Posted on November 5, 2013
Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 17.46.52
The Strategy Report

Although Sebastian Vettel made a mistake in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his rivals were not able to press home their advantage and control him on race day, as he took the lead at the start from team-mate Mark Webber.

Any chance of his rivals being able to work with strategy to prevent Vettel from taking his seventh consecutive victory went out of the window there. Vettel was able to pull out a lead and preserve the tyres at the same time in the opening stint and then, because he had not used the medium tyres at all in qualifying, he was able to do two stints on new medium tyres in the race.

But behind the top three battle there were some interesting strategy plays and we will focus on these in this UBS Race Strategy report.


Pre-Race Expectations

Before the race, based on Friday evening practice running, it seemed that the soft tyre was blistering and degrading as it had in India, but not as quickly as at the Buddh International Circuit. Also it had proved to be 1.5 seconds per lap faster than the medium – twice the margin of India. This was significant.

It meant that it was essential to run it in the final qualifying session and thus for the top ten cars to start the race on it. However some runners outside the top ten would be likely to start the race on the medium and run a long first stint.

The soft tyre performance degraded at five times the rate of the medium. The key to the strategy then, as in India, would be how hard far one could go on the soft tyre before the first stop?

And if stopping early brought your car out into traffic behind medium tyre runners, how hard would it be to overtake?

In India it had proved very easy – so Vettel had come through the field quickly after his first stop from 17th place. In Abu Dhabi some runners got caught behind Adrian Sutil on medium tyres and this had a bearing on the outcome of the race.

Another variable in Abu Dhabi strategy is the temperature. Whereas India had been very stable with temperatures staying constant throughout the race, in Abu Dhabi the day-to-night race means that the track temperature drops by over 10 degrees as the race goes on. This makes it easier to get the tyres to last in the final third of the race, but it means that the strategists have to adapt to the changing conditions, so there are no fixed plans.


Strategy gets results: Sutil, Di Resta and Grosjean’s races

Before the race, there were predictions that a number of drivers would try a one stop strategy. In the end a few did try it, but only two drivers pulled it off; Force India’s drivers Paul di Resta, who finished 6th from 11th on the grid and Adrian Sutil who went from 17th to 10th.

Force India found that the soft tyre was working really well in the race and they exploited that to get their result, playing to the strengths of their car. They were surprised more people didn’t try to do the same.

Most of the first stint stop laps for the cars on soft tyres were earlier than expected, around laps 7-10.

Only Di Resta, Vergne and the two Ferraris did a long run on the soft tyre in the first stint, but the others did not explore what the soft might do over 15-18 laps.

Five drivers started the race on the medium tyre: Jenson Button, Esteban Gutierrez, Adrian Sutil, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

Sutil managed to get to lap 28 before making his only stop of the race. He then ran a 27 lap stint on softs to the finish.

He became the barrier in the first stint, holding cars up behind him between laps 17 and 25 and this opened the field up.

A few laps earlier it was Paul di Resta and Jean Eric Vergne – running a long opening stint on the soft tyre – who provided a barrier, holding up cars like Webber, Rosberg and Grosjean that had pitted early. Di Resta was getting the same lap time out of used soft tyres that Rosberg was getting from new mediums.

Unlike India, overtaking was proving tough. Webber and Rosberg eventually got through, although this was where Webber passed Rosberg for second place as they came up to pass Di Resta. But Grosjean lost time behind Vergne.

After they pitted, Sutil continued on, Grosjean eventually passing him. But this had damaged Grosjean’s strategy as he’d pitted early and had been looking to do an aggressive two stop strategy to challenge Webber and Rosberg.

Lotus didn’t need to stop Grosjean for tyre degradation reasons on lap eight. They did it to try to jump Webber, but also to consolidate their fourth place. Webber and Red Bull saw it coming and pitted on the same lap. Grosjean then just needed to do the same strategy as the others around him to achieve that fourth place result.

Webber was in trouble on the tyres in the first stint, he struggles to feel the car on worn soft tyres, by his own admission. By running a lap or two longer, while Webber moved onto the slower medium tyres, Grosjean might have jumped him. But there was a significant risk from behind; Hamilton was coming through on new mediums and might well have got ahead.

Having lost time, Grosjean wasn’t close enough to Webber and Rosberg around the time of the second stops to try an undercut.

Meanwhile Sutil continued to hold up Lewis Hamilton, with Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso also in the train, which affected thieir races.

It was nicely done by Force India. By controlling the two strategies, Force India gained track position over teams that started ahead of them and in Sauber’s case they are direct rival in the championship. They had the bases covered in case of a safety car and took their opportunity to get both cars in the points, beating several cars that started in front of them.


Ferrari – did they let the drivers race this time?

Abu Dhabi has never been a happy place for Ferrari strategy wise. They lost a world championship there on a bad call in 2010. And this year wasn’t easy for them. In the opening half of Sunday’s race, it seems that Ferrari were letting their drivers race each other. Massa got the initiative at the start and headed his team-mate Alonso for the opening stint and maintained that in the second stint.

