever driver.

    By behaving this way, Webber makes me like him even more but is not helping his situation within his team.

    He shows if needed to be reminded how selfish and ruthless F1 drivers are. If you ever go to war fight alone rather than with a F1 driver next to you.

    1. Neil says:

      If you listen to Webber, I think he realised his “mistake” as it left his mouth. He sounded like he was re-thinking the end of the sentance on the fly.

      That’s why it’s great to interview tired, drained, adreneline-high, drivers – you get so much more out of them!

      Neil.

      1. Mattoz says:

        Wonder if he got a slap on the wrists by Red Bull management…

      2. Nando says:

        Seb’s expression was a picture. It sounded like Webber was starting to back-track then thought what the hell I’ve said it now. Wouldn’t rule out deliberate mind-games though.

    2. Doug says:

      Webber – I suspect he realised he’d put his foot in it, and stumbled through the rest of the answer. Just didn’t quite come out right!

      I think he was still pretty pumped up, judging from the way he leapt out of his car and went to his crew.

    3. 69bhp says:

      it just shows that despite Webber’s denials, he is most definitely rattled by Vettel beating him flat in the last 7 or 8 races. All his claims that he’s been around the block and isn’t panicking now sound very hollow when he blurts out that he’s happy that his teammate got beaten by a McLaren driver. That is a shocking attitude.

      And it’s not as if Webber has even closed the gap to Vettel – Vettel has in fact stretched his championship lead to Webber even further.

      and all this after Vettel’s own mechanics helped prepare Webber’s car for the race. How must they feel now?

      and has he forgotten that in Abu Dhabi last year Vettel was prepared to let Webber by to win the championship if he himself was not in a position to do it? (he didnt say so in so many words, but he did say something along the lines that he would do what was “correct”). That’s gratitude from Webber for you.

      Webber drove very well in China but he has shown that he is not a team player at all. Vettel may be a decade younger, but it’s Webber who really has to do some growing up.

    4. Mr Squiggle says:

      Its worth remembering two things about Mark Webber’s media management

      1)he isn’t just Australian, he is Regional Australian. His upbringing was more country than city and they tend to have less room for political correctness and very strong BS detectors.

      2)Success has come late in his career. Much of his development years were spent doing a great job in piece-of-junk cars, going un-noticed by the media with fewer opportunities to understand the media beast. By comparison, Seb and Lewis have both been groomed and supported from very young ages, and are simply better at managing the media side of their careers.

      Overall, MWs getting better at it, but he’s really only had that intense focus that a real contender gets during the last two years, and to my mind, still sometimes says some unguarded things.

      1. BMG says:

        I don’t think Webber gives a s–t. Let’s face it, they will not give him another contract; “So let it rip”

  26. Mad Marz says:

    The Chinese GP has to be the best so far this season and 1 of the best races I’ve ever watched.

    The DRS zone was a much better balance as it didn’t make it too easy for drivers to overtake, Hamilton for example was overtaking elsewhere because he couldn’t get it done on the back straight.

    The tyres are really what makes the racing so far this season and it will be good to see how things play out on a track where overtaking is not what we normally see (Spain).

    I know not everyone is a fan of the new rules but from my point of view this is real racing and I think F1 is all the better for it.

  27. B Martin says:

    DRS + this years tires = too much. I suspect only one of these two solutions is needed. This makes qualifying a little less important since if your car is fast, you will likely move to the front faster than in previous years as evidenced by Webber’s race. There is no way he could have achieved that result last year starting where he did this year.

  28. Mario says:

    The best driver of the Chinese race commented just after that he is not totally happy with the new style of racing. He said it was more strategy and less racing. Also before that Lewis Hamilton sort of complained saying this year is more about driving around looking for tyres than actual racing.

    I thing they are likely to change their minds, because in China we have seen plenty of evidence that real racing is still very much possible. Yes, you do need to be on the right strategy, on the right tyres at the right time, but when you meet those requirements you can very much give it all.

  29. Harvey Yates says:

    Trent’s comment got to the crux of the matter. We all like to see overtakes. Whilst I, and everyone I’ve spoken with about the matter come to that, do not want to make overtaking too easy, the balance in Malaysia was an excellent compromise. Hamilton chose to overtake in a part of the circuit which did not allow him to use DRS or KERS.

    I was standing up for the final few laps of the race, and a die-hard Hamilton fan was so enthralled that she had to turn around when he passed Vettel. That is what makes a good race.

    We can argue that it wasn’t a classic and that it lacked purity (whatever that is) but as a way of making the racing exciting KERS, DRS and quick rates of tyre wear did the business. As the teams manage the conflicting demands and a common strategy evolves perhaps things might be different but we can worry about that when it arrives.

    Whether, as Trent suggests, the Spanish and Hungarian GPs will be worth watching is still open to some doubt but we can hope, and with more expectation that it might be fulfilled than ever before.

    One note of caution: KERS and DRS would appear to have had little to do with the excitement of the race. It seemed all down to the tyres. Further, I’m not sure I would want to be racing at the speeds common in F1 and having my rear wing opening when it feels like it. Variable rear downforce strikes me as an accident waiting to happen. Let’s not take stupid risks for the sake of spectacle.

    1. Carlos says:

      I don’t know what effect KERS had, but it’s probably here to stay just so F1 can claim relevance to something (particularly something “green”).

      This race would’ve been good without DRS, but I think there will be races where DRS will provide the only overtaking.

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        KERS is greenwashing of the crudest kind. It’s an insult to one’s intelligence to suggest that it in any way limits the sport’s carbon footprint.

        I agree that DRS will have a greater effect at aother circuits. Spa looks good up the hill. I’m not sure I would enjoy going through Eau Rouge and then have my rear wind going for a walk.

