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Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Mar 2014   |  5:38 pm GMT  |  200 comments

The Malaysian Grand Prix is the second round of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship and – from a reliability point of view – far more of a challenge for the teams than Melbourne.

The intense heat and humidity will stretch the cars’ cooling systems to the limit. With the new hybrid turbo power units and the powerful batteries in the Energy Recovery System, cooling is critical this year.

We may see several teams being forced to open the bodywork to improve cooling, which will hurt their aerodynamic performance and in some cases the stability of the cars in the corners. The 2014 cars have less rear end stability already than the 2013 cars due to the removal of the exhaust blown diffuser and one element of the rear wing.

The new tyres from Pirelli look pretty durable; the medium tyre showed very little degradation in Melbourne, although the rougher surface and higher cornering forces of Sepang will stress the tyres more, especially the front left.

The Sepang circuit is one of the first F1 venues to have been designed by architect Hermann Tilke and features his trademark long straights, hairpins and fast esses.

The start is always critical here; the distinctive first corner turns right and then left and always results in a big change of field order, with drivers winning and losing positions at the start of the race. Collisions like Alonso’s which broke his front wing last year, are common.

The circuit features a number of high energy corners. The first and third sectors of the lap at Sepang feature long straights and hairpin bends, while sector two has some medium and high speed corners, which load up the tyres.


Track characteristics – click on map to enlarge
Sepang International Circuit; 5.54 kilometres. Race distance: 56 laps = 310 kilometres, 15 corners in total, a mixture of slow, medium and fast

Aerodynamic setup – Medium/high downforce. Top speed 312km/h (with Drag Reduction System on rear wing) – 300km/h without.

Full throttle – 65% of the lap. Total fuel allowed for race distance: 100 kilos.

Time spent braking: 15% of the lap. 8 braking zones. Brake wear: Medium.
Total time needed for pit stop: 22 seconds.

The pit lane speed limit in Sepang is 100km/h, pit lane length is 425 metres.

Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried): 0.36 seconds (average/high)


Form Guide

This is the 16th running of the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. As far as drivers’ form is concerned; Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have both won the race three times, Kimi Raikkonen has won it twice, while Jenson Button has also won here. Alonso, Vettel and Felipe Massa all have two pole positions at Sepang. Button and Lewis Hamilton have one each. Hamilton and Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg are both looking for their first win in Malaysia.


Likely tyre performance and other considerations
Pirelli tyre choice for Sepang: Medium (Option) and Hard (Prime) – this is the same choice as for the last two seasons.

This year, with the greater demands of the powerful hybrid turbo engines, the Pirelli tyre compounds are all a step harder than in 2013. Despite this, Pirelli has once again chosen to bring the medium and hard tyres to Sepang, the hardest compounds in the range, to cope with the high temperatures, abrasive surface and faster corners.

Temperatures are also raised by the high wheel rotation speeds on the long straights. And with the high levels of torque this year, wheelspin is a problem under acceleration; this also damages the tyre.

The difference in performance between the two compounds should be between 1.3s and 1.5s per lap, which is a very significant gap.

Teams will want to establish this during Friday practice. With limits on engine mileage this year, as there are only 5 power units per driver for the 19 race championship, they will not get a complete picture from practice, so tyre models will be vital. As we saw in Melbourne, it is essential to know how long the optimum stint length is on each tyre, to have an attacking race strategy.

The data on the Medium tyre from Melbourne showed that the longest stint was 25 laps by Jenson Button’s McLaren. Sepang will present a far stiffer challenge.

Temperature is critical; Sepang experiences track temperatures of up to 45 degrees, some of the highest of the year, which is at the top end of the tyres’ operating range. The front left tyre is the most stressed at Sepang and can reach temperatures of 120 degrees centigrade. It is the fourth hardest track of the year on tyres (after Silverstone, Barcelona and Suzuka).


Number and likely timing of pit stops
The last two years have seen rain affected races, with multiple pit stops. If this year’s race is dry we can expect to see a two stop races, with teams using Medium-Medium-Hard as the preferred strategy. The performance gap between the two compounds is significant, so getting the right balance between an extra stop and a longer stint, losing time on the hard tyre will be vital.

From a strategy point of view a pit stop at Sepang is similar to Melbourne at 22 seconds. The long straights mean that the adjustable rear wing (DRS wing) is quite effective, making overtaking easy. So strategists can plan for the fastest race for their driver, without being concerned with losing time in traffic, unlike Melbourne, where it was very hard to overtake, even with a significant straight line speed advantage. On some laps, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen had a 36km/h advantage over Daniel Ricciardo, but still could not pass him. That will not be a problem in Sepang.


Weather Forecast

The forecast for the weekend is for temperatures of 32-34 degrees, thunderstorms and a 60% chance of rain on race day.

Rain can always affect the outcome at Sepang as it can come at any time and can be very intense. For the last two years the race has been affected by rain. In 2012 the race was delayed by heavy rain. There must always be a degree of flexibility built into race strategy when planning for Sepang.


Chance of a safety car
Despite the weather hazards, the chance of a safety car at Sepang is incredibly low, by F1 standards, at 14% over last 7 years and an average of 0.1 safety cars per race. Where a safety car has been deployed it’s usually been because of heavy rain, as in 2009.

Pit stop League table

A measure of the total time it took the team and driver to make their fastest stop, based on the car entering and leaving the pit lane. This measures the team effort, including the driver in getting the car into the pit box.

1. Ferrari -21.825s
2. Lotus – 22.264s
3. McLaren -22.273s
4. Red Bull – 22.427s
5. Force India – 22.497s
6. Marussia – 22.656s
7. Toro Rosso – 22.978s
8. Williams – 23.117s
9. Caterham – 23.238s
10. Mercedes 23.673s
11. Sauber 23.797s


Start League Table

An indication of trends of drivers gaining and losing places at the start. Where drivers have had first lap incidents which dropped them to the back of the field, they are not included above, but are detailed in the notes marked * below. This affects other drivers’ gains and adjustments are made for that, but the sample still shows prevailing trends of places won and lost at the start.