But the second half of the race saw a change; Ferrari made two odd calls in the second round of stops. First they put Massa onto medium tyres when he pitted on lap 38, which had been proven to be slower than the softs. And as Massa had done an 18 lap first stint on them, then getting them through 17 laps to the end from his second stop on a cooling track should have been easy – and faster. As the leader on the track, Massa had stop preference. He went for a stop on lap 38.

This seems too early; his lap times didn’t indicate that he needed to pit, so there was nothing to indicate that the tyres were going off. It gives the appearance of Ferrari deciding that Alonso had more pace. After he got clear of Sutil and Hamilton he caught Massa very quickly and this may have persuaded Ferrari that he had good underlying pace and was the better bet to score points if freed up. After giving Massa two stints in front it looks like Alonso was set free at this point. Alonso’s fuel corrected pace was much better.

Massa has since questioned the decision to put him onto mediums as he didn’t have the speed to pass Vergne in the Toro Rosso, who held him back. Massa thought it obvious he would put softs on at this stop and didn’t mention it on the radio before pitting because he thought that is what they would give him.

Alonso went longer because he needed to do something different to beat his team-mate. But Ferrari may have also gone too early on Alonso’s second stop, which led to the controversial incident where he came out of the pits alongside Vergne and Massa and passed Vergne by going off track.

Vergne was trying to do a one stop and his tyres were really struggling by this point, lap 44. If Alonso had stayed out one more lap he would have easily come out ahead of Vergne and none of the drama would have occured.

Vergne, incidentally, had been trying to do a one stop strategy. He ran a long first stint preserving the tyres and then needed to do 38 laps on the mediums. But he ran out of tyre performance in the last seven laps. Di Resta managed it because he was able to go three laps further in the opening stint.

Vergne was racing Sutil and Perez for the final points positions, but they passed him with seven laps to go. In retrospect, with the problems Button and Ricciardo suffered early on, Vergne might have been better off doing a normal two stop plan and pushing flat out all race. He might have beaten Sutil to a point.


The UBS Race Strategy Report is prepared by James Allen, with input and data from several F1 teams, from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan and from Pirelli

TYRE STRATEGIES, ABU DHABI

Vettel SU MN (14) MN (37)
Webber SU MN (8) MN (33)
Rosberg SU MN (10) MN (33)
Grosjean SU MN (8) MN (37)
Alonso SU MN (16) SU (44)
Di Resta SU MN (20)
Hamilton SU MN (7) MN (29)
Massa SU MN (18) MN (38)
Perez SU MN (6) MN (27)
Sutil MN SN (28)

Maldonado SN MN (5) MN (25)
Button MN SN (2) MN (11)
Gutierrez MN SN(18) MN (30)
Hulkenberg SU; MN (9) MN (27)
Bottas MN MN (24) SN (45)
Ricciardo SU MN (7) MN (28)
Vergne SN MN (17) MN (51)
Van der Garde SN MN (7) MN (33)
Pic SN MN (8) MN (32)
Bianchi SN MN (5) MN (31)
Chilton SN MN(6) MN (32)

S = Soft
M = Medium
N = New
U = Used

RACE HISTORY CHART
Kindly Supplied by Williams F1 Team

Note the train of cars behind Sutil (brown dotted line) from laps 23 to 27 and how it opens up the field.

Note also how quickly Alonso catches Massa in the second stint once he is clear of Hamilton.

Look also at Vettel’s pace in the opening lap as he clears the rest of the field and yet does not suffer a drop off in performance over a 14 lap stint.

Did Ferrari allow their drivers to race? and other strategy stories – analysis
80 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Irish Con
        Date: November 5th, 2013 @ 7:05 pm 

    My question is how come the Ferrari with not so good traction can overtake probably easier than any other car this year? Like look at hamilton lately. He can overtake anything and the merc has great traction. It can’t be as simple as the Ferrari has great straight line speed an Kers can it and the merc is too draggy ?

    [Reply]

    Clarks4WheelDrift Reply:

    I wouldn’t say the Ferrari has not so good traction – it has great traction, take a look at Alonso’s starts this year. A few of Alonso’s overtakes have been possible through his positioning and racecraft as well, particularly in the opening laps.

    Hamilton’s Merc seems to be one of the worst at killing it’s tyres when following other cars in dirty air. Hamilton himself has been following more cars that Rosberg recently and never seems to get a decent undercut advantage, sometimes because he is behind Rosberg.

    Hamilton’s recent weakness to me is his defending, particularly on the first lap where he seems to either go for a move or get affected more than any other front runner by the concertina effect of the cars infront. He either gets himself stuck on the inside line or has to lift slightly to avoid a car infront, then he gets mugged round the outside or down the next straight. Hamilton also makes it worse by appearing so down and baffled in post race intervews recently.

