Who was making moves in Korea?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Oct 2012   |  6:14 pm GMT  |  65 comments

After the unpredictability of the first half of the season, the Korean Grand Prix fell into the pattern we have seen recently – and will probably see in the next two races – of most runners doing a two stop strategy with drivers largely choosing to race on the harder prime compound tyre in the second and third stints.

But there were a few counter strategies and some other unusual aspects to Sunday’s race, not least the strange late race messages from Red Bull Racing urging the winner Sebastian Vettel to slow down due to concerns over the front tyres. We saw a surge through the field by the two Toro Rosso drivers and the lack of movement from other midfield runners, despite the early elimination of Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Kamui Kobayashi. And we saw Pastor Maldonado attempt a one-stop strategy that did not pay off because the car wasn’t fast enough.


Pre race expectations

Before the start all the strategists were expecting two stops, with a faint possibility that someone might try one stop, as the wear life was alright, but the performance looked like it would be far less competitive.

Nevertheless Pastor Maldonado and Williams tried it, with Maldonado ending up 14th, having started the race in 15th place. In contrast Jean Eric Vergne, who started the race in 16th place ended up 8th, by doing the first two stints on the prime (soft) tyre and then a final sprint on the supersoft at the end.

The expected life of the supersoft tyre was 17 laps and the soft was 24 laps.


The race at the front – fairly static

As predicted, the Korean Grand Prix followed a similar pattern to the Japanese Grand Prix a week earlier with the leading teams making two stops around laps 14 and 34 for new prime tyres. The difference was that the tyre choices in Korea were supersoft and soft, whereas Japan had been soft and hard.

There were concerns with graining of the tyres and also with wear on the outer shoulder of the front tyres in Korea and several teams experienced it, with Red Bull the most extreme example; Sebastian Vettel was ordered to be careful in the final laps as his tyres were close to the limit.

This was a curious episode, which has yet to be fully explained. Pirelli were not aware of any issues on the tyres and although it was getting marginal, there was apparently still some rubber on the tyre when they were inspected at the end of the race.

Little changed at the front, with Vettel and Webber swapping places at the start, Alonso finishing third as Hamilton struggled with a broken rear anti roll bar and was thus forced to stop three times.

The main movers among the front runners were Massa, who moved up from 6th to 4th and Hulkenberg, from 8th to 6th.

Massa was racing Raikkonen and Hulkenberg was racing Grosjean. In both cases the Lotus driver lost out despite starting ahead of his opponent.

Massa kept up his impeccable record of starts by jumping Raikkonen on the opening lap. Raikkonen stayed with him, but they pitted together on lap 14, so there was no opportunity for the undercut there. Both came out behind Perez who was running longer. Massa got past him on lap 17, Raikkonen didn’t and lost a couple of seconds which gave Massa some breathing space.

Then on lap 21 Massa passed Hamilton for fourth place, but again Raikkonen couldn’t get past. He blamed the new Coanda exhausts for cutting the power. Either way, he spent five laps behind the McLaren before it pitted on lap 26.

But Raikkonen was now 10 seconds behind Massa and the race was over between them. There was nothing for Lotus to do with strategy to get back the position.

Meanwhile Hulkenberg also jumped his opponent Grosjean at the start – possibly as a result of Grosjean being on high-alert over causing any kind of accident again. It helped Hulkenberg and they ran 7th and 8th in the opening stint; they pitted together on lap 13, so again there was no chance for the undercut.

The Lotus looked the faster car, but Hulkenberg defended doggedly. So Lotus tried the undercut on lap 31, bringing Grosjean in first, when he was just 6/10ths of a second behind Hulkenberg. Force India covered the stop on the next lap, but Grosjean had got ahead again.

It stayed this way until lap 40 when they came up behind Hamilton and Hulkenberg managed to pass both cars to regain his sixth position.

With no more stops to make and Hulkenberg having track position, he was able to hold on to the finish, as Grosjean lost time, first in traffic and then in the last five laps with tyre degradation.


Midfield battle – tough to make moves

In the last couple of seasons we have seen quite a number of moves with drivers breaking into the top ten, having started outside. Sergio Perez’ podiums in Canada and Monza spring to mind.