Gained positions

1. Bottas, Maldonado +5 places
2. Ericsson +4
3. Raikkonen +3
4. Rosberg, Hulkenberg +2
5. Magnussen, Chilton, Sutil +1

Maintained position

Ricciardo

Lost positions

1. Hamilton, Vettel – 3 places
2. Alonso, Button, Vergne, Kvyat -1 place

Melbourne Notes: Kobayashi, Massa eliminated in a first corner accident; Perez, Gutierrez pitted at the end of Lap 1; Bianchi, Grosjean started from pit lane.


The Race Strategy Briefing is prepared by James Allen on F1 with input from strategists from several F1 teams, from JA on F1 technical adviser Prof Mark Gillan and from Pirelli

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200 Comments
  1. Fernando Cruz says:

    I just hope Hamilton’s bad luck ends! In 2012 with McLaren he lost 3 wins through no fault of his own, last year Rosberg won in Silverstone after Lewis got a puncture and this year it was still the same driver to be unlucky!!! I hope Rosberg can also be unlucky sometimes. It would be a shame if we had a repeat of 1989, a year the title was decided by mechanical failures (Prost had one to Senna’s five). Then McLaren had by far the best car, now it seems it is Mercedes, even if the margin is not so big. Maybe Red Bull can challenge for the title once they find reliability. I also hope Williams can do great things this year, it would be fantastic! They had bad luck in Australia, so lets’ hope they can exploit all their potential in Malaysia…

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      If you go racing, as a driver you must accept you will have mechanical failures. Whether or not you deserve them is irrelevant; that’s just racing, when a driver and team are pushing the limit of technology you must accept sometimes mistakes will happen.
      As for Senna 1989, don’t forget he crashed into Berger at the 1st corner Brazil, so that was 9 points wasted, he also crashed into Our Nigel at Portugal – he should have let him go, as Nigel would have been disqualified anyway – and ran into the back of Martin Brundle at Adelaide. And then of course there was that certain collision with Mr Prost at Suzuka………
      Add all the lost points from accidents/collisions, and Senna could have been champion in 1989 – obviously Japan disqualification was a contentious issue, but still, if Senna hadn’t crashed into his rivals so often perhaps the championship would have been different that year.
      Still……….he made up for it in 1990 and 1991!

      1. aveli says:

        let’s get this bit right, did prost not deliberately crashed into senna at suzuka, senna recovered to win the race and the championship but politics took it away from him, ‘because he took a shortcut back onto the circuit while recovering?
        am not sure…

      2. James Allen says:

        The overhead shots of that incident would suggest otherwise..

      3. aveli says:

        hi James, before dvds, senna made a video about the incident in which he showed a slow motion overhead shots and prost did turn his steering wheel towards senna twice before they collided. senna needed finish in front of Prost to be champion so he had no reason to crash into prost. soon after the collision, prost removed his steering wheel and got out of the car without trying to restart and went to have a conversation with the then president of the fia, in french. senna showed his determination by getting back on track, chasing the race and winning it. he was aware of his superiority and simply wanted to convince the world, like hamilton. i remember hamilton saying he wanted to prove a point in austin 2012 after winning the race following an on the edge overstating manoeuvre of vettel for victory.

    2. SteveS says:

      Rosberg had far more car problems than Hamilton last year.

      1. Elie says:

        Rosberg did not have a car failure when he was in the comfortable lead of a GP and he in fact gained big time at Silverstone- as mr Cruz pointed out.

      2. NickH says:

        Not when leading a Grand Prix. Rosberg had most of his problems when down in 7th or 8th so he didn’t really lose anything anyway.

      3. KRB says:

        Rosberg retired while running 9th in China, with suspension problems; while running 9th in Hungary, when his engine blew; and while running 6th in Australia, with electrical problems.

        So while the quantity of car problems was higher, they were not so costly (12 pts in all). Hamilton’s puncture in Britain alone was more costly, as it pushed him from 25 pts down to 12, for a loss of 13 pts. Of course the main beneficiary of Hamilton’s puncture, in the end, was Rosberg, who gained 10 pts on his likely 3rd that day.

    3. KRB says:

      Senna had more than 5 … even if you’re just counting those up to Japan. His engine failed in Canada 3 laps from the end while in the lead (classified 7th). In Portugal while 2nd he was run into by Mansell, who had already been black-flagged but had chosen to ignore it.

      The only race he was properly beaten in that year was by Mansell in Hungary.

      Hamilton has had more than his share of costly retirements. If he retired while running in 9th it wouldn’t be so bad, but problems while leading (2012′s three) hurt.

      Like you I hope reliability isn’t the deciding factor for the title. That’s where the old scoring systems (e.g. best 11 results, or before that ‘best 5 of first 7 races; best 6 of last 8 races’) were better at trying to explicitly eliminate reliability misfortune as a deciding factor. Now with all results counting we are reduced to hoping that it will even itself out over the 19 races. It likely will, but y’never know. Certainly a better chance it will over 19 races than say 14-16.

    4. Red Rider says:

      I guess you’re a Hamilton fan. Just a guess.

    5. Liam in Sydney says:

      Rather than wish mechanical failure on Rosberg, wouldn’t it have been nicer to wish that Lewis receive a reliable car?

      1. JohnBt says:

        Agree +1

      2. Dazzler says:

        Well I’m a fan of British drivers Lewis & Jenson. I’m not afraid to admit that at risk of being called a fanboy.

        All drivers have had their share of retirements inc the Almighty Vettel but just noting the one’s Lewis has had when leading a GP make grim reading.

        I only hope that if Hamilton earns the pole position he has the opportunity to convert, unlike Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil 2012, Britain 2012, and Australia 2014.

        Someone on here tried to suggest that the Melbourne retirement was down to Lewis being too hard on his car. I had to laugh at that.

      3. aveli says:

        i agree with your point entirely. whatever happens is part of the drama.

      4. Goggomobil says:

        Should Lewis car encounter problems,one may revert to a life and times of Mark Webber at RBR,you see nothing beats a home cooking and in particular in Germany!

      5. Benalf says:

        Maybe, maybe Lewis will taste a little bit of the Dennis-Hamilton Sr. medicine they prescribed to Alonso in 2007….