    Good analysis, amazing to see the graph showing just how bad the Caterham and Marussias are, plus Vergne’s tyre cliff drop-off at the end of the race.

    [Reply]

    MISTER Reply:

    It’s a huge difference between traction at the start on straight line and from a standing start and traction coming out of a corner at 100mph or 150mph.
    Please don’t confuse the two.

    [Reply]

    Richard Reply:

    That is something what I’ve been asking myself too, why is it that the Ferrari have great starts but are often pretty bad comming out of the slow corners.

    -Something Mark Gillan needs to get his hands on!

    [Reply]

    Yak Reply:

    One thing though. In I think quali at Singapore, there was a shot of Massa going sideways out of a slow corner right out to the wall, and Brundle was all, “Oh look, Ferrari are still having problems with the crazy rear end.” But the in-car shot showed Massa putting the boot in with a crap load of lock on. Not really sure what he was expecting to happen. Webber’s shown on plenty of occasions that even the Red Bull will fly out sideways if you just mash the throttle on too soon.


  2.   2. Posted By: Chester
        Date: November 5th, 2013 @ 8:05 pm 

    So if I read this correctly, it was Sutil that ruined Hamilton’s race. That damn Sutil again!

    Isn’t it time Mercedes spent some time and money on teaching Lewis how to overtake. His performance over the last few races has become an embarrassment to the nation!

    [Reply]

    K Reply:

    I think Hamilton is overrated but these kind of opinions baffle me really because he has not been doing anything different than his entire F1 career which is: one of the best at qualifying, has some great races every season but most of the time he is average in the race because he lacks consistency.

    I smirk when people say Vettel has to prove himself against drivers like Hamilton in the same car because Hamilton was beaten by Button and matched by Rosberg. SO it is hqamilton that has to prove himself against Vettel.

    Alonso also has not proven himself, he was being beaten by Trulli until he was fired by Flavio. All we know is that Alonso and Hamilton are a match and they both were beaten by not so great drivers.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Both Hamilton and Alonso have tried to get in that Red Bull, to get that match-up. Says a lot, no?

    Button beat Hamilton once out of three seasons, when the title was out of reach for both.

    Record against WDC’s:

    HAM 3-1
    BUT 2-2
    MAS 2-5

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Forgot Rosberg and Webber in there!

    ROS 3-0 (2013 result pending)
    WEB 0-3

    Of course, Rosberg beat out an old Schumi 3x, much as Massa and Button each got one over a badly fading Villeneuve.

    Equin0x Reply:

    Badly fading Villeneuve? Reminds me of Hamilton tbh. Both started their rookie season in the fastest car and challenged for the title with both winning 4 races and ended the season as runners up, then both of them wins the title in their 2nd season in dramatic fashion on the last day of the season. But then the decline starts and that ‘fading’ you’re talking about happens gradually to both of them, if Hamilton keeps following in Villeneuve’s footsteps he will be kicked out of Brackley next year if keeps getting beaten by his team mates then the slippery slope downwards will happen quick and everyone realised the early promises he showed was actually down to the top team at the time giving him the title and another similarity is that both drivers got way too greedy left their nestcand joined Brackley where they found out the grass wasn’t greener on the other side, the only saviour for Hamilton not to repeat a complete mirror of Jacque’s career is if Brackley can do what they couldn’t do for Jacques and produce a dominant car next year and beyond, but with every passing season its looking more bleak.

    Tim Reply:

    @Equinox
    Badly fading Villeneuve? Reminds me of Hamilton tbh…….

    You aren’t really comparing apples with apples.
    Are you honestly suggesting that Villeneuve versus Hill is the same as Hamilton versus Alonso? Alonso was a 2x WDC when he came to McLaren. Hill is pleasant enough and a decent driver, but if you think he is an equal to Alonso, then I guess we have very different opinions on the matter and will have to agree to disagree.

    Equin0x Reply:

    Well Tim I wasn’t talking about Alonso or Hill! I was talking about how Hamilton has followed Villeneuve’s career path down to the tee! As I already said if Rosberg can finish this season matching Hamilton and next year beat Hamilton clearly like Button did to Hamilton in 2011 then you still think Hamilton’s seat is secure? Would Merc be willing to pay 20+ million euros a year for a driver that gets beaten by a driver thats been paid half the amount? Also I know Lewis is a good driver but there’s no doubt the signs of fading are there and quite rapid, this slippery slope is getting dangerous for his career and if Merc ditched him I doubt a top team would sign him up, maybe Williams would be his next stop? Can you imagine that???

    KRB Reply:

    Down to a tee?!? Equinox, what you’ve done is akin to writing out a 1st draft of an essay/biz plan/etc and thinking it’s perfect from the get-go. Perhaps invest some time critiquing your own opinions before posting, instead of thinking any thought that comes into your head is fully formed. I’m guessing the 4 wins in their debut years clinched it for you? Pfft.