  30. Rich says:

    I agree with Simons post. The only thing i wasnt sure about or that didnt sit well with me was the DRS activation zone – that there is only 1 area where it is possible to overtake. But this hasnt happened as we have seen overtaking all over the place! So all is good i think. Amazing race in China :) Roll on Turkey!

  31. Jo Torrent says:

    Qualies strategies
    *******************

    Will Chinese grandprix be the last time we see 2 outings in Q3 ?

    All the elements show this to be the way forward mainly Webber and Hamilton charges. The problem comes from the harder Pirelli compound being up to 1s slower than the softs while offering barely more durability which makes it a useless tire in the race, a burden enforced by the rules. The exception being Button pace on the prime in Malaysia.

    On Saturday the teams have 4 sets of new option compounds : 1 set must be returned before qualies which leaves them with 3 sets for qualies and race. The 2 fast teams can use one set in Q2 and another in Q3 while qualifying on the prime during Q1 which gives them a set of new options during the race.

    For struggling teams like Ferrari the need to use a set of option during Q1 makes their life even harder in the race as they loose a new set of option for the race which makes one of their stints being made on a tire who has already suffered during 2,5 laps. That extra-wear will accumulate all the way through that stint summing into a consequent gap.

    Another situation might arise for teams such as Sauber & ToroRosso when they make it into Q3. These teams qualify generally P8 to P10 in Q3 so they might as well stay in the pits and save a set of options for the race.

    To sum it up 2 or 3 positions up in the grid are not worth damaging a set of options. Only race pace and consistency matters.

    If that happens, as much as racing has become thrilling qualifying will become dull but I’ll go for this anytime.

    1. freaky says:

      spot on,

      1. jls says:

        yes, suspect we will be in for another quali format change soon

    2. Alex W says:

      I think you are correct, there will be a minimum of Qualy now.
      If I were a top team I would go Q1 hard, Q2 soft, Q3 #2driver hard, #1driver soft. This would hopefully give #1 pole, and the other could act as a wingman for the first stint, and storm home at the end!

    3. Paul says:

      For tracks where overtaking is now going to be much more common such as Interlagos, Silverstone, Spa etc. I think you are right in that most drivers will now only do one run (if any at all) in Q3.

      For tracks where overtaking will still be very difficult (Monaco, Hungary, Singapore) I can still see there being two runs for the top runners in Q3. Even with 2-3s a lap difference it will be difficult to pass so track position is still key (also tyre degradation shouldn’t be as great particularly at Monaco).

  32. Ron Colverson says:

    Another thing about the racing so far this year is that the overtaking has been very clean. If the rate of contact had been like previous years, we’d be losing half the field! Maybe it’s because there are now so many more passing opportunities, there’s no longer any point risking a dodgy move. Before now, half a chance may well have been the only chance you’d got.

    1. Mario says:

      Good point. It struck me too.

  33. Ivan Julian says:

    Yes, it certainly has been a long while since we’ve seen a true “John Watson charge” in the final laps.

  34. John Rav says:

    qualifying was the most anticlamatic ever. To the fault of the servere tire limits. not a fan of how that played out. I suppose if one of the teams waiting for the ‘one run messed up,’ that would have added drama. not a big deal, just a shame and i’d be more pissed to have gone on Saturday and ony seen my guy take one lap in Q3.

    Race was pretty good, but coverage could get better, to help follow all the action. I’d like more info on what tires the teams still have availible, how far along in the stint they are, etc. (US coverage)

    For example, coverage did not pick up on Vettal having KERS issues, even though a late on screen battle showed he was not using it and podium interview comfirmed he was having issues. Seems that they miss plenty (nobodys perfect.)

    also I thought I had, we should get to see just how close they are to being under weight at the end. we get to hear all all about how they are picking up clagg so they are sure to not be under weight, but never about how close they actually are. I’d love to know that button was only 1.2345 pounds/kilos above legal weight and so his clagg harvest saved him. is it ever a saving move, that would be cool to know.

    also suprised when a team does not have alternate way to communicate when radio goes down. same issue happened in indy car to top driver this week. Where are the contigency plans; hand signals, morse type clicks, anything?

    Am I too picky, or just to much of a real fan. :) ?

  35. Frankie says:

    I really wonder how those votes would have been if Vettel had managed to win in China. I would expect a significant difference.

    The race was extremely exciting and entertaining, but you cannot get past the fact there is a manufactured feel and look to everything. By this I mean that when someone’s tyres have gone, they really don’t put up a fight and just accept what is about to happen. Yes there is plenty of overtaking because of the tyres going off, but it does not look like racing as we have been familiar with.

    1. Anil says:

      Remember though, we only had that situation yesterday because some people chose the wrong strategy and thus were slower. We won’t get those type of mistakes EVERY race; Australia proved that.

    2. Mario says:

      It certainly does not look like the racing we are used to see, but I quite like the new style.

      I suspect that the teams and drivers will quickly figure out that there is benefit in having fresh tyres for the last stint. When they all do that we will see some fierce fighting for positions at the end of a race. I am looking forward to it.

  36. Anil says:

    I’m glad the feedback is good, the race was brilliant. i know quite a few people who already are saying this is the best start to a season they’ve seen, and these are normally the people who only watch the odd race a year or just opening few laps/finish.

  37. David says:

    I think we still more races to be sure, including at the top F1 circuits (Spa, Suzuka, Silverstone, Monaco), but the rule changes and fast tyre degradation seem to have put everything much more edge: more passing needed, therefore more precision/skill in passing to do so quickly without damage to the car or tyres, speed but care with the tyres, avoiding the rubber debris off line, good strategy calls during the race itself… all this without factoring in rain! In a sense the rules are designed to fabricate rain conditions, since wet races are undoubtedly the most popular with spectators, if not with the drivers and teams. As long as the best drivers can come to the top, I’m in favour. Being cautious doesn’t work (see the more careful Alonso versus the more impetuous Massa, whose been ahead this season) but neither does being too aggressive, as Hamilton found in qualifying in Malaysia.