What was noticeable in Korea was that for the most part this was not possible for drivers like Perez, Di Resta and Maldonado – despite the elimination early on of Rosberg, Button and Kobayashi, who started 9th, 11th and 13th respectively. Most finished more or less where they started with Schumacher ending up three places back from where he qualified.

But the exception was the performance of the two Toro Rosso drivers.

We mentioned in our UBS Race Strategy Briefing that deciding on a down force level was a crucial part of race strategy, as the track has a split character with the final sector all about high down force, but the long straights a good option for overtaking if you have a low down force set up.

Toro Rosso opted for the overtaking option; they qualified 16th with Vergne and 21st (after a penalty) with Ricciardo. In the race they split the strategies with Verge starting on soft tyres, running a long second stint on softs and ending with 17 laps on the supersoft, while Ricciardo managed to come through on essentially the same strategy as the top six cars. They came through to finish 8th and 9th and Ricciardo might have done more had he not suffered a problem with braking.

It was Toro Rosso’s strongest race of the year.


TYRE STRATEGIES, KOREA

SS= Super Soft; S=Soft; N=New; U=Used

Vettel: SSU SN (15) SN (35) 2
Webber: SSU SN (14) SN (32) 2
Alonso: SSU SN (15) SN (34) 2
Massa: SSU SN (14) SN (35) 2
Räikkönen: SSU SN (14) SN (35) 2
Hülkenberg: SSU SN (13) SN (32) 2
Grosjean: SSU SN (13) SN (31) 2
Vergne: SN SN (13) SSN (38) 2
Ricciardo: SSN SN (14) SN (34) 2
Hamilton: SSU SN (13) SN (26) SSU (42) 3
Perez: SN SSN (18) SN (33) 2
Di Resta: SN SSN (15) SN (28) 2
Schumacher: SSU SN (13) SN (32) 2
Maldonado: SSN SN (21) 1
Senna: SSN SN (14) SN (32) 2
Petrov: SSN SN (14) SN (32) 2
Kovalainen: SSN SN (13) SN (33) 2
Glock: SSN SN (14) SSN (31) 2
Pic: SSN SN (17) SSN (34) 2
Kartikeyan: SSN SN (18)

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several of the leading teams’ strategists and from Pirelli

RACE HISTORY GRAPH – shows the gaps between the cars and relative pace

Kindly supplied by Williams F1 Team

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65 Comments
  1. thejudge13 says:

    I have to say, this is now 2 out of the last 3 races where the management of the race has been poor from either a safety car perspective or ultra slow marshaling.

    Rosberg’s car was left on lap 1 at the edge of the track in the DRS zone.

    At the end of lap 2 we had Webber in the DRS zone on Vettel along with much of the field less than 1 second apart.

    How on earth it took until lap 10 to clear Nico’s car I’ll never know by which time cars were strung out.

    I know there are certain figures in F1 who we shouldn’t criticise and I’m sure Charlie Whiting is a lovely guy…but come on.

    Its not like we have hundreds of games a year as in football. We get 20 races and marshalling needs to be near perfect to avoid spoiling the race.

    For a sport that has an income of somewhere in the region of $1.5bn p.a. its rather a joke.

    1. michael grievson says:

      I thought the same thing. That car (and the bit of debris) should have been cleared immediately

      1. Adam Codony says:

        Remember these are the same marshals that placed in the middle of the track a mobile crane to retire one of the crashed cars while the rest of cars were still racing (no safety car in yet) and drivers had to avoid colliding with the crane.

        Also, in the recent Korean GP there was an interesting detail caught on TV. A FIA marshal was giving orders to a translator and then the translator addressed to a group of track marshals explaining what the FIA official said. My thoughts are that marshal orders took so long to be executed due to the language barrier and perhaps some details were lost in translation, resulting in such awkward situations.

      2. DMyers says:

        I agree too, and Brundle seemed quite mystified in commentary. But no, we were treated to a mainly processional race. Shame.

      3. Wayne says:

        James, sorry this is off topic, but – is there any indication as to the BBC’s coverage of F1 next year? Will it be the same or will it be renegociated?

        Cheers.

      4. James Allen says:

        As far as I know they have a contract to 2017 that they will honour.