    After Villeneuve left (read ‘was booted out’) of Williams, he never won again, never won pole again, and only scored a total of 2 podiums, and 22 points finishes, over 8 seasons!

    By contrast, since the Red Bull era (2010-), Hamilton has 11 wins (joint 2nd with ALO behind VET), 27 podiums (4th in that time period, behind VET-ALO-WEB), 14 poles (2nd behind VET), and 60 points finishes (4th behind ALO67-VET66-WEB63).

    Yeah, down to a tee!

    Again, a little self-critiquing before posting would leave you less open from critiques from others. Some friendly advice.

    Tim Reply:

    @equinox
    This particular thread was talking about drivers proving themselves against their team mates . As you replied, it seemed reasonable to assume you were sticking to the subject in question. In hindsight, I guess it should have been obvious that you were just taking the opportunity to have a dig at Hamilton (again).

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes we are getting bored of the bashing now, from this and other posters

    Time for a crackdown

    Please keep the standard of posts high! – Mod

    Erik Reply:

    I would say any driver who beat Schumacher to two world titles knows exactly what he’s doing.. Alonso has done some amazing things in an F1 car.

    [Reply]

    Equin0x Reply:

    Hakkinen actually beat Schumacher to 2 WDC, Alonso in 2005 and 2006 raced a Schumacher not in his prime, then you could say that Vettel beat Schumacher to te title in 2010, 2011 and 2012… i know it doesn’t make sense.

    Darren Reply:

    I don’t know why people always say Schumacher was not in his prime in 05/06. The Ferrari was poor in 05 but he still dragged some amazing performances out of it. In 06 he was absolutely in his prime, a few reliability issues and bits of bad luck (he had plenty of good luck) early in the season seet him back but he was mighty towards the end of the season to put himself back in contention. Alonso won by default in 05 because Kimis Mclaren wouldnt stay in one piece but he was a deserved champion in 06.

    Erik Reply:

    Still, I wouldn’t take it away from Alonso. In his prime or not, Schumacher had the richest team, with the best engineering group, and the most powerfull people built specifically arround him at Ferrari in those days. Alonso beat that twice so I wouldn’t say he hasn’t proven himself.

    KRB Reply:

    Equinox, Schumi had a broken leg in 1999! Not too hard for Hakkinen to beat him when he misses 6 races!! Hakkinen went into the last race trailing Irvine, for chrissakes!

    Pretty important piece of info to leave out, no? Like SteveS saying Williams finished 1-2 in the DWC in 1997, awhile back.

    Lewis Hamilton almost won the title in his rookie year, with the reigning 2xDWC as his teammate, in a car that wasn’t even in the top 10 of the WCC!!!

    Guess that statement above is fair game, eh? Still remarkable to read that sentence, and see that the first two clauses of it hold.

    Back to the original point, in 2005 Schumi didn’t have the car, and while Kimi had the fastest car, it wasn’t the best car … Alonso had that. In 2006 it was much more even between them. Alonso can only beat Schumi circa ’06 … he can’t ask for the 2000 vintage.

    Ricardo Reply:

    Alonso was also beaten by Tarso Marques in his first year at Minardi and it was Marques got the axe with 3 races to go on the season. Is there a pattern here?

    [Reply]

    Spinodontosaurus Reply:

    Alonso was on another planet to Marcques… but when you drive a Minardi that can’t score any points, championship position is determined by best finishing position.

    The driver that has the most to prove (as in, nothing) is Raikkonen; his strongest team mate was Montoya which, whilst Raikkonen tended to be the stronger driver, was no where near as one-sided as is often portrayed.
    Kimi struggled against Heidfeld (who Webber would beat a few seasons later), Massa, Grosjean in qualifying and he took a full season to get on top of Coulthard (who Webber would later trounce).

    Of course anyone seriously claiming Raikkonen – or any of the top 4 drivers (plus Button, Webber, Rosberg etc.) for that matter – is an un-proven entity and thus can’t be judged, is kidding themselves.

    Tim Reply:

    You made a similar comment on another article. I will ask you the same question that you declined to answer. Do you imagine that you know more about the drivers qualities/abilities than the team principals? In both cases, Lewis and Fernando’s services were secured by their respective teams at considerable cost. Now why would these TP’s (who obviously know a great deal more than you or I) do that?
    Your view of drivers, judging by your posts, are very simplistic and glib. For instance, why did Ron Dennis choose to put Lewis in a McLaren as a rookie? At the time, he could have had almost any driver he wanted and yet he decided to give Lewis a chance. Why did Ferrari want Fernando despite what he tried to do to McLaren and his involvement in Singaporgate – how highly must McLaren rate him to want him back despite all that has gone before?