    F1 is getting demanding! You could switch off following the race closely for a while mid race, between stops with little happening. If the races are more like China 2011, almost constant attention is needed to keep track…

  38. Amber says:

    This DRS thing is a little silly in my opinion. Not to say its the only silly thing in F1 but it appears to be overly silly. Or maybe the track to really show its utility hasn’t come up yet.

  39. Russell says:

    I can understand the ‘purists’. I think somewhere deep inside of me there is one. But it’s a lost cause. There hasn’t been pure racing in years. The question isn’t purists vs manufactured racing, it’s how much and in what way it is manufactured racing. If the racing were pure, there’d be no limits on motors, wings and all the rest of it. With all these downforce gadgets making passing so difficult all we’ve been seeing are processions. Without limits we wouldn’t even need real pilots, with engineer types guiding the cars from a tower or TV screen. We could even rent the pilot spot to anyone with the money, like paying to go in space. He/she would just sit there and watch themselves being raced around. Already the most valuable person in GP racing is arguably Adrian Newey. He’s certainly more valuable to RB’s success than Vettel. A true drivers’ championship would mean everyone driving the same car, or drivers switching teams after every race.
    There is no one moment when it became a business more than racing. My, purely subjective moment, was when Lotus was the first (I think) to change its colours to a major advertiser. The first wings were also a sad moment making beautiful race cars look nothing like what one expected a car to look like. With all the money involved pure racing is not an option. To see purer (not pure) racing one must go to club races. When I want to enjoy a real football game, I go to see young men who are not being paid. That’s sport. What we’re watching is a business in the cloak of sport. Having said that, I do watch it.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      I don’t understand the word “pure” when we talk about motor-racing. We’re talking about a sport relying on technology and developments and relying on new and innovative solutions more than on skilled drivers.

      If pure means free technical regulations than no human being will be able to drive any F1 car.

      If pure means no engine freeze than the gap to the midfield teams will be as big as it used to be during the 90s or during Ferrari domination and we won’t see this close fighting. Yesterday, besides the 3 newbies only Maldonado was lapped without hitting troubles, that’s how close is the field.

      1. Russell says:

        Your comment (Jo Torrent) about few drivers being lapped now is interesting. I hadn’t thought about that, and I do recall many being lapped in the past.

  40. Goob says:

    The DRS itself is the most boring device in the world, and is just an artifical patch on the fundamental problem of excess aero.

    The best overtaking is ONLY done by slipstreaming and drafting.

    The tires help to get people out of sync, and that clouds over the fundamental problem of aero.

    It’s not real racing.

  41. Flakey says:

    Let us get rid of DRS, KERS, mandatory pit stops, and get tires like last year. Do not bring back refuelling either, that is so artificial.

    The purists would be in heaven, while we can watch qualifying, and the first two laps, and then go do something else knowing the result.

    No?

    1. Rich C says:

      Bernie could just put a big slot down the track on the racing line and they could all zoom around it at fantastic speeds in order. No passing needed.

    2. Don M. says:

      These divices are creating action, but they are papering over the cracks of the real problems. Purists would like to see the problems resolved, rather than depend on gimmicks like DRS. DRS creates overtaking but de-values it at the same time. Bad regs and bad circuits make for processional racing and DRS is a lazy answer. Genuine purists are only looking for better regs and better circuits to allow real racing. To suggest we want to see processions is ludicrous.

      1. Flakey says:

        So how would you like the regs to be sorted then?

      2. Don M. says:

        Any changes will need to bring greater variation in laptimes, which is the key ingredient to better racing. We’ve seen that in China because of the tyres, but it’s the cars and circuits that should be providing their share of the uncertainty. Basically, the cars need to have less grip and the circuits need to be more challenging. Driving needs to be about car control again, rather than just commitment.

  42. Leo says:

    I can understand how some of us can call it manufactured.
    However, it was much better to see plenty of overtaking and not just a procession.
    All too often the pole sitter just runs away and the rest fights it out for 2nd etc.
    This was a race that has shown that Vettel for all his speed has not yet won from behind (that I know of)
    Perhaps these new rules may negate a pole king from winning every race with ease.
    Personally I enjoyed the race immensly and just wish that all races from Turkey onwards will be the same.
    I sincerley hope that the title comes down to the last race, and may the best man win !

    1. StallionGP F1 says:

      I think you are a little myopic in saying Vettel has not won from behind with this. Had he won this race i wonder what people would have done because from most of what i have read here this race was only exciting because someone other than Vettel won it, what people tend to ignore is the pace of the redbull with soft tyres with webber lapping consistently to the end had that race gone on for another 4 laps webber could have taken it.

  43. Luca says:

    so on the DRS issues are these down to the teams or the FIA systems that are used for the activation/restrictions?

    also, can someone have a word with the BBC – commentary is pretty decent and improving as DC and MB get used to each other, but before and after (inc the forum) is just a chance for presenters to hang out with ‘mates’….. how about some proper interviews with all the drivers and teams.

    I’m a ferrari fan but even i didn’t get to see much from the drivers after the race – god knows what you have to do to find information out on lesser teams and issues they are having. Not even seen Rubins so far this season and i’m not sure what D’Ambrosio looks like!?

    Ok they are not the big teams, but rather than the re-run of the same interview and endless re-play of lewis’ engineers mopping fuel up, perhaps we can get better, broader coverage of the GP’s – forget questioning if DC is partisan or not, what about the whole BBC crew…..