        Clearly there will be a change in presenter, but at the moment that is open for discussion, so I hear

      5. Andy says:

        Talking about F1 Tv rights… NBC taking over from Speed in the USA must be a big thing right? I am British, but I have heard of NBC so I assume it must be a major channel, whereas the only thing I had ever heard of about Speed is complaints about how bad it’s programming of F1 is on this site!

      6. oak says:

        you get my vote james!

      7. Wayne says:

        Thanks James, did not know they had a contract until 2017. At least I can look forward to still seeing some races live until SKY swallows the whole lot in 2018!

      8. Phil says:

        @James. NBC TV’s garnering F1 broadcast rights for the US gives the sport a huge increase in exposure in America. NBC is one of the 3 original channels in the US dating back to the ‘dawn of TV’ in the 1940′s. NBC has both terrestrial and cable coverage and is a free broadcast service unlike SPEED TV which is only pay to view and has a very minor viewership by comparision. NBC offers F1 massive expansion in viewing to the general American public. NBC broadcasts the Olympics, American football, MLS soccer, Triple Crown horseracing, PGA golf/Ryder Cup and more so the addition of F1 to their line up is huge
        for the sport. Perhaps an article with the background on this deal for your Euro readers to understand the ramifacations over here and to show that, perhaps, at long last, F1 will have arrived properly in the US.

    2. spyke says:

      DRS is not enabled till lap 3 at earliest

    3. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      + 1. James, have you any inside info on this?. Why did it take so long to shift his car?

    4. Kimi4WDC says:

      At least Thursday’s press conference wasn’t an amateur display this time around :)

    5. I can only think if Monaco where they are ultra quick at clearing cars out of the track.

      Remember the Schumacher-Grosjean-Maldonado first lap carnage?
      Sorted by the time the cars came round for the second lap.

    6. Richard D says:

      Please don’t blame the marshals for the delay in clearing Rosberg’s car, without knowing the facts. Whilst they are there as first responders, they are not responsible for the recovery of stricken cars, as to getting the debris, not so easy with cars approaching at 200mph and not much gap between them. They are also guided by Race Control whose decision it would have been how the car should be recovered. I think a vehicle was eventually sent to lift it as presumably the marshals couldn’t move it. I wondered why the safety cars wasn’t deployed as that would no doubt have given the marshals more opportunity to do something about the car and debris. I suspect the real blame lies with the circuit management who did not place a suitable recovery vehicle at that location. But above all it was Kobayashi’s fault for taking Rosberg and Button out in the first place!

      1. Johnny Benerba says:

        “Above all” the circuit takes full blame. Drivers will make errors, that’s why we have safety measures.

      2. thejudge13 says:

        Its the FIA who should take responsibility, not the marshalls. I believe there were 40 Australian marshals brought in to assist – but whether it was training, lack of equipment, a poor assessment by the race director as to whether a safety car would have been a better solution – it was poor.

        No one is calling for heads to roll, just better contingency planning, communication, crisis assessment, marshal training and/or expenditure – whatever it takes.

    7. shortsighted says:

      To me, it seems that yellow flags were deployed too frequently and indiscriminately. Rosberg’s car was parked on a straight almost completely out of the way, if my memory serves me right. The chance of another car hitting it is very low. Did we need to have the yellow flag while the marshall was getting it removed?

      Also I think more modern equipment should be used to clean the track after a collision. Leaf Blowers can quickly blow all the debris away from the track easily. I am sure there are some other solutions that are equally effective or better.

    8. Horoldo says:

      I think this shows what DRS has brought to F1. Imagine the whole race like the first 8 laps, or the whole season.
      I like DRS. We were robbed of an exciting start to the race.

      1. thejudge13 says:

        @shortsighted @Horoldo
        My thoughts exactly. Particularly whether the yellow flags should have been deployed at all – crisis assesment could be better.
        We were robbed of a good race, not just the start, as Webber said once the flags were withdrawn it became a stalemate of tyre conservation – some drivers in lap 3 may have taken chances with tyres to gain track position.
        Marshals I believe are predominantly still amateur. May each ciruit needs diving up into 500m (or so) sections and a full time professional marshal appointed.
        For a sport that is on the cutting edge of protortype racing car design, F1 appears pedantic and stayed in many other aspects.