    [Reply]

    Rockie Reply:

    To be honest both teams were stupid by the results produced by the drivers if you can get Vettel and Webber for almost the same retainer paid for either Alonso and Hamilton and use the balance to shore up Newey then you can understand how stupid both teams and the thought of paying then that sounds.
    Mclaren are desperate and are trying to destabilize Ferrari further now if I was a team owner and had all the resources Vettel would be the driver I would pick Alonso has shown us that without a fast car he cant win the WDC

    Tim Reply:

    Alonso has shown us that without a fast car he cant win the WDC…

    And Vettel can? Ha ha good one.
    I know you are a fan, but a little objectivity would be helpful. You even accept in your post that Newey is a vital part of Vettels success. No doubt Vettel is an extremely good driver but he ain’t 0.8 seconds/lap faster than the other top drivers all on his own.


  3.   3. Posted By: Curro
        Date: November 5th, 2013 @ 8:11 pm 

    Regardless of the team strategy, the fact Massa didn’t confirm on the radio the tyres he wanted shows his brain is not as “on” as Alonso’s.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Of course, it has to be Massa’s fault doesn’t it?

    [Reply]

    Sri Reply:

    OR in other words, what he and many others thought was so obvious and need not be mentioned was missed by Ferrari strategy team. So I wonder whose brain was actually missing.

    [Reply]

    Curro Reply:

    Real top drivers are more forceful over the radio in those situations. Massa has acknowledged he took softs for granted prior to the pitstop, but he didn’t make sure he got them.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Of course…

    Fan Reply:

    Come on… so you are blaming him for not anticipating that his team would try screw him over?

    [Reply]

    Tim Reply:

    They have been screwing him over since 2010, you might think he would heave learned to anticipate it by now ;-)

    [Reply]

    Hiten Reply:

    His pitstop was slower too. No prizes for guessing why.

    Clarks4WheelDrift Reply:

    Wonder if Massa could have made the softs last from 38 till the end.

    Alonso’s lasted from 44 till the end and he was really punishing them with fastest laps and overtakes.

    A few more teams may now be tempted with the Soft/Medium/Soft type strategy as Alonso did, instead of the old faithful Soft/Med/Med. His last set of softs worked well on a lighter car.

    [Reply]

    Nathhulal Reply:

    Please read the article before commenting. Massa made softs last for 18 laps in his first stint and track temperature was ten degrees warmer and hence not conducive to soft tyres.
    With temperatures falling, soft tyres were handling better, so it is pretty obvious that managing those tyres for 17 laps was an easier task, as his teammate demonstrated. The fastest laps that Alonso was putting at the end was a combination of lower track temperature, hence less blistering of tyres and lower fuel load.

    It is pretty obvious, that like always Ferrari short changed Massa even in this race.
    Passing fact – His pit stops were longer as compared to his team mates. In fact, the second one was full second longer than Alonso’s

    Slower pit stop for Massa is nothing new as well after he had shown he was competitive in the 2010 season. For most races in first half of 2011 Ferrari butter fingered his pit stops.

    Ferrari and their #1 driver policy is their own enemy, since they are never able to get optimum results from both their cars, and hence always fall short on the constructors championship.

    They should stop their obsession with #1 driver.

    [Reply]

    AB Reply:

    Your comment appears to suggest that the team dogmatically and slavishly follows a #1 driver policy even if it’s not in the best interests of the team. Ferrari are fighting for 2nd place in the constructors championship this year, and they’ve hired a former WDC next year to ensure greater point scoring consistency in both cars. Favouring Alonso in this race would be a rather stupid shot in the foot and a direct contradiction of their stated aims and policy for the team moving forward. And while we’re at it, Felipe is not Reubens. Massa and Alonso are buddies. Alonso says he’s his best friend in the paddock. If Massa has been the systematic victim of bias, how come the drivers share so much affection for one another? Ok, Massa has had to give way a couple of times, and he wasn’t happy about it. But he’s also stated for the record that Fernando Alonso is the best team mate he’s ever had. And he’s had some pretty illustrious team mates.

    Sri Reply:

    I heard that their #1 driver policy began only in 1996. Perhaps the management is stuck in some time-warp mentality. Also after WDC has been decided, why not they pay more attention to WCC rather than propping up Alonso at the cost of the team? I think their brains have gone bonkers.

    Nathhulal Reply:

    Your comment appears to suggest that the team dogmatically and slavishly follows a #1 driver policy even if it’s not in the best interests of the team.
    >> Yesterday’s blatant cockup is for everybody judge. They are either dogmatic and mechanically follow driver preference policy or they really have some stupid people on the pit wall.

    I always been lap time application on while I watch the race and tweet real time and Ferrari bluff was pointed out by me several times since Alonso joined the team. Yesterday the end of first stint, I was so very hoping, that with WDC out of the way, Ferrari strategist let Massa run his own race and they will have two cars with maximum possible point haul, thus helping them take the fight to Mercedes for the second place. And I guess I spoke too early. The moment I saw the delayed pit stop and wrong tyre compound, I groaned and moaned. As a Ferrari fan it hurts to see the Italian team shooting themselves in the foot.