  44. Chris says:

    So Ferrari glitch, no advantage, no penalty. Sauber manufacturing glitch, no advantage, penalty?

    1. James Allen says:

      Very different situation

      1. Dave P says:

        James, it would be nice if you could add some comment to the many posts pointing out that:
        1. Alsonso still had to activate it
        2. It should have turned off with his brakes
        3. Why based on 1 and 2 no penalty was given.

        Although you imply its different, could you enlighten us on how, as as it looks like the old FIA – Ferrari international assistance again.

        If you feel Ferrari had no control over it, well how dangerous would that be…

      2. James Allen says:

        I’m looking into it

      3. Buck61 says:

        If Ferrari had control over the DRS don`t you think Alonso would have used when it would have gained him an advantage?

      4. Ric says:

        In my view if Alonso made a conscious decision to use DRS outside the DRS activiation zone he has to be punished. It does not matter that the FIA got something wrong by enabling it in the wrong part of the track. He would have been trying to get an advanatage from and would have been acting outside the spirit of the rules

  45. Johnny Rye says:

    While people are concerned with the potential accidental competitive advantage to Alonso’s wing opening at the wrong time, I think there is a larger concern…

    What if it opened accidentally at a high downforce section, Turkey Turn 8 perhaps? The sudden loss of downforce could be VERY dangerous!

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Ferrari doesn’t loose any downforce when DRS is activated because it has none !

      1. Johnny Rye says:

        LOL Well played sir!And agree!

    2. Sergio says:

      DRS is a new lottery gadget to raise the game. Some cars have it, some cars not. I’ m talking about equal chances to race. Artificial? No just unfair.

    3. Alex W says:

      What if his throttle stuck open on that corner? Same argument – maybe we should ban petrol engines and go to all electric motors for safety.

  46. Martin says:

    The tyres and DRS are perhaps a slightly artificial way to create closer racing but they are preferable to Indycar’s frequent full course cautions and double file “carnage” restarts for example. The excitement in a race doesn’t just come from having the cars all racing together in a pack with bits of wings being knocked off everywhere, but can also come from the uncertainty of whether one driver can catch another before the end of the race or before one or other’s tyres give up the ghost. And other than in exceptional circumstances you usually get your full money’s worth of racing laps with F1 too. So it works for me!

  47. Ben G says:

    Glad to see the 90% figure. Glad also to hear Martin Brundle saying he loves the new format.

    I once heard that people are four times as likely to write a complaint about something than they are to write in praise of something. Worth bearing in mind when reading the hostile comments on DRS, KERS, new tyres etc etc.

  48. AuraF1 says:

    As I said in the previous thread, which Trent was responding to, seriously people who don’t like the current category can watch Karting.

    Personally I love the new innovations – taking into account the DRS and KERS will develop and change and become better over time. Okay you can complain about DRS if you really must – but seriously we saw PLENTY of overtakes on Sunday that had NOTHING to do with DRS zones. The DRS, if anything, was used to bypass back markers as much as critical overtaking. Lewis and Webber made some major overtakes well away from the DRS zone and Lewis pointed out a handy trick with the KERS where he saved a bit for just before the line to get into Jenson’s slipstream, then waited for the recharge over the line, then used all that to charge right alongside his teammate. Smart thinking – must be all that playstation, waiting for a shield recharge eh Lewis? ;)

    But complaining about the tyres? Really? These halcyon days when ALL driving was down to pure driver talent and ignored technical, mechanical and aerodynamic advantages never existed. Throughout the history of F1, tactical, strategic and design choices have made and broken championships. So have reliability issues and we saw very few on Sunday (other than the Alonso DRS glitch and the Alguesari’s pit crew forgetting to fix his tyre on…) The first few races showed potential for new action, China showed that we can still have races that will be equal to that of previous ‘mistily recalled nostalgia’ races. Now if we do get a great Spanish and Hungarian GP out of this – we’re all winners!

    1. Don M. says:

      You say Lewis didn’t use the DRS to overtake Button. He got close enough to make the move, while saving his KERS, because of the DRS zone.

      We shouldn’t settle for DRS as the answer to the overtaking problem.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Well why not?

        It involved a clever double KERS save, Button’s pitstop mistakes and Button’s failure to keep his rear tyres alive, combined with Hamilton’s aggression (which fair play to Button, he pulled out of his path which could have ended both their races). It was a great overtake.

        DRS helps overcome the overtaking disaster aerodynamics have wrought. Given we’re likely to see a total change in 2013 anyway, I’m happily enjoying the races where overtaking is still possible again. If the formula changes to allow more mechanical grip and less aero effect, fine, DRS may become totally irrelevant. But you work with what you have. You can be mad at the race and stop watching if you like. I’d prefer to enjoy the formula and the step forward it took this year.

      2. Don M. says:

        Why assume that I’m ‘mad at the race’ or would ‘stop watching’? I don’t like DRS, that’s all.

        DRS allows an advantage to a following car on one straight on each circuit. Does that really sound like the best long-term solution? Do you want to settle for that?

        Obviously, I’m talking about future regulations, not immediate changes.

      3. AuraF1 says:

        And as I said, and many others – DRS so far seems to simply diminish the disadvantage of a trailing car due to aero effect. It’s not a guaranteed push to pass and as displayed in China many overtakes were outside the DRS zone and involved a lot of skill.

        Do I want to settle for DRS? Well, if it’s fine tuned to offer similar racing opportunities while the cars have the total imbalancing aero wake, then yes, I’ll take it as a great option.

        If as I mentioned the formula is drastically changed to reduce aero effect and rely more on mechanical grip again which will allow wheel to wheel racing without the dearth of overtakes in previous seasons, then DRS will become obsolete.