      6. Purple Helmet says:

        What medicine would that be? As I recall, Alonso, fed up of being beaten by Hamilton, demanded that Dennis give him #1 status or he’d rat out McLaren to the FIA over its possession of Ferrari data. To his credit, Ron called the FIA himself and did not give in to shabby threats from Alonso. Alonso left and didn’t win much until his team-mate Piquet Jnr crashed in convenient circumstances bringing out a perfectly timed safety car – a crash later revealed to have been planned by the team. Is that the sort of medicine that you’d have preferred for Alonso?

    6. Gareth says:

      lets not forget in 1998 McLaren had a car 1 minute ahead of the field. It wont take long for the guys to catch up.

      1. Borislav says:

        Well, back in 1998 Ferrari could catch up with McLaren thanks to “political influence” – this didn’t happen before McLaren clever brake design was deemed illegal.

  2. Gaz Boy says:

    I get the impression the Malaysians may welcome this grand prix as a welcome distraction after (what has now been confirmed) the tragic events of the last few weeks.
    Whatever you views on the missing plane, it’s a been tough few weeks for the Malaysian authorities – not necessarily of their own making.

    1. NickH says:

      Not necessarily of their own making but it is well known that the Malaysian government/authorities aren’t exactly the finest in the world to put it kindly.

      1. JohnBt says:

        Did you read this article. Rather unfair.

        http://willthef1journo.wordpress.com/

      2. aveli says:

        i think they did a good job in dealing with issue. they didn’t mislead the people and only announced information which they were sure of. it’s just wasn’t a nice period of time for the relatives of the passengers.

      3. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Agree, Daniel could get a text message saying he’s disqualified this time…

      4. Purple Helmet says:

        Yes, and they’ll beat up his team and relatives when they complain about it

      5. cos says:

        …pot, kettle, black anyone?

      6. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Nick – that’s a good point about aviation safety in South-East Asia/the Far East.
        I know F1 has its own chartered aircraft, but netherless it does make you wonder should F1 being going to places where safety and security isn’t up to the standards of the western world. I know that sounds harsh, but perhaps F1 should have the majority of its races in the West, where standards are so much more advanced than some of the countries F1 currently goes to.

      7. Rocky says:

        Gaz Boy, Not everyhing in the Western world is necessarily of high standards, the word concorde springs to mind. Your stereotyping smacks of someone who’s less travelled! You’ll be in for quite a shock my ignorant friend!

      8. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Rocky: If the West is not as good as you think, then how come it was a British/Western firm with British/Western technology that has established that the Malasyian Plane crashed in the Indian Ocean? Why couldn’t the Chinese, the so called new super-power establish what happened before those westerners eh?
        I didn’t say the Western World is perfect, but I doubt a mass exodus from Australasia, North America and Europe to the East is going to happen any time soon – this accident has shown China lacks the technology to match that of the West.

      9. Dazzler says:

        What has Concorde got to do with low standards in the Western world ?

        Supersonic commercial in the 1970′s ?

        I would say its one of Europe greatest technological engineering achievements.

      10. NickH says:

        @ Rocky. Concorde was a brilliant aircraft that was stopped because it was way too expensive, all down to the load of fuel it needed compared to the Airbus and Boeing aircrafts. It was not unsafe at all, that one that blew up was because a metal strip was left on the runway and it pinged into the bulging fuel tanks causing the accident.

        Can’t remember what airport it was, but absolutely you do have a point in terms of the airport organisation/safety checks. Don’t have a dig at the beautiful Concorde though

      11. Robert says:

        Gaz, the only reason that a Chinese satellite didn’t gather the the information regarding the plane’s path was because the UK’s Inmarsat is CONTRACTED to receive that data stream from airborne planes, at least for Malaysian Air. No Chinese satellite would be tuned into their transmission randomly. I would not be surprised that Chinese airlines use Chinese satellites for their flight data reception. Inmarsat is just a telecoms relay in orbit, and China has build a bunch similar for their own domestic TV and telephone usage…

    2. All revved-up says:

      One of those very tough situations in life. Timing is poor. By the Chinese GP perhaps the loss may be less raw.

      For now I doubt anyone will enjoy the GP.

      But life should go on. And the show must go on.

      The timing is unfortunate. And criticism of the people who make up the government and relevant authorities in Asia at this juncture, seems rather heartless.

      It is the first time many are handling a crisis such as this, and yes by the standards of the US they may lack experience and effectiveness – but we shouldn’t allow sensationalistic “journalism” hide the truth that many civil servants that form part of government are working very hard and under tremendous pressure of time and scrutiny.

      Just my 5 cents worth. Back to F1 . . . I guess.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        RE All revved up: that is a very measured response to my post – thanks.
        Formula 1 is often accused of being myopic, but at times like this it can offer a small healing process. I did wonder if the Malaysians would cancel the GP this weekend, but as you rightly say the show, and life, must go on.

  3. goferet says:

    Okay it’s just as well that the teams did their testing in the hot environment of Bahrain otherwise, they would have been heading into a dark tunnel this weekend.

    Will be an interesting weekend as we may finally get the true peeking order of the first half of 2014 as we race on a conventional track.

    Thanks to Pirell for their more durable tyres in 2014 for with these new products, the drivers are no longer worried heading into the hotter areas and I suspect the gentle teams such as Lotus may have lost a little bit of their advantage strategy wise.

    As for the whole safety car occurrence, I guess that’s the whole point of all Tilkle tracks in that they’re designed with safety as the main goal.

    Anyway, lets see how it all plays out this weekend and I don’t mind if it’s wet or dry just as long as we have some action.

    1. Jota180 says:

      Bahrain was a good bit cooler than Sepang will be.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Good points, but remember Bahrain is a dry as bone desert, where as KL is a swampy jungle with very high humidity and a big chance of a downpour. Should be interesting!
      I think high humidity has a big influence on the aerodynamic efficiency and balance of a car – apparently cutting holes in the car to help with thermal discharge has the effect of reducing downforce. Also, the charge of the engine is reduced in muggy conditions as it can’t “breathe” properly.
      Perhaps a wet race will be a god send for the teams, because the cooling effects of the rain and slower lap times will help fuel consumption and cooling ability.
      I guess the teams are doing a race dance then!

      1. NickH says:

        You could be right, apart from Williams..they would take their chances on a bone dry track!