    2011, 12 was not much different. As much as I am not a big Massa fan, but close watch on the race strategy and it’s obvious the team left the Brazilian hung out to dry. Its just that with him ejected from the team, the Brazilian has been vocal about his concerns, till last year he just played a good soldier and played along.

    k5enny Reply:

    Remember Ferrari’s support of Eddie Irvine when he was CHALLENGING for the world title??

    –they came out for his pit stop with only 3 wheels??

    Ferrari dont support their number 2′s.

    I look forward to see how Alonso gets on there next year!

    [Reply]

    Elie Reply:

    How do you know he didn’t ?. The fact that he said the team made the wrong strategy after the race tells you- a it was their call.. F../do him over again.. Maybe someone else brain needs adjusting
    Does anyone really think they were going to help him beat Fernando – especially now he is leaving and openly stated he will only race for himself..Good luck Felipe I hope you end up with a good car next year where you get out the way for no one !!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: JSpeed
        Date: November 5th, 2013 @ 8:42 pm 

    But, what does mean? Ferrari team did want to put Alonso in front of Massa? Because if it was otherwise, Massa would finish in the same position as Alonso with the spaniard behind. For the WCC doesn’t matter which one is in front, the points are the same. So, the intention is put Alonso in front?

    [Reply]

    Horoldo Reply:

    Alonso hasn’t secured 2nd spot yet.

    [Reply]

    Yago Reply:

    Massa could not have done what Alonso did. He was loosing so much time to Hamilton during the last laps of his second stint. He just didn’t have the peace to keep pushing with those tyres until it was worth fitting the softs to do 10 final laps on the limit. Even more, he was compromising the team result because he was holding off Alonso, 8 more laps like that and overtaking Hamilton at the end was not a given.

    The best strategy for Massa at that time was pitting him when Ferrari did, but maybe fit soft tyres instead of hards, which is what James Allen says. But I believe it is not that clear soft gyres was the best thing to do with so many laps to go. Maybe with hindsight.

    Actually, I think the best thing to do would have been to pit Massa right after Hamilton, covering him. That way he would have ended in front of him. But there is no way he would have beaten Alonso, the speed difference with the hard tyres was too big between the two, Alonso beat him due to an amazing second stint.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Bruno
        Date: November 5th, 2013 @ 9:15 pm 

    Put the mediums on Felipe’s car was an unforgivable move by the team! Felipe gave an interview saying that he believes the team not made it on purpose, but in the depth, he knows they does everything to benefit the Crying Alonso! Just unacceptable…

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Sebee
        Date: November 5th, 2013 @ 9:50 pm 

    Dude: “Martin, did you see the bit about Perfect Lap on JAonF1 last week?”

    Martin: “Yeah. Let’s do one too. Go get the HD cam off Perez’s car hoop and shoot some video. Fire up FCP and get this out there ASAP.”

    Dude: “You want me to shoot you in this suit and tie?”

    Martin: “Yeah. And be sure that Jenson tucks his shirt into his pants. Remember, I get at least 5x the screen time of Jenson. What does he know about a perfect lap anyway?”

    Dude: “You sure you want us to do a Perfect Lap video in 2013?”

    Martin: “Yeah, can’t let James have all the fun. Throw in some CGI stuff in there to top his thingy-ma-blog.”

    Dude: “On it Boss!”

    :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J4QPVNtWko

    [Reply]

    Cedgy Reply:

    Yes except the guy featured in your video isn’t Martin brundle but James Allen himself!

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Also featured is Martin Whitmarsh. ;-)

    All these video productions from F1 teams lately. I think they like us.

    [Reply]

    Athlander Reply:

    The Martin he’s referring to is Martin Whitmarsh, not Martin Brundle.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: alexbookoo
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 12:20 am 

    By the middle of the race Massa had overtaken all his direct competitors. He wasn’t realistically going to be able to beat Grojean with a one-stop, because on much newer tyres Grojean would easily have got past, even if he had come out of the pits behind Massa (which he didn’t anyway). So once Massa had passed Hamilton and gone off a bit down the road why didn’t they switch him on to Hamilton’s strategy and maintain track position ahead of him? Sure, Massa would have had to get past Di Resta, but so did Alonso and Hamilton and Massa ended up behind all of them.

    [Reply]

    Yago Reply:

    Yes agree. With hindsight it was a mistake not to pit massa right after Hamilton, covering him. However maybe one lap after was too late, I do not remember well the gap between them when Hamilton pitted.

    [Reply]

    alexbookoo Reply:

    I think Massa’s gap back to Hamilton was quite reasonable, because Hamilton was still stuck behind Sutil for a bit after Massa got past. It’s what I thought they should do at the time, anyway. It seemed clear at that point that Massa wasn’t going to gain any more positions by doing a one stop – Grojean was too far ahead. So Ferrari’s concern should have been to consolidate the position Massa had earned on the track, especially as he was in front of a Mercedes, who they’re fighting in the constructors. But I suppose they were trying to do their one stop… and maybe they were worried about other one-stoppers. But they were wrong.