        It’s the same as two cockpit radio transmissions. It may not be pure racing, it’s simply a technical innovation that suits the formula as it stands. We can’t get the engineers to stop building unfollowable aero forms which prevent almost all catching, so DRS gives a following car the opportunity to catch.

        The best long term solution is an entirely relative, dependent thing. There is no ‘ONE PERFECT SOLUTION’. DRS has flaws, it would perhaps be incredible to have cars that were fast, agile and raceable, but the laws of physics mean the aero wake makes passing harder and harder since F1 cars just can’t handle the wake. DRS is one solution.

        I don’t demand anybody love it. It’s just a solution to one problem. My point is the races this year have had record overtaking and been far more exciting. At the end of the day, I’m saying I prefer that. In an ideal world there’s lots of things we’d all change about F1 but the issue of aerodynamic wake is not one we can change without ‘artifically’ limiting car design in other areas.

        Whatever the regulations are, they will limit car design in one way or another. All regulations will make the category ‘artificial’.

      4. Don M. says:

        I don’t have anything to add to what I’ve already said, except… Enjoy the season, it looks like it will be a good one.

  49. Rich C says:

    Interesting that Alonso didn’t need whatever extra bit of downforce the open wing eliminated.

  50. Chris R says:

    I love the tyres, KERS is cool, not so cool with DRS though, especially considering not all the teams are using it.

    Why not just make KERS more powerful, they both do the same thing ultimately, DRS looks silly, is not a great idea, and makes me wonder who proposed it to F1.

    1. Alex W says:

      The teams proposed it, it looks unreal in the flesh, and it would have been around for decades if moveable aero was legal.

    2. Don M. says:

      We are seeing some interesting racing, due to tyres mainly, and I hope the DRS isn’t given too much credit for that because we could end up being stuck with it (a bit like Alonso).

  51. Rich C says:

    The thing about DRS I dont like is the silly-a rules about when and where it can be used.

    If they could run it when and where they liked it would be ok with me.

    But as it is its the FIA trying to get into the cockpit and intruding on the driver’s domain.

    Might as well have Bernie’s sprinklers being turned on and off by the FIA whenever they thought it amusing.

    1. Russell says:

      I’m not a purist, but well said Rich. You say clearly why DRS rubs many the wrong way.

  52. Mario says:

    Does anyone know what are Bernie’s thoughts on all this?

  53. Gwion Daniel says:

    Bring back qualifying tyres that they don’t use in the race so the drivers don’t have to compromise on tyre strategy in the race; it might keep qualifying relevant despite the high number of overtakes during the race.

    Or line the grid up in reverse order based on the previous race’s results.

  54. Paul D says:

    Absolutely brilliant Grand Prix – one of the best i’ve seen.

    Loving F1 at the moment reminds me of the epic racing we saw back in the late 80′s and early 90′s.

    Some awesome driving from loads of different drivers in particular many the perceived ‘number 2′ drivers proving a point i.e Massa, Webber and Schumacher.

    Red Bull will need to get on top of their KERS issues sooner rather than later otherwise they will start to be at the mercy of the Mclarens.

  55. Steed says:

    James
    There is a key difference between DRS and tyres in terms of making races artifical.

    DRS is artificiall in that the lead driver is largely defenceless – this removes the skill of defensive driving. Remember a few seasons back when Alonso fended off Schumi for many laps – it was great stuff. This skill is now lost.

    Tyre degradation isn’t artificial to me – a chasing driver doesn’t have an unfair advantage, like with DRS.

    So I enjoyed the racing generated by tyres, but not the artificial overtakes generated by DRS.

    Given that the tyres are making the bigger contribution to overtaking, I would like to see DRS dropped now so that the FIA can determine whether the tyre specs are enough to generate the type of show we all want to see.

    My guess is that DRS is unnecessary.

    1. krieng says:

      We need more overtake not more defence.

  56. Stefanos says:

    James, I was one of the 90%. I believe that we saw very exciting racing and it was somehow easier to follow, as patterns in strategy begin to become established.

    I am a fan of the new Pirelli tyre.

    I do feel that the DRS is potentially unnecessary, as I believe that the vast majority of overtaking moves that we saw were a result of relative tyre degradation. Equally, I believe that KERS is not much more than a PR gimmick that has only contributed to race results due to occasional unreliability issues.

    So, while I belong to the 90% that enjoyed the race, I am not pro everything.

    However, when teams know more about the tyres, they will be able to optimise their strategies and, so, a pit-stop pattern will emerge (to an extent, we saw a pattern yesterday). More drivers will be on the better strategy and this will reduce, or even negate the advantage of getting it right. DRS may play a bigger role then (and may also be further optimised).

  57. James says:

    I spotted the DRS popping up on Alonso’s car too and doubtless millions of other fans did too.

  58. Brian says:

    Whilst China was clearly far better than the processional racing served up in recent times, I still don’t think that passing cars on shot tyres with drivers unable to offer any defence is really overtaking in the true F1 tradition.

    In previous years, cars were able to overtake even at tracks such as the Hungaroring (e.g. Nigel Mansell) without being forced to run tyres which are designed to fall apart after 15 minutes (surely the exact opposite of what a tyre is supposed to do?).

    Failure to limit the influence of aerodynamics and subsequent huge team expenditure on wind tunnels has led to a situation where cars cannot follow each other and slipstream without “Wacky Races” style gimmicks, they also now make it less likely that teams and the FIA will agree on any drastic measures that would address this. The Overtaking Working Group should be reconstituted with the mandate of truly enabling the possibility of overtaking by means of driver skill without button pushing or disposable tyres.