  4. BW says:

    When gear are suggested, is it last year’s experience or is it a forecast for new gearboxes?

  5. goferet says:

    Some Malaysia stats:

    Officially been racing since 1999

    a) Schumi 3 wins, Vettel 3 wins, Alonso 3 wins, Kimi 2 wins

    b) Ferrari 6 wins, Red Bull 3 wins, Mclaren 2 wins, Renault 2 wins

    c) The only back to back victors are Schumi & Vettel

    d) The only drivers to have won in different teams are Kimi and Alonso ~ both did so with Ferrari.

    e) The only number 2 drivers to have been victorious are Fisichella and Irvine >>> the last time a number 2 driver was successful was in 2006.

    f) With the track characteristics seemingly favouring Ferrari, the team hasn’t gone more than 3 seasons without a win.

    g) Whenever a number 1 driver has won from pole, he has also gone on to clinch the title e.g. 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013.

    h) With the exception of Vettel in 2010, whoever has beaten the pole sitter to the win hasn’t been able to win the title e.g. 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Irvine was gifted the win by Michael in 1999.
      Also worth noting the 2009 event was half points as the race had to be abandoned early due to the monsoon downpour which rendered the track more suited to powerboats.
      I’ve checked the weather report, and there is strong chances of equatorial storms drenching the circuit both Saturday and Sunday. Possible early race finish again?

      1. goferet says:

        @ Gaz Boy

        Blimey! Monsoons are no good for the fans for this can only mean red flags galore.

      2. NickH says:

        Of course there is rain predicted like there is every year at this race since they changed the start time a few years ago to satisfy European tv audiences, another inspired decision by the idiots who run F1. It is is literally a fact that there will be a monsoon at 5 o’clock every day in Kuala Lumpur at this time of year.

      3. Midnight Toper says:

        Except for the fact that we’re suffering the longest drought in history. It’s rained three times since the new year.

      4. Dren says:

        I agree, piss poor planning.

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        In all fairness, if you hold a race in the jungle lands of the equator, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you hold the race – the possibility of a downpour is always there – monsoon season or not. I remember the 2001 Mal GP, held afternoon local time was interrupted by a deluge.
        Likewise if you have a race in the desert lands of the Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn it will be bone dry as there is little moisture in that part of the world – which is why Bahrain and Abu Dhabi conditions are dry, hot and dusty.

    2. Glennb says:

      Great stats Goferet.
      I can see you’ll need to rewrite stat #e when HAM wins this weekend.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Glennb

        To be honest, with Lewis you can never be sure and that’s why am knocking on wood right now.

    3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Curiosity: When and only when Fernando has won at Malaysia or Bahrain, he has been on the title hunt till the end of the year. First chance to secure a title fight this weekend.

      1. C63 says:

        You maybe new, I am not sure. But you appear to be unfamiliar with the rules of this website.
        Goferet is in charge of these sort of stat’s/fun facts :-)

  6. goferet says:

    Fun fact

    The only 2 tracks on which Schumi raced for more than 7 years and yet failed to break the most wins record are Silverstone (Prost) and Monaco (Senna)

    As for Malaysia, if for fun’s sake we discount his uncompetitive years with Mercedes, this would mean, no driver has equalled or won more races than Schumi at any track he raced at for over 7 years >>> exceptions still being Silverstone and Monaco.

    P.s.

    Prost has the most wins at Brazil however, Schumi has the most wins at Interlagos.

    1. NickH says:

      The ’99 race was Schumi at his brilliant best. Back from a broken leg, the media all saying he’s not fit, so he puts it on pole by 1 second and then has to drive extremely slowly to hold up Hakkinen in order to help Irvine, and yet he still could have won easily. Astonishing. He had pretty much 2 seconds pace advantage over the whole field first race back after a broken leg

      1. goferet says:

        @ NickH

        And that’s what you call a true team player.

        We pray the same story happens in Schumi battle at the hospital.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        The irony about Michael breaking his leg is that having an enforced break during the summer of 1999 gave him a rest for a few months that gave him a chance to freshen up, refocus, and ultimately gave his career and motivation longevity that probably wouldn’t have lasted as long if he hadn’t broken his leg.
        By the way – get well Michael.

      3. James Allen says:

        I agree 100% with that

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        James, the same can be said, to a certain extent, about Niki Lauda, who walked away from F1 at the end of 1979 saying he lacked motivation and was bored, had a couple of years away, and came back to F1 at the beginning of 1982 (with Macca) refreshed, refocused, and virtually as good as new. He won two races in 1982, and a couple of years later won 1984 WDC.
        Prost was the same in 1993 after having the previous year as a rest year as well.
        Perhaps that is why the enforced four/five week summer break has come in, as it gives drivers a chance to re-charge, re fresh and re commit.

      5. Dave Aston says:

        I agree, I reckon that break changed his perspective. I think it cemented his trust in Todt too. His performance in Malaysia was awesome.

        At the time, I remember reading something about how the circuit was built with a layer of rubber insulation under the bitumen, and Trulli said that the method and conditions saw the surface sweat with a kind of permanent heat haze which he likened to driving in light rain.

      6. zombie says:

        ..and Hakkinen collapsed on the podium completely dehydrated , where as Schumi looked he was ready for another 60 lap race ! The man’s fitness was legendary . In the post race conference, Eddie Irvine famously said ” The guy is depressing! He is not just the best no.1 in the world, but also the best no.2 !”.

      7. NickH says:

        Haha yes, has to the best no.2 driver performance of all time. He couldn’t have done more to put it on a plate for Irvine. Literally ‘gift wrapped’. Keep fighting Michael

  7. CC says:

    Malaysia is entirely weather dependent. Even just a light shower could make qualifying or the race a complete lottery. However if – if – it is dry, expect normal service from Mercedes to resume, as they have a significant advantage.

    1. aveli says:

      rain is good for this season, the cars bunch up for closed quarters competition.

  8. Thanks, yet again for the insight into the sport. Commitment and passion for the sport is what keeps many fans themselves committed. Or at least has for some of us since the ’60′s. That said, the comment recently published and copied below, is at the least, “interesting”:

    Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz has warned that the energy drink manufacturer isn’t infinitely committed to Formula One, after Daniel Ricciardo was excluded from the Australian Grand Prix over disputed fuel flow sensor data.