    [Reply]

    Yago Reply:

    Actually Pat Fry says in Ferrari web page that they commited to a two stop strategy quite early on, telling the drivers to go flat out with the hard tyres. So the mistake is hard to understand, more so when Massa was holding off Alonso at the end of the stint, who was going much faster.


  8.   8. Posted By: Richard C
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 1:12 am 

    Vettel’s first stint defies logic!! How can this be? How much further could he have gone on the options? My goodness, he is good.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Prashant P
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 3:20 am 

    A Sutil-like strategy is often adopted by teams in the middle of the pack. Trouble is it often results in a slower car on worn out tyres holding other cars up.

    I understand that DRS, etc was brought in to help the “racing” aspect of the sport. And with any such gaming, there are going to be pros and cons.

    But the scenario where a car which has deliberately chosen a go slow strategy is holding other cars up does not I think look good for F1.

    Not sure what they can do about this given the current variables. DRS, etc are not helping cars behind get past. Not really fair for following cars to then burn up their tyres and strategy because they got stuck. It is fine by me for a Sutil-like strategy to be adopted, but not at such a high price for other cars following.

    And all of this takes away from more interesting battles towards the end of the races because teams have had to pivot to a different strategy.

    [Reply]

    Daniel Spiller Reply:

    “But the scenario where a car which has deliberately chosen a go slow strategy is holding other cars up does not I think look good for F1.”

    Did you not watch F1 during the refuelling era where cars may chose to load up with more fuel (and run longer stints) to gain track position even though their car would be slower???

    [Reply]

    Stig Reply:

    I do not think, that Sutil mattered in any case. Take Sutil away, you can see the possible pace with looking at Massa. Hamilton will still come out behind Di Resta in the end.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Hutch
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 7:46 am 

    Vettel’s line is what domination looks like. Incredible.

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Warren G
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 7:58 am 

    Vettel’s line nearly needs its own graph, it’s so high above the others, wow! But then how does he get beaten in quali? Or how does anyone even come close?

    [Reply]

    Kit Reply:

    Not only it is high up. It’s much flatter than the rest. Demonstrates his consistency in pushing the car to the max while not killing the tyres at the same time.
    True fusion of man and machine, if you ask me.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: @Damien_Marquez (grandprixadvisor.com)
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 9:20 am 

    Vergne’s curb on the graph perfectly illustrate the ‘cliff’ as referred so often when talking about the Pirelli F1 tyre performance.

    [Reply]

    RodgerT Reply:

    Vettel’s curve actually goes up indicating faster laps throughout his stints. Webber and Grojeans curves stay pretty flat which looks like driving to deltas.

    Last years and this years tires haven’t really had the cliff that the 2011 tire had.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Tim Brailli
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 9:48 am 

    Stratergy this, stratergy that, the truth is, its all getting a big bore unless it rains. I used to be exhausted after watching a GP due to the nerves of seeing risks being taken and anticipating something unexpected.

    In the past I would not go out on a Sunday if there was a GP on. Now I will happily record and after the frist 5 laps will watch it at x6 speed.

    Touring Cars and Ginetta racing so much more entertaining.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    There are many dimensions to F1; the racing, the strategy, the engineering, the money, the politics.

    That’s why this site, which provides insight into a range of these topics, has 1.8 million active users around the world

    F1 is not just wheel to wheel racing and that’s what a lot of people appreciate

    There’s not much more to Ginetta racing than some Ginettas racing…

    [Reply]

    MISTER Reply:

    James, I also share Tim’s opinion, unfortunately.
    After the start it gets boring. More than ever, it seems that out of 22 drivers, only 3-4 are racing each other for couple of laps in a race. Everybody else is doing its own race and managing the freaking tyres. The reability factor is no longer in play, as the cars are not pushed to the limit, but to the limit of the tyres minus 5-10% just to be safe.

    There’s the occasional driver like Vergne in Abu Dhabi and Kimi in India who tries to psuh the tyres a bit more and hits the cliff. But other than that, it’s fairly predictible.

    I do love the politics and the strategies, but the racing should be the “cherry on the cake” in a weekend and many times now has become the dissapointing factor.

    Vettel winning is not one of the reasons in my view, as for the last 3-4 races I was actually fine with the idea of Seb winning, but was looking for a close battle between the Mercs, Lotus & Ferrari and Torro Rosso, Force India & Sauber. I was quite dissapointed by the outcome.

    In India I believe McLaren told Perez that Vettel is coming at him and not to race him but manage his tyres. I’m fine with that, as Vettel would’ve passed Perez anyway, but the fact that they need to tell him over and over again like every other team to look after tyres is a joke.

    I will actually try and count how many times in a race the commentators are mentioning the word “tyres” and how many times “strategy” and “racing” is mentioned.

    Another riddiculous thing is when Merc told Lewis to “push” in a recent race as he was aproaching his schedulled pit stop and his answer was “I am pushing man”. This tells me that Lewis was already out of tyres if he couldn’t have gone any faster when told to push. Riddiculous!