    1. Rich C says:

      >>still don’t think that passing cars on shot tyres with drivers unable to offer any defence is really overtaking <>Failure to limit the influence of aerodynamics <>The Overtaking Working Group should be reconstituted with the mandate of truly enabling the possibility of overtaking <<

      Pure Fantasyland, Dude. The OWG, full of ppl a lot smarter than you and me, failed miserably, year after year.

      1. Ruppert says:

        You obviously don’t understand why a top team would not want to compete more fairly with the lower team… think money… and you will be enlightened on why the overtaking is fail in F1.

        Fairer racing would allow low end teams to compete more effectively if they manage to get a good driver…

        This is the root cause of F1′s sickness.

    2. PaulL says:

      Thank you for your opinion. I agree.

  59. James says:

    James, Have I wronged you so deeply.

    You apprear not to want to accept my electronic contributions…I know I may have sent a post that contained some words that your mods felt duty bound to remove, but does that warrant removing me completely from the debate..?

    Thanking you in advance

    Silverstone79

  60. Tim Parry says:

    There’s this the old saying: “This is the second worst thing that could happen. Everything else is tied for first.”

  61. Dave Roberts says:

    I was so excited by the race I watched the last ten laps stood up. Lewis catching Vettel was reminiscent of him catching Glock in Brazil to take the championship. However, I can’t quite explain why but I am not convinced by the tyre situation. I think one thing is for sure unless you are chasing statistics as they say Vettel does I don’t think there will be the clamour to get pole in the future. Lewis has set a precedent of getting close enough to the front whilst still preserving an extra set of tyres.

  62. Jez W says:

    One of the most exciting ‘dry’ races i’ve seen in my 16yrs watching F1. Unpredicatability at its best made all the more exciting having the F1 live timings to hand on my PC seeing how the 3 stopping strategies could be faster than the two stoppers.

    Post race Mark Webber said (along the lines of) he wasn’t sure he liked this type of racing… as a viewer it was the ‘raciest’ i’ve ever seen him. And Hamilton, i’m not his greatest fan but it was great to see him triumph in this manner. Thank you Pirelli

  63. Koby Fan says:

    Have to admit I’m slowly warming to 2011 regs. For TV viewers, in recent seasons you could watch opening 5 laps and the last 5 laps, go do something else and you wouldn’t have missed much in between. This season its back to

    I’m starting to think its TV broadcasters that need to catch up with the regs now – they need to have constant race update feeds running on the bottom (include driver positions; gap times; current tyres; number of stops; predicted lap next stop, etc.) also need to have some kind of split screen action when there are multiple scraps going on or maybe have F1′s live feed of the circuit map showing realtime positions of each car…unfortunately it might start looking like a videogame but that’s where this new technology is heading anyway…

    Webber’s post-race throwaway comment about saving tyres for the race by not bothering to qualify is not as ridiculous as it seems for the RB7…

    Its seems the new regs appear to work on Tilke tracks…how will the Pirellis super soft and softs work on the street circuits? I’m optimistic that there might be some usual overtaking at Monaco this year…

    1. newton says:

      Overtaking at Monaco? Now that would be heavenly!
      I can’t wait.

  64. JohnBt says:

    DRS is not completely fool proof yet I guess. When Alonso braked his DRS did not shut, he and Ferrari will receive sluggings I’m sure. By the time DRS is perfected rules will change again and we’ll be thrown off once more.

    KERS is only good if teams carry a reliable system. Newey does not like it at all and likewise.

    It’s entertaining while drivers tip toe around with worn-out tyres. Almost a wet race effect. It’s quite comical to me. “Ok ok pass me now, but watch it when I’m on fresh rubber I’m gonna get ya”.

    But China’s overtaking wasn’t as rampant as Malaysia.

    Rules should stay for at least two years. Didn’t FIA scream about cost savings.

  65. SantaFe says:

    Gimmicks have made this 40 year fan turn off the no longer sport. I suppose if the rules required that drivers had to change their own tires it would approach the reality shows that F1 seems to be striving for. But all this artificial stuff has as much interest as watching a roulette wheel choose winners. Driving skill is no longer required. I am glad to have been able to watch Clark, Senna and a few other real drivers.

    Hamiltons win accounted for much of the favorable vote from China not the farce of a race.

    1. DaveP says:

      So you sat through a season or 3 of computer driven Williams’ annihilating the greatest driver who ever lived but this is all a step too far? In ’93 you couldn’t lock tyres up, spin wheels off the line (or bog the engine down.) To pass another driver the car was raised at the rear (removing diffuser from the airflow) by a button at the same time as an extra bit of power/RPM was released, I would suspect a decent clubman driver could get a sight closer to Prost in an FW15 than he could to Vettel in an RB7.

    2. PaulL says:

      Thank you SantaFe, well articulated and I feel exactly the same as a fan of 15 years.

  66. devilsadvocate says:

    James,
    I realize in advance I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this, so I will strt by saying of all the English speaking boards about F1, yours consistently is the best in terms of minimizing fanboy garbage and trolling.
    That being said, I want to really challenge you to think if the widespread appreciation of this weekends race was ecause it was actually better than the previous two or wasnit because of two of the three faces we saw on the podium today. Most importantly the top step.
    I’m an RBR/ Vettel fan, and I loved the race, in spite if the outcome but I also thought Malaysia and Australia were equally as thrilling. My wife is eagerly awaiting the european/ American schedule so I actually sleep at night, because I have gotten so pumped up the last three races I can’t go back to sleep and sundays are a writeoff on productivity as a result.
    Back to my original point, I feel for the most part like discussion is reasonable, but I’m a little bit skeptical that on a race that I saw as not particularly different other than who won ad suddenly all the pirelli critics and DRS haters suddenly are 90% satisfied. Call me cynical but I’ll wager the last 10% would have turned if button had been in Vettel’s place. Ready to be flamed now, but ask yourself if the satisfaction ratings for china would be so high if Vettel had passed Hamilton on newer tires and with the latter being unable to defend. I’m perhaps too negative but highly doubt the response would be anywhere near 90%… rant off