  2. Malcolm says:

    Yet another enlightening report James. Odd how a good race seems to have not had much movement in the field order. Excellent race for Toro, were they the only team taking the low downforce option?

  3. giroveloce says:

    Hi James,
    I’ve noticed a strange situation in Suzuka and in Korea upon the comparison between Massa and Alonso. In Suzuka Massa flew on 3rd faster time in Q1 with harder compound and only 1 lap, in Korea he was 5th, while in both occasions Alonso got to use 1 set of softer tires to avoid the cut. Felipe’s feeling with harder was confirmed in Yeongam race trim, while Alonso struggled a lot.
    Now we have not data about Suzuka race paces, but it seems Fernando is still faster on softer compounds, with Massa now faster on the harder.
    Do you think this is the product of a sort of uncontrolled compromise Ferrari made to place Fernando in first rows in qualifying?
    If so, it proves risky since he arrives in Q3 with only 1 set of softer..
    If not so, where’s Fernando race pace? Thank u.

  4. giroveloce says:

    Hi James,
    I’ve noticed a strange situation in Suzuka as in Korea upon the comparison between Massa and Alonso. In Suzuka Massa flew on 3rd faster time in Q1 with harder compound and only 1 lap, in Korea he was 5th, while in both occasions Alonso got to use 1 set of softer tires to avoid the cut. Felipe’s feeling with harder was confirmed in Yeongam race trim, while Alonso struggled a lot.
    Now we have not data about Suzuka race pacese, but it seems Fernando is still faster on softer compounds, whit Massa now faster on the harder.
    Do you think this is the product of a sort of uncontrolled compromise Ferrari made to place Fernando in first rows in qualifying?
    If so, it proves risky since he arrives in Q3 with only 1 set of softer..
    If not so, where’s Fernando race pace? Thank u.

  5. BurgerF1 says:

    I thought it was a pretty plain race too. I guess “static” is a nice way of putting it. The tires, which have generally given us lots of close racing this year, weren’t as much a factor here (despite Red Bull’s radio transmissions): perhaps the teams are starting to get on top of them at last? Perhaps it’s the track too.

    Was curious if anyone knows what the Mercedes drivers were doing stopping at the end of the pitlane in Q3. Just testing start procedures or checking clutch bite point?? Seemed an unusual thing to do with other cars trying to get on track.

  6. Chromatic says:

    “He blamed the new Coanda exhausts for cutting the power.”

    Hi James,
    you sound as if you are not convinced ….

    The coanda did reduce the Lotus speed on the straight, where the overtaking was taking place, but gave an advantage on the twisty sections. The timings support this. That’s why he couldn’t fight off Hamilton.
    Result: p5 for Kimi.
    Do you think Hamilton could have finished p6 if he had followed Kimi home instead of opting for “Heroics” that netted him a single point instead.

    1. Aezy_doc says:

      One look at the graph should tell you that at the point he pitted Hamilton was already losing time and there was no guarantee of managing the tyres to the end of the race. There was the possibility of a couple more places with new tyres but the astro turf ended that.

    2. Kimi4WDC says:

      Lewis ended Kimi’s podium hopes on lap one, where he choose to run him wide in twisty section after second straight.

      Personally, it looked like Hamilton was driving on 70%. Whatever was wrong with the car, he sure could have pushed it more, if all was good.

    3. mayberth says:

      kimi hit limiter on 309km/h

      Grosjean without the coanda hit limited on 314km/h

      Lotus needs to improve the coanda further in order to compensate some of the rear downforce gains into straightline speed…there’s no other way!! The E20 is pathetically slow on straights

    4. Daniel MA says:

      I remember reading somewhere that Reanult estimated a 20hp loss on last year’s EBD, so you can imagine how much power this much simpler “coanda” exhausts really loose, if anything I think top speed is affected because of the extra downforce and drag that it generates, I expect Lotus to have better speed once they fine tune their system.