    Speaking to Vienna-based publication Kurier, the Austrian billionaire admitted that Red Bull could leave the sport if it is no longer producing the desired results.

    1. Fernando "150%" Alonso says:

      Bon voyage!

      1. C63 says:

        Bye then. Oh, and excuse me Mr Mateschitz, please watch out for the door and take care it doesn’t hit you on the backside as you leave.

      2. peter schuster says:

        Hi, Where are the cameras on the red bull, cannot see them in any of the photos.

      3. C63 says:

        I am afraid I don’t quite follow you.

      4. Sebee says:

        Right….

        4 cars, 1 circuit, tons of money invested – poof, gone. End of marketing effort @ F1 for RBR.

        Now what does F1 do? Promote GP2 teams into F1?

        Trust me, F1 has plenty to lose if RBR leave. Consider that Renault customers are RBR, STR, Caterham(which recently declared if they are at the back they won’t continue) and, wait for it, Lotus. So basically you can be assured that sould Red Bull leave and pack up their 2 teams, also gone is an engine maker.

        An believe me C63, I will be fine if RBR leave. F1 on the other hand won’t be fine because I don’t see companies lining up around the corner to burn piles of cash at the feet of F1 Gods.

        Now here is what he also said:

        “Formula one should be again what it always has been: the ultimate discipline,” said Mateschitz

        “It is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, or so you can talk at a whisper during a race and the greatest thrill is the squealing of the tyres.

        “I consider it equally absurd that we are going a second slower than last year and that the junior series GP2 is almost as fast as formula one with a fraction of the budget,” he added.

      5. Dave Aston says:

        How can you bag him? He’s put a lot into motorsport, but his ego stays in the background. I wish there were more rich dudes like him involved.

      6. C63 says:

        @Sebee
        You seem very tense, perhaps a nice relaxing ear massage would help :-)
        Seriously though, you are kidding yourself if you think F1 would grind to a halt without the Red Bull teams. It would carry on just fine. F1 has been around for 60 odd years and was quite happy before Red Bull joined and it will be just as happy if they leave. Maybe even happier. Red Bull’s huge spending power has almost certainly discouraged new entrants, as they can’t afford to compete. If the cost of running an F1 team was reduced, that would benefit everyone, wouldn’t it? As for the circuit that Red Bull owns, so what? There are more circuits than available slots on the calendar and Bernie has to turn them away.
        One positive I take from DM’s moaning, is that Red Bull are not as confident of winning their appeal as Christian would have us all believe. If they were sure of their position then DM wouldn’t need to make threats of taking his ball away would he! Happy days :-)

      7. Sebee says:

        Love F1 discussions. EVERY point has a counter point. Truth is always in the middle.

        Look, RBR came into F1 skinny, and has worked up some muscles. Doesn’t hurt to flex them once in a while. And so they do.

        As for RBR spending power, has this been the case for 60 years you mention? I recall that for what seems like decades we were complaining about what Ferrari was spending, were we not? And who exactly handed over the cheque book to Lauda last year? Why non-other than Mercedes.

        So let’s not fool ourselves, there has hardly been a championship that wasn’t “bought and paid for”. We all know that to win in F1 you need deep pockets. There is no illusion here. Just as in any other professional sport. You spend on the best players, you’ll likely win.

        As for your pint, no doubt F1 would carry on. But RBR departure would be a real hole to fill in F1. On the other hand, they wouldn’t just shut down. They would likely just sell, cheap if quick exit was needed.

        Personally, I think the opposite is true. I think DM has ambitions to actually OWN the F1 show. He’s just waiting for the moment when the valuation drops to his liking perhaps? Doesn’t RBR run things like Crushed Ice and used to run Air Race? Air Race in perticular has given them experience to run a world wide series.

        F1 by Red Bull, a series and now also a new beverage. Available at Seven 11 near you. You would still watch. :-)

    2. kenneth chapman says:

      i have read that article and it needs to be seen in total context. i think that what DM has said is simply that the essence of F1 is being lost/eroded and that it may well have a knock on effect vis-a-vis value in the form of marketing expense.

      this would be a legitimate reason for red bull to re evaluate their involvement. the continual pursuit of over regulation has led to a dumbing down of what was once an enthralling contest between highly competetive drivers and teams.

      yesterday todt came out with an extraordinary statement whereby he appeared to be ‘open’ to ‘more fuel’ and ‘more noise’!!!! surely the FIA are not going to actually acknowledge what the vast majority of fans et al are suggesting?

      1. Sid says:

        Quite surprised to realise fans’ cries aren’t falling on deaf ears. Finally FIA is perhaps possibly going to listen to us fans.

      2. C63 says:

        surely the FIA are not going to actually acknowledge what the vast majority of fans et al are suggesting?

        Sky F1 show conducted a poll on the new engine noise. The results where 51/49 % in favour changing engine noise. A majority for sure, but vast?

      3. Doug says:

        I’m in the 49%, the sound is not a problem for me as I like the new engine tone & tyre noise. However, I would suspect that the double points for the last race rule would get about 95% of fans against it…the FIA should listen to this kind of feedback!

      4. C63 says:

        I agree with you. I didn’t think I would like the sound either, as I like big powerful and noisy engines as much as anyone. However, the slightly quieter engines have opened up a new avenue in F1 for me. I like being able to hear the tyres screeching, the crowd cheering and the whistles etc from the engine/power train. This new generation of F1 cars are every bit as impressive as the previous one, just in a different way.

      5. C63 says:

        ps
        meant to say I agree 100% with your suggestion that 95%of fans would not support the double points nonsense for the last race.

      6. NickH says:

        Wait a few races and I’m pretty confident the 51% majority will increase, especially as the track in Melbourne is walled in so that’s a fairly ‘noisy’ circuit in comparison to places like Sepang and Bahrain, and most of the other venues that have vast open areas. It’s gonna be quiet this weekend with probably many dead silences unless they go onboard often. They have to change it in my opinion

      7. NickH says:

        Even if it is a clear fifty/fifty split that’s still HALF the fans, that’s a lot obviously. They can’t just ignore half the people who watch their product, that’s not good business. Soon it’ll be much more than that anyway.