    1. James Allen says:

      I hear what you are saying about the nationalities involved but as always there is a bigger picture here. I get a sense that the racing is more widely considered entertaining now. I know from my TV days that there are many millions of people who are well disposed towards the sport, but who in recent years didn’t watch it more than a few times a season. They will watch more often now, because it’s really fun to watch. It will pull in the casual viewer in a way it wasn’t doing during the years on Bridgestone tyres

      1. Richard says:

        devilsadvocate,
        I do agree with you to a point coz living in the UK but not being british born there are a lot of “brilliance” related stories (& commentary) if Ham / Button wins but “must have car trouble” excuses when Vettel is lapping faster than them or wins the race. But, there is a lot of support and money from the UK going into F1 so the British media would have an interest in keeping the fan base growing & the investment in the sport. I cringed alot when the commentators announced Ham to be driver of the day & most other neutral supporters gave it to Webber. Unfortunately for Vettel or other drivers fans, if Ham / But win, the ratings will go up regardless of how good the actual race was.

        Going back to racing though, I think the race format is much more interesting & entertaining than the past few years. However, my concern is that pole position is now not important at all and the shift from qualifying being all important to racing being all important has swung too much the other way. The top teams will only need to be in the top 4-6 grid positions to be in with a chance of winning. To do this they save a set of options for the race & use their primes in the second / third stint saving a brand new pair of options for when the track is rubbered in & the fuel load is low.

        Monaco & Hungaroring will tell if quali is important or not. I think that if a driver wins from 5th or lower then quali has lost its importance & viewer numbers will reduce on a saturday. This links back to the first point of investment & if only a one day event Bernie & his merry men will have to re-visit the tyre situation – but, in my opinion, only to tweak it to bring quali back in to the equation.

      2. James says:

        Just a thought, but listening to your point and agreeing about qualification too and demonstrated by Webber.

        What about if they changed the rules so that everyone uses one type of type compound for qualification, its possible tho given this weekend that teams will just use the prime tyre for qualification.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      I am not 4 McLaren and less for Hamilton. Other contributors remind me of that too often.

      But I am sorry to go against you but this race was the best in an already exceptional start to the season. I’ll give you my reasons for that :

      From a pure racing point of view it is the 1st time that the winner was decided so late in the race and by an ontrack overtaking move. In the other races places were swapped this way after the last pit stops but it wasn’t for the lead and that makes a huge difference.
      The 2nd point is that the difference between 2 or 3 pit-stops wasn’t obvious and we were thrilled till the end seeing the drama unfold and knowing who got it wrong from who got it right and that included racing for win, podium and points

      The other point is that no matter how good is racing ontrack, if a team or a driver manage to build a huge lead the championship looses its appeal and the stakes of each GrandPrix become less interesting. That’s why I hoped that Vettel doesn’t win yesterday and thankfully he did for no mistake of his but for the wrong strategy.

      Third point, as you mentioned, this blog is full of Ham/McLaren fans for whom Ham victory added to the entertainement and to the appeal which is understandable.

    3. newton says:

      It’s also exciting that someone (*anyone*) other than Vettel won. No-one wants a season of constant dominance by one driver/team.
      e.g. if Rosberg/Massa etc won it would have been fantastic.

  67. Ashwin says:

    Hello James,

    2 questions.

    1) Strange that neither of the races saw a Safety car incident. Could it be because the drivers are more focussed on working on the tyres than taking undue risks for position?

    2) On Star Sports, I think Steve was mentioning something about the DRS being ineffective if the engine is limited by the revv limiter and something to do with gearing ratios as well.

    I appreciate if you can clarify these.

    1. James Allen says:

      You are right, we should have had at least one safety car by now. I don’t think you can say the drivers aren’t taking risks for position. Look how many passes there have been.

      What he was probably saying was that they moved the DRS zone. It ends at the same place, but it was reduced from 900 to 752m. Given that gear ratios had to be decided on Friday night, the concern was that the cars would get bogged down early in the race when they were heavy.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Don’t read too much into the absence of SC so far. It’s like years where it’s exceptionally hot or freezing, it just happens.
        There’s no reason why incidents shouldn’t happen and it’s only a matter of time

      2. Dan says:

        I agree, three dry races does not a trend make.

  68. Ashwin says:

    Hello James,

    One more question :)
    God, I just cant stop asking so many questions to James.

    I regularly saw drivers going over the white line on the pit exit but none of them were taken into consideration by the FIA.

    Are there only certain regions of the white line at the pit exit that a driver is not allowed to touch?

    1. James says:

      They mentioned this on the BBC, its only the white line from the exit of the pit lane whereas the line they were crossing was from within the pitlane.

  69. Ryan Eckford says:

    It looks like we have found the magic number for the DRS, 750 metres. The FIA have now got to make sure that this remains the same for every race from now on if possible.

  70. Aey says:

    Yes, This race is fun. One thing is come from the tyre.

    But if Vettel didn’t lost the 1st place at the start, he could possibly runaway from McLaren and make the gap then the tyre strategy would be difference

    If Vettel get 1st on the first lap, he might still win the race and Lewis might not stop him winning.

    ps: I am Lewis and McLaren fan

    Tyre and KERS is Fair artificial for the race because anyway driver have to involve on how to manage their tyre and when to use KERS, everyone have the same thing.