    [Reply]

    Tony Reply:

    Hey! Lay off the Ginetta series. Like most single make series it is all about the drivers and teams – it is a number of drivers competing with the same equipment to see who is the best – it is ALL about strategy and driver ability. This is something it appears many supposed fans of F1 seem to want when you read their comments here.
    Single make racing, GT racing, TC racing and F1 racing are all very different. Personally I can’t say I prefer any one type over any other.

    [Reply]

    JCA Reply:

    James, do you think RoGro should have stayed out and tried the one stopper? Even if his tyres went off the cliff, he still would probably have gotten fourh.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not having stopped so early.

    Criss Reply:

    True,I watch F1 since 92 .It was always exciting when 2 or more top drivers fight for championship.The most recent I liked was 98 and 99 seasons,seeing Hakkinen and Schumacher racing was amazing.Now is very boring,nothing happens,everybody knows who is going to win.And passing only happens because a car has old tires and the other use DRS.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Also reliability used to be a big issue in the 80′s and 90′s, not so much now though, of course cars still break down, but nowhere near as much.

    [Reply]

    JCA Reply:

    We should see much more of that next year, with turbo’s and experimental ERS that have to last a long time. The current engines have been developments of the 3 litre v10s from the mid nineties, the very definition of mature technology.

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    True.
    I say, get rid of the rev limiters.
    Nothing sweeter than an engine lunching itself at full song ;)

    [Reply]

    Racehound Reply:

    sweet!!! makes me think of when I blew up my Pontiac 455HO just after Id put it back in the car!


  14.   14. Posted By: MR
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 11:12 am 

    Tyres, tyres, tyres……….that seems to be the answer to all the questions about Vettels performances. I wonder if the tolerances of the manufacturing consistency is all that precise and pre-determined? Surely one does still have a bad set of tyres even in F1.
    I would like to know more about the Gary Anderson expounded theory of the heated area at the front of the tea tray allowing RB to run different heights and rakes………… Are they heating this area through use of hot air from front brake ducts or perhaps the heat from the KERS capacitors? It is indeed lateral thinking as suggested by Gary. Do you have any further info on this James.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Andrew M
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 1:00 pm 

    Seems Lotus were too impatient with Grosjean, trying to jump Webber at the first stops. I think they could have at beaten Webber/Rosberg with a one stop, or at the very least been no worse off than they were, as Gary Anderson says.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: James Bond
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 2:50 pm 

    It’s easy to see that Massa would have finished P5 and Alonso P6 if team did put soft on the last stop. It seems that Ferrari did it on purpose. Even pit stop was 3,8 sec. Alonso’s was 2,7. Hope that Massa gets competitive car next season and smoke that Ferrari’s…

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: fox
        Date: November 6th, 2013 @ 6:24 pm 

    I don’t know what is going on there, but they got severe problems. How they could fail to fit tyres properly? Why Alonso got right tyre onto the left wheel?
    http://grandprix247.com/2013/11/06/pirelli-alonso-wasnt-able-to-win-for-a-number-of-reasons-and-not-because-of-tyres/

    Team must be restructured (starting from the principal) or Alonso should be released to more “common sense” team immediately.

    I am tired of their [Ferrari] mistakes in 2013.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Sebee
        Date: November 7th, 2013 @ 1:10 pm 

    Did you see? Massa thinks Alonso better than Schumi. I think everyone has an opinion on that one to share with Massa. Personally, I think I’m going to have to turn my back on Massa now.

    [Reply]

    German Samurai Reply:

    Please…

    From May 2012:
    **********************************
    Writing on his official website in response to questions from fans, Alonso said about Massa: “He’s one of the best drivers in the world, and he has shown it during his whole career.”
    **********************************

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    But better than Schumi? Not even a chance! What Schumi was doing in the Ferrari 96-99 was amazing.

    Also, there is a little matter of Schumi looking out for Massa, and backing him strongly in 2008. I’m actually offended he said this after the way Alonso has enforced his #1 status vs. how Schumi fought to pay Massa back. Is Massa having a Stockholm Syndrome moment with his Alonso view? :-)

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: German Samurai
        Date: November 10th, 2013 @ 2:01 pm 

    First race back from the broken leg in 99 he sticks it on pole a second ahead of Irvine in second place. Incredible he was.

    If Schumacher stayed at Benetton in the 90′s he could have won 5 or more straight since Benetton went from strength to strength with Schumacher. In 95 he didn’t have the best car yet still comfortably took the championship. 1994 should have been a cakewalk but he effectively lost 40 points from DQs and suspensions.

    Going to Ferrari he sacrificed championships during his best years. Could have stayed at Benetton, Ron Dennis made him an offer to drive the Newey McLaren late 90′s, I’m sure if he wanted to go to Williams at the end of 95 they wouldn’t have turned him down.

    [Reply]

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