      8. C63 says:

        @NickH
        They can’t just ignore half the people who watch..

        What about the 50% who like the new sound? Should they be ignored?

      9. NickH says:

        @C63 If you’re honestly saying the half that like the new engine noise (or lack of it) would prefer it over a screaming V8 or the beast that was the V10 then I’m totally lost for words

      10. C63 says:

        @NickH
        How else do you interpret the poll? The question was; should the sound of the 2014 engine be changed ? – 49% said no. If the respondent’s would have preferred the screaming V8 or the beast of a V10 I would imagine they would have said yes. You clearly do not like the new sound and you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. However, just because you do not like something I think it displays a misplaced arrogance to presume that everyone agrees with you. As I have mentioned already, I did not expect to like the new sound and to be fair, if I was just stood watching a new V6 or the old V8/V10 being revved (on a stationary car) then the old engines win hands down. But in the context of the race itself, for me, it’s a different story, as I find myself enjoying the sounds that were previously drowned out.

      11. marc says:

        Looking at various websites its not cut or dried that a vast majority of fans think its been dumbed down ie engine noise. Its far more split than that I also watched the f1 show on sky which held an online poll and the presenters were surprised on how close the split in opinion was on engine noise. Let’s give it a number of races in differing environments and then we can have a evidence based discussion from both sides of the fence.

      12. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        I thought the context of DMs words over the exclusion would be important here.

        Still feel that he and Red Bull F1 need to learn winning with class is better than winning at all cost.

      13. Thanks, Ken, and the other issues are recognized. Unfortunately (and this is only one perspective) it doesn’t change the bottom line in the message that ‘if we don’t get what we want, we’re taking our football and going home.’ Guess that’s just bizness, though.

        If you want to be part of a solution, you stay in the game as a constructive participant. To some, F-1 is more than a game, too.

        Just sayin’. . .

      14. C63 says:

        You are spot on. Your conclusion was exactly the same one I reached, when I read DM’s comments. He comes across as sulky as Red Bull are struggling just now. Even if that isn’t what he intended, that is the way most folk (IMO) will read it.

      15. kenneth chapman says:

        i do find it hared to understand some of the vitriol being expressed here re red bull. i am still a total supporter of mark webber so i could not in any way support red bull as a team, however , that said, i don’t believe that they are in any way out of line considering what has gone down in the past and where they are today…

        this nonsense that they are not there because they are a race bred team but because they have other non related businesses that finance their racing is total tosh. the fact is that they are a racing team who have invested mega dollars. they have achieved great results and have shown up the supposed ‘grandee’ teams as being not so ‘grandee’ when it comes down to the racing.

        their technical brilliance has resulted in them being pilloried and labelled as cheats. another nonsense. have they ever been officially labelled cheats and sanctioned? if not then anyone proposing this is simply wrong, wrong and wrong again.

        i fail to see how they can be discriminated re the sources of their finance. williams and others simply rely on other businesses to finance their operations by way of sponsorship. where do those companies get their finances from and why do they use those teams cars as billboards? williams go racing based partly by funds realised from alcohol sales? where’s the difference?

        i would not like to see red bull leave. as others have pointed out it would leave a massive hole in F1. one that would be almost impossible to replicate.

        surely any one who follows F1 seriously would simply say that it was up to the other teams to improve rather than single out success by red bull! what DM has said makes sense. what we are witnessing is not what F1 should be all about. i, and many many others, are not dissing on the new technology per se. what we are saying is that in trying desperately to be seen as ‘green/eco’ they have taken too much away. even the FIA/todt has now acknowledged that. shall those anti red bull posters now direct their angst at todt?

      16. C63 says:

        @Kenneth chapman
        have they ever been officially labelled cheats and sanctioned? if not then anyone proposing this is simply wrong,..
        What is the disqualification in Australia, if not an official sanction, and confirmation they [Red Bull] are prepared to cheat in order to gain an advantage?

      17. ferggsa says:

        If you ask me the essence of F1 is lost and eroded because of RBs dominance in the last years, same as Ferrari in the Schumacher years (achieved mostly by huge budgets, and outstanding drivers, I should add)

        Regarding marketing, go figure how many worldwide TV, billboard ads can you buy with Newey and staffs salaries, so they can decide where to spend it

        As far as over regulation is concerned, FIA has to come up with rule changes and adjustments to make racing more level, instead of runaway races that result from one off brilliant ideas or unlimited testing/development resources

        This has happened long before RB came to the sport, will continue happening, and happens in other high tech involved sports such as sailing, bikes, etc

        I dont like RBs attitude where it is fine if I am winning, but I will quit if I don’t, and also if they penalize me because I cheat, sound like fine sportsmen to me

        As for the noise and the fuel saving mode, I would like more noise and more close racing, but am sure those will come once the new tech issues are solved

    3. Sujith says:

      As I expected!! I said this at a hot debate between Redbull and Ferrari fans. They all laughed at me!! Haha lets hear it from the Boss himself.

      Redbull will pull out for sure, they were never a Motor-Sports team. McLaren and Ferrari are here to stay and they are true Racers. Redbull will be remembered as just an over ambitious beverage company that just took advantage of the Exhaust blowing to win championships with cars which to say the least FARTED away to glory!!

      1. Sujith says:

        And yeah, Sebastian Vettel should race for McLaren or Mercedes. Mercedes more likely to be his choice among the 2.

      2. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        I’d *LOVE* to see VET driving against HAM or ROS. It would be hilarious.

      3. aveli says:

        redbull will not pull out. the guy says this every time they have an issue with the fia.

      4. James Allen says:

        He’s using the Enzo Ferrari approach. That’s what he used to do to get his way, knowing how much Ferrari meant to F1.

        When things got really bad he made an Indycar and let the F1 people think he might seriously go there instead…

      5. aveli says:

        looks like he has learned from the grand master.

      6. Mhilgtx says:

        Well any time that a team leaves Formula One it’s a loss for Formula One especially when they’re such a competitive team I’m not quite sure why it matters that Redbull is a energy drink company they also sponsor quite a few sporting efforts for the one fits nicely in her portfolio and I believe that they got a pretty high return on investment last year.