  7. Jez K says:

    I think that the artificially high impact the tyre wear has had this season has spoilt the show rather than enhancing it. You could argue that the tyres had the desired effect ( like that crazy Canadian GP)for the first 4 or 5 races but because the teams engineers couldn’t understand or adapt cars to the tyres, we ended up with the strategists taking over the show which sadly resulted in everyone driving round at 95% to save the tyres. (Remember Schumachers comments after Bahrain GP) I reckon the constant nagging of Vettel about his tyres was more to do with them reaching the so called “cliff” and not actually whether they were worn close to the cords. Sadly, despite being a devoted fan of all aspects of F1 for the last 25 years, I found the race boring because when you remove the smoke and mirrors of tyres, DRS, KERS etc. the only actual racing move was Hulkenburgs double overtake.
    Sad days.

    1. Wayne says:

      “I found the race boring because when you remove the smoke and mirrors of tyres, DRS, KERS etc. the only actual racing move was Hulkenburgs double overtake” Agree completely.

      Sad, isn’t it, that modern F1 has been reduced to ‘smoke and mirrors’.

      I still find the two principal areguments for the silly destructo tyres a bit perplexing.

      1) They improve the show by increasing overtaking.

      Depends on what you class as overtaking doesn’t it? Defenceless cars being passed willy-nilly is not my idea of overtaking.

      Depends on what you want from a show as well. I’d much rather see these guys out there pushing the car rather than spending the entire middle part of the race ‘managing’ rubber that is engineered not to last.

      F1 has become the WTMC, World Tyre Management Championship.

      2) Tyres have always been a part of F1.

      Well, yes, of course. but these tyres are artifically engineered to fall apart and that is the huge difference that the advocates of this argument simply choose to ignore.

  8. Eleanore says:

    I thought Senna’s start – jumping from P17 to P12 almost immediately – was pretty great, though he’s had several of those these season. Shame the debris caught in his front wing, and later just the slowness of the FW34 itself, pretty much ruined that.

  9. TJS says:

    i’d bet the call for VET to slow towards the end of the race was a call for pirelli to drop the super soft for the Korean GP next year. and it will work.

    1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      Yep! Got it in one. I reckon it was all for Pirelli’s benefit.

    2. DMyers says:

      He was not on the supersoft at the time, so that makes no sense whatsoever.

  10. Martin P says:

    James, what’s the view in the paddock on the influence of tyres on the racing now?

    Personally I was very supportive of Pirelli’s attitude initially and believe they delivered what they were asked for. But now, regardless of the reason, it feels like it’s all gone too far. Formula 1 is about the fastest drivers in the fastest cars driving as hard as they can within the limits of the machinery they’re given (including the tyres). But when the tyre itself is designed knowing it will be a limiting factor and not an enabler to them exploring both their own limits and that of their machinery, the balance is lost, the challenge is lost and the spectacle is lost.

    1. madmax says:

      Agree Martin, if drivers are stuck behind a car their tyres are ruined, if drivers try to pass a car their tyres are ruined, nevermind if a driver actually wants to push his car rather than drive to a delta time to conserve the tyres.

      It has gotten way beyond a joke and the only driver(Schumacher) who actually had the character to speak up about it gets torn apart by the media for doing so.

    2. newgen says:

      This has a very valid point. Indeed it looks like they have lost the balance. When tyre preservation is the key competence of a driver and car influencing too much on the result, they would better be called world cruising GP.

    3. Kimi4WDC says:

      It’s not much a tyre, but the technology as whole. With the amount of sensors and date we have now, there is just that much grey area you can get. Most of the decisions teams make are calculated risks that are VERY precise, coupled with improved reliability the outcome is pretty definite, unless something unexpected happens!!!

      F1 will never be the way it was in 70s or 80s. There is just too much control over too many factors. Analog versus Digital.

    4. Anil says:

      Completely agree. They were horrifically slow in Korea :(

    5. Aaron says:

      Tyre management has always been an important part of F1. I because of the period we had where the Bridgestone tyres became so durable they would last an entire race has made us forget this. Go back and watch races from the 80′s and you’ll see the likes of Alain Prost winning races by driving slower, saving his tyres for the end of a stint.

      The problem is that if tyres are made much more durable then races become processions. The fastest cars tend to qualify fastest, and then within a few laps pretty much go round in their finishing order. It may be pure racing but it doesn’t make for great entertainment.

      1. Señor Sjon says:

        How do you explain the Valencia Q2 times for example. About 10 drivers within one tenth on a 100 second lap. That is 0,1% deviation between drivers, engines and cars. To me, the only logic is that the tires limit the cars to a certain laptime. Go over it, and the tire is nuked forever.