    But for DRS, I don’t think it fair technology for racing, one can use it but another one in front can’t use it without defending tool. One driver have to loss the place without doing anything wrong just because the car behind has DRS, I don’ t think it fair at all.

    Suppose the one has loss the win to DRS in the last corner, so he was beaten by the other driver or was beaten by DRS, and the winner win by his own ability or win by DRS.

    How the winner can be proud if he win by the DRS.

  71. dufus2 says:

    The races are way more interesting now.
    If you can tell me you are not glued to the telecast and on the edge of your seat you need to do something else. DRS and KERS and all that technical crap which seems to upset the hardcore is attracting viewers full stop.
    Hello… we have overtaking now and sh*t loads of it. The teams are busier, the drivers are busier, the fans are busier.
    The people with the hardest job are the broadcasters and commentators trying to feed us all the info in a meaningful way.
    With regards to China, the racing up front was as interesting as the race down the field at various times.
    What a year it is and will continue to be !
    I expect to see more coverage of drivers up and down the positions within the race. This means more advertising for the lower ranked teams and at least a little more TV time for them and their fans.

  72. Darko says:

    It would be worth trying a race without DRS to see what happens. FIA always maintained they would have open mind about the advice, so why not having Turkey for example without it. With KERS and especially this year’s tyres I have an impression DRS is not really needed to spice up the show and the races would not be much worse without it. After all this is the bit that most find to be unsatisfactory (read fake) way of providing overtaking.

  73. Paul Mc says:

    I think this race had elements of everything that made it stand out. A battling Webber from 18th place, both McLarens jumping Vettel, Hamilton’s excellent overtakes, Rosberg and Schumacher in better positions.

    But also it cannot be underestimated the effect of DRS on the long run down into turn 14. Most of the action happened here and the strategic placing of DRS here helped an awful lot.

    The ultimate test is on the boring circuits such as Hungary and Barcelona. If F1 can be entertaining here then its job done. While im still slightly baffled by the race strategy and find it tricky to follow certain drivers positions and pit stops, you cannot complain about the action on track.

    Top stuff. Also one minor gripe, why does the race director switch from battles on track to show a car in the pits. Surely a split or mini screen is all that is needed for pitstops so you can show both the overtaking and the important pit stops. The race director is critical to the entertainment factor of the race and pulling away from the action to show a stationary car or pitstop can be really frustrating.

    1. Dan says:

      I read on another forum that jut over half the overtaking moves in the race happened in locations other than turn 14.

  74. NRG says:

    Not James and not an answer, more of an opinion, but I think that some of the incidents in a race that get people exercised and wanting penalties handed out are things that are covered in the drivers’ briefing. Each track has its peculiarities and what’s acceptable at one track, such being side by side exiting the pits, is not at another. Perhaps in this case the drivers were told the pit lane line was only in force after the intersection with the track line.

  75. F1_Dave says:

    still think this new formula makes passing far too predictable in tyre wear situations. in many cases as soon as a car on newer tyres began to catch one ahead on older ones it was obvious he was going to get past.

    late in the race when hamilton began to catch vettel, it was clear that vettel wasn’t going to win the race because he had nothing to fight back with.

    the thrill of watching a racing battle is that you dont know the outcome, watching one car catch another knowing full well hes going to get by is no fun.

    every single pass i saw with cars on tyres at different stages of wear at shanghai was predictable, was more a matter of where would the pass happen than would the pass happen.

    if every race is going to be anything like this then sorry, im not intrested.
    ive been watching f1 for 47 years, i’ve been to hundreds of races around the world, i love f1, its been a huge part of my life in that time & i’ve loved every second of every race untill now.
    i dont want to leave f1 behind but i loathe what its become so much i may end up having to.

  76. gimpicus says:

    I don’t normally post because on such a (typically) well informed board my thoughts are normally on screen from someone else before I’ve had them. However, I have a thought on the 2011 rule changes that hasn’t been expressed yet.

    There has been lots of uncertainty on strategy and thus excitement in the first 3 races. The vast majority of this uncertainty is due to the tyres.

    When the teams get a fuller understanding of the tyres does anyone else think we’re just going to be back to all the teams running the same strategy (whether that is an optimum 2 or 3 stops on a given circuit)?

    I guess I’m arguing that the only reason the first 3 races have been so exciting is that all the teams are frantically trying to get to grips with the new rules and tyres.

    What do people think?

    If you agree I guess this suggests that we should change the rules every year to keep the teams guessing at the start of every season!

    1. Ruppert says:

      No.

      Drop the DRS immediately as its aweful to watch a car go past another when they are configured by the FIA – the driver is entirely irrelevant.

      I used to get a real buzz watching a driver overtake another – with DRS there is a numbness – there is ZERO emotion watching a FIA configured car go past a handicapped car.

      Hell, why does the FIA not just automatically kill the engine in the car infront for 5 secs in a designated zone? No need for dangerous wings…?

      The only saving grace was the soft tire compounds… this is the only factor that made the race interesting. The real fix is still to have less aero…

  77. eric weinraub says:

    When the day comes that a car outside of the first 2 rows wins a race, then come and talk to me about how these changes are helping the sport. DRS/Tyres/KERS are all a smoke screen.

  78. Krishchar says:

    Hi James,

    Worn tyres and normal racing

    Although race provided the excitement and unexpected results

    It’s all about the tyres, saving fresh sets and tyres which has done less laps proved to be the right strategy

    This does not bodes well for the future, pirelli tyres are very fragile which does not allow drivers to push

    Few races in 2010 was far more exciting, bridgestone provided much durable tyres which allowed better racing and on track fight rather than results based on tyre wear and strategy

    Too many artifical variables decides the outcome, here is one hoping to see some real racing as season progresses with much durable tyres and less pit stops

    As usual very nice analysis james

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