        I’m not sure where you would get the increase and effort from another team to make up for Redbull leaving but I’m sure it would happen some turnover of course is good but I can’t help but think that the more competition you have the better.

        True teams like Ferrari and McLaren and Williams aren’t going anywhere as far as F1 is concerned. But then again they sure haven’t been the best teams on the grid the last several years as a matter of fact McLaren has been in Barrison last year hopefully they turn things around this year I think for Rory is a disaster and I was pitch their star to a guy you cannot provide any more Williams it looks like his turn things around that they don’t have near the budget the other two teams do.

        What I would love to say would be an American carmaker get back involved I know Ford was somewhat involved cause worth but I like for them actually Ford or General Motors to actually dig in and get your hands dirty involved and get a works team up and running and put all the resources behind it to see what they could do the problem though is that these cars have nothing to do with crossover technology four of the United States. I guess you could argue that they did at some point but there is a very small market for this type of cars in the US unfortunately because while I’m not a big convert to the whole man-made global warming debate I do think it’s important for us to shepherd our resources and keeper atmospheres clean as possible.

        I just think that when we are when I read on here people accusing Redbull of cheating because they had a front wing that was built where would deflect down to a lower level than what was legally required for to be stationary call it cheating I just think that’s wrong when I see is inventiveness and obeying the rules because rules are rules get the FIA have wanted to make sure that that wing would stay stationary they should have said that. I like the inventiveness is the sport of racing and that’s what it’s about.

    4. AlexD says:

      Sure….it is a Marketing machine for Red Bull, they are not there for the same reason as Williams.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Or Ferrari.

        Ferrari and Williams are probably the only teams that are all about racing cars. Throughout the years Ferrari has stayed committed even when it was uncompetitive. The same can be said for Williams.

        Don’t race cars to make money. Make money to race cars. :)

    5. C63 says:

      It’s Sebee that I am worried about. What will he do if Red Bull leaves? :-)

      1. Sebee says:

        I’ll make a date with you at a local track, bring my M3 around and we’ll pay tribute to German engineering.

      2. C63 says:

        Sounds good to me, although shouldn’t you bring your Infiniti? And what do we do about the Atlantic Ocean being enroute for one of us?

    6. Carugatese says:

      Menace or promise?

    7. Kenneth M'Boy says:

      Has there been any other teams like Red Bull (a major company outside of motorsport) who have come in, won and then not hung around in the sport? The only one I can think of is Benetton, an international clothing company.

  9. JB says:

    I hope they raced to the finish line rather than a formation finish like last year.

    I’m so glad that Vettel disobeyed the team and gave us such the best on-track duel in 2013.

    Lets not discussed last year’s off-track drama since everyone in Red Bull is at peace with it long ago.

    1. mbraz says:

      well why did u bring it up

      1. JB says:

        I’ve brought of the purpose of a race day is to race till the end, not save tyres or other stuff to finish the race.

        Isn’t that a legitimate reason?

      2. James Clayton says:

        You can’t just go around saying “I’m glad this happened… don’t want to hear anybody else’s on the matter”.

    2. kenneth chapman says:

      did you check that last statement out with mark webber?

      1. JB says:

        If I can, I would.

      2. Random 79 says:

        You’re right…but then Mark’s no longer with RBR, so he probably gets out of it on a technicality ;)

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Hopefully Mark will put on a bit of weight now he’s not racing in F1 – he was actually under-weight for the majority of his Red Bull career, so now he can enjoy a good fish and chips washed down with a pint of bitter. I never realised the extra amount of effort he had to go through to get his weight down to 75Kg for 10 months of the year – Sebastian weighs around 60Kg-ish, so Mark was always fighting a loosing battle on the ballast front.
        Anyway, good to have Mark providing some input with Suzi and DC on the Beeb.

      4. JB says:

        Honestly, I’m so happy to see Daniel Ricciardo taking second in Melbourne.
        I look forward to see a fair battle between him and Vettel.

        Note Ricciardo is taller than Seb too. So if he can beat Seb, he definitely has more natural speed.

    3. Liam in Sydney says:

      Great, teammates/colleagues who disagree with procedure and tear you down whilst at work. Such a productive outcome. JB, where do you work, a legal firm? :( Sorry for you.

    4. Elie says:

      Yeah lets not say anything silly… Oops you already did!

    5. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Wow, in our parallel universe Seb used the team orders when Mark’s guard was down to sneakily get by in a most unsporting manner whilst Horner jibber jabbered on about being silly.

      I bet you couldn’t believe the start of Oz the other week when Massa pulled that ridiculous move on Kobayashi. Should’ve been a three race ban for not using his mirrors ;)

  10. SteveS says:

    This should be an intriguing race. In addition to the reliability question there will be the team orders question. Assuming neither Rosberg or Hamilton have a DNF there are probably going to be team orders instructing one of them to stay behind or to move aside and let the other take the win. If Hami gets such orders, will he comply? If Rosberg gets those orders again (as he did a few times last year) will he continue to obey?

    Then there’s the RB enigma. Will they use the FIA fuel flow data? Will their cars work? Will Ferrari claw back some of their performance deficit?

    1. Grant H says:

      Multi 21 lewis / nico

      1. ferggsa says:

        Maybe the good fairy will win
        (Hope you saw the MB add on TV, otherwise it don’t make sense)

    2. Anil Parmar says:

      The message they got in Australia was ‘race but don’t be stupid’. It will be the same again.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        That’s a given. Obviously drivers are not going to be stupid. No matter who they are racing, they race as best they can, team mates or otherwise.

        By saying this, the team is basically saying don’t take each other out; which is a ridiculous request as of course they are not going to try and take each other out. It’s foolish, unfair and irresponsible for a team to allow their drivers to race but then get angry if one or both end up being knocked out.

        Teams should either say race and what will be will be or they should impart orders on their drivers clearly stating who finishes ahead.

    3. KRB says:

      When was Rosberg told to stay behind last year, other than Malaysia? Clear examples please, pit radio transcripts would be best.