        I want the nineties back! :P

      2. Jez K says:

        I agree with what you are saying but the trouble is we have gone from one extreme to the other with tyres going from being too durable to now being too fragile. The clear difference with say Prost in the 80s was that he had the option to push on those tyres if he wished or he could cruise wisely to save them if he wished. This resulted in more unpredictable and exciting races due to genuine strategic options available to teams AND individual drivers despite the fact they were all using the same tyres. These options just don’t exist with today’s pirellis because if a driver pushes they die from thermal degradation but if the driver nurses them they fall out of the performance window! Could Prost and Senna have slugged it out (conservative vs aggressive style) with these Pirelli tyres. I really don’t think so.

  11. Robin says:

    I watched the race live with a couple of serious F1 fan friends right after having played the video game, so was particularly well disposed to enjoy the race, which I did. Having said that I have to argue that any of these current races are vastly less boring than the depths of the stable-tire-with-refuelling era. And not just the First Schumacher era either but well before and after. Yes it’s arguably a bit artificial at times, but the uncertainty is basically good.

  12. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Hulk did the move of the day!

    Vettel, nothing, as usual :)

  13. DanWilliams from Aust says:

    I love MAS’s curve vs ALO’s. MAS was all over him but Ferrari called him off.. Really hope MAS continues this form and returns to his 2008 self, and take the fight to ALO…

    I like ALO and think he’s great but imagine how happy he would be if his team mate matched him and even beat him… remember 2007…

  14. DANNY says:

    Schumacher embarrassed himself again. Horrible! Sam Bird should take over.

    1. Jez K says:

      Why?? Would Sam Bird have brought some real tyres and a half decent car with him?? Would he have out qualified Rosberg?? Hmmmmm

  15. menesis says:

    The positions after the first lap clearly highlighted that pole position is on the wrong side. First 4 rows had swapped positions (+1, -1, …).

  16. Janis says:

    Hmm,
    I don’t think Toro Rosso was so fast just because the had opted for the low down force package. Mercedes did the same, and look what happened!
    Seems to me, Little Bulls lucked in with the car balance, and so could make the tyres work well, while Merc failed in this aspect completely (again).
    So, yes, like so many times this season, almost no matter what car you have, if you make the tyres work, you win big. Silly, really.

  17. F1 + Nismo says:

    James, with the affect of the rear anti roll bar failure it would have been great if Mclaren changed the damper why not the anti roll bar. This has given us a mix feeling on Lewis’s car comparable to Buttons car. Its a big shame that Jenson was taken out earlier, as his race pace on pratice was better if that.

    Ferrari should have let Massa pass Webber at least as his race pace was good or, I should say better than Alonso’s. that way by helping Fernado to overtake Webber by closing in. Anyway what if Massa was allowed to go pass Alsono would he have been able to disturb the Redbulls?

    1. Dave C says:

      Massa blew all his tyres and fuel in chasing down Alonso and he wouldnt have got nearer Webber than Alonso did, pointless letting him try, also disturb the bulls? He wouldnt have got close to Vettel whos in a diffrrent league right now.

  18. This is my first visit to James Allen’s blog; A former F1 fan before moving to the USA in 2001 and losing all contact (I don’t have any need to buy the only super-platinum extra-special high-octane 400 channel cable TV package that carries the SPEED channel).

    Best part? I love the colorful time chart! Thank you.

  19. ptopo says:

    Re the radio messages to Seb at the end –

    There is the possibility that data really was scaring them as you’ve alluded to before e.g. a complex analysis of tyre temps, loading while cornering and so forth; however, other reasons do present themselves….

    1) Red Bull would perhaps like to lobby for harder tyres in future – maybe, but surely Pirelli get a good look at the tyres later and can make their own minds up?
    2) (much more likely) RB really REALLY don’t like Seb doing glory runs in the last few laps of season-defining grands prix. Telling him his tyres are about to blow up is a pretty good way of slowing him down.

    It could backfire if Seb saw it that way and it turns into cry wolf, but one has to assume the team is very much smarter than that?

    1. Señor Sjon says:

      Setting a purple last sector in his last lap isn’t helping the Red Bull cause.

      I had the same feeling when they had a ‘gearbox’ problem in Brazil last year. Hamilton had the same and he was out a few laps later. Vettel cruised home and gave Webber the victory. Perhaps they ware afraid that Webber and Vettel could collide (again) that race.

    2. BillC says:

      Totally Agree with your 2nd option – Christian Horner almost admitted that during his interview with the BBC.

      Mind you it really hacked me off as I had backed Seb for the fastest lap in the http://www.pirelligpchallenge.co.uk/ competition.

      James thanks for pointing this out to us earlier in the season, as a result I got in early and am currently winning, but have probably blown my chances by boasting here:(

      BillC

  20. Andrew Carter says:

    This isnt such a surprise. As I was predicting earlier in the year the teams have all got their heads around the tyres and the performance is determined by who has the best and development program. Makes those accusations of it being a tyre lottery seem a joke now, doesnt it.

  21. Richard says:

    I think in the early part of the season teams were struggling to understand the tyres, and hence more variance with positioning. As the tyres became better understood less variation due to degradation and wear is apparent as knowledge is built up, but as ever with these tyres it makes for tame racing because they have a finite life, and drivers are restricted as to how much they can push particularly with a car that a little under par. It reduces the level of driver individuality out of racing as does over dependency on aerodynamics. F1 today is not what it was in say the Senna/Prost era.

  22. Elie says:

    Yeah another “tyre race”. Even though the teams understand the tyres much better. They still can’t predict them 9months into the season. And for certain I read somewhere that some teams with the exact same number of laps on the super soft got completely different levels of grip. I always questioned. How can these tyres possibly be consistent with such a narrow operating window 16 races in its clear no one can answer this question. It’s no conspiracy theory it’s just that when you manufacture something in such a narrow specific operating way it can’t possibly consistent or reliable. And the best “Nurse” is..!

    As for cars clearly Ferrari have good downforce as Felipes mid corner speed was great, and It would appear traction out if the slow corners has improved too. Lotus still have alot to sort out with their exhaust- the positive is if they can retune the engine to increase speed it in turn will increase downforce as well with the Coanda effect. This should give them a few more truths again- they just need their speed back down the straights !- why oh why did they not work on their DDRS earlier !!- it’s too late for this year .

    I too was really disappointed with the yellow flags that just ruined the race for a few people :- Webber , Raikkonen spring to mind. That’s just poor management / marshalling. Normally it would not take three laps- 10is just ridiculous!

  23. F1 + Nismo says:

    What are the odds for Pole at India?….this could be an acid test for Ferrari and Mclaren to bring in their updates to match Redbull. The top teams in the championship are aiming to qualify on the front row (front row lockout) but only by succeeding on their one lap pace, therefore controlling the race like Redbull are able to do.

    Pat Fry has been going back and forth to Ferrari HQ to fast track development, hopefully a DDRS? and other aero tweeks, the race pace on the Ferrari is good just needs to qualify well up on the field.

    1. Dave C says:

      If Ferrari wants pole on a track that on paper suits the Redbulls means they need about 0.6sec on raw pace and that wont be happening in India, race pace Ferrari are a match for Mclaren but about 0.3 slower than Redbull right now so Alonso needs qualify on the front row if he is to challenge, still Vettel has this title unless bad luck and unreliability intervenes.

    2. Warren Groenewald says:

      I’ve been wondering about a Ferrari DDRS myself and how quickly they could implement a “simple” system like the Red Bulls. Technical information on how it works is already available all over the web, so I would assume that rival engineers would have even more in-depth information and most likely have a CFD model by now.

      The qualifying boost just might be worth it. Ferrari are already strong in a straight line so it could allow them a little extra wing for the twisty bits.

  24. Anil says:

    Hello James,

    I saw a report on another site (quoted from some Spanish press), that claimed Massa was running a Red Bull style exhaust in Korea. It seems this explains why Massa was distinctively faster than Alonso. The report also claimed that Alonso will have this on his car for India. Have you heard about this?

  25. Graham says:

    James,

    PLEASE TAKE DOWN THAT IMAGE OF VETTEL’S GRID GIRL FROM KOREA….. ITS GOING TO RUIN MY MARRAIGE!!!

    AGGGHHHHHH ;-)

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