      In Germany he made himself a nuisance to Hamilton’s race (they were in different races), and in India Rosberg benefitted from a preferential pitstop to be able to jump Massa. On lap 26 only 1.5s separated MAS-ROS-HAM. ROS pitted on lap 27, jumped Massa, which allowed him to get up to 2nd. Meanwhile Lewis got stuck behind Massa, burned his tires in the turbulent air, and fell into the clutches of Perez to finish 6th. It was clear last year that Hamilton did not push the issue at the start in Monaco, but instead did his best to keep back the fast-starting Red Bulls.

      Anyone who tries to say that Hamilton had clear #1 status at Merc last year are working from very flimsy premises.

      Most likely it’s just another in the long list of attempts to set Hamilton up for future slaggin’.

      1. SteveS says:

        “When was Rosberg told to stay behind last year, other than Malaysia?”

        Read it again, I said “team orders instructing one of them to stay behind or to move aside and let the other take the win”, referring to both drivers this year.

        Last season Rosberg was told not to pass Hamilton once, and to move out of his way in two other GP’s. So far in their time together Hamilton has not received similar orders, which is why it’s open to question what he would do if the situation arises. And as I also mentioned, it’s open to question what Rosberg would do if he receives similar instructions again this season.

        “Anyone who tries to say that Hamilton had clear #1 status at Merc last year are working from very flimsy premises.”

        Of course that’s coming from somebody who thinks that Vettel’s #1 status at RB was indisputable, in spite of his being ordered to stay behind Webber.

      2. Alexander Supertramp says:

        “Last season Rosberg was told not to pass Hamilton once, and to move out of his way in two other GP’s. So far in their time together Hamilton has not received similar orders”

        I guess there’s a reason for that, right?

      3. KRB says:

        Neither of them have received a team order to move aside and let the other take the win.

        Where else was Rosberg told to move out of Lewis’ way? He was in Germany, and he DIDN’T comply … Lewis was less than a second behind him for 6 full laps. This while Kimi was all over Lewis’ gearbox! Yeah, real team player, that Nico. Lewis had a 3s gap to Kimi coming out of the pits, erased b/c of Nico’s truculence.

        You honestly think Vettel and Webber were treated as equally as Hamilton and Rosberg? Yes, Vettel was ordered to stay behind in Malaysia, a good call from RBR at that point in the season. Didn’t matter, as Vettel took it into his own hands that day. People bring up the one time Webber defied a Multi12 in GBR 2011, but how many times did he obey? And how many times were Multi12′s ordered over Multi21′s?

        For an example of Mercedes’ attempt to treat their drivers equally, in Malaysia they didn’t use a new spec of front wing, as they only had two of them. They didn’t want to have one break, putting them in a ‘RBR @ GBR 2010′ situation.

      4. Glennb says:

        “Anyone who tries to say that Hamilton had clear #1 status at Merc last year are working from very flimsy premises.”

        Couldn’t agree more mate. HAM is definitely the #2 driver in this team.

      5. Yago says:

        Completely agree. Whoever thinks Hamilton has preferential treatment is lying to himself. I’m going further, in modern F1 no driver, and I say NO driver, has preferential treatment until he out scores and outraces his teammate considerably. There are teams more prone to team orders, as Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari, and others less so as McLaren, but the differences in approach are small. What makes the difference is a driver destroying his teammate, as Alonso or Vettel last year. For example, when Hamilton was anihilating Kovalainen back in 2008, McLaren approach was as one sided as Ferrari or Red Bull this past years.

        This year, with reliability playing a big part (if this finally is the case), I expect teams concentrating more on relative performances of their drivers rather than on the points table. We could see teams refussing to give team orders even with big points differences between their drivers. I do not expect a team order from Mercedes 2013 Malaysia esque. If Hamilton is behind Rosberg, and is faster, he will no way accept an order to hold position. Just as a consequence of the reliability issue he had in Australia.

      6. Alexander Supertramp says:

        neither Rosberg or Hamilton will accept team orders- the stakes are too high and they are basically fighting each other for the championship. They should be able to fight it out cleanly on this huge track.

      7. JohnBt says:

        Yeah, I remember the low and commanding tone from Ross ‘negative Nico’. Then Nico’s reply ‘remember….(forgot what Nico said, was it? ‘you owe me’), loved the team radio.

      8. C63 says:

        I think he said ‘remember this’, when he got out of the car at the end of the race.

      9. C63 says:

        @KRB
        Most likely it’s just another in the long list of attempts to set Hamilton up for future slaggin’…

        That’s a scurrilous accusation if ever I saw one :-)

      10. grat says:

        But based on history, not an invalid one. Hamilton, and to a lesser degree Vettel, seem to bring out the worst in the F1 community.

        What happened to both teams last year was a recognition of the fact that the Constructor’s championship has a financial aspect, and the Driver’s championship doesn’t.

        Both Red Bull and Mercedes expected their drivers to finish in the order they finished the last pit stops– after that, bring the car home, score maximum points for the team.

        Lewis definitely had to go into fuel savings mode at the end of the race, and I expect Nico would have as well had he passed Lewis and chased after Webber– problem is, he wouldn’t have caught him, and the Mercedes pit wall knew it, so there was no point (for the team) for Nico to pass Lewis– just many opportunities for things to go hideously wrong.

      11. Red Rider says:

        What do you think Watson? Another Hamy fan?

        However did you guess Sherlock?

  11. Kramgp says:

    Should both silver arrows get off the line it will be interesting to see how much of a speed advantage they have
    I’m not a Massa fan but I do think he will be out to prove a point this weekend as his season hasn’t started yet and he will looking to out pace bottas. I can’t help but think he will come up short

    1. Red Rider says:

      He is short :-)

  12. Shri says:

    Hopefully we will see a great attacking race with aggressive overtaking.

    NOT looking forward to tip-toe racing, so-called stragetic racing and fuel economy parades.

    Let’s see what we get to watch on Sunday.

    1. KGBVD says:

      Aww you ruined it. I was so happy to get all the way to the bottom of a comment forum and NOT see someone complain about the new F1.

      I’m with Lauda (paraphrasing): the OZ gp was exciting (about as much as any other OZ GP in the past); drivers have ALWAYS had to manage their cars (esp before the bullet-proof reliability of the last decade); saying that F1 shouldn’t be concerned with fuel consumption is idiotic; and the idea that F1 has to be loud is like watching soccer for the riots, or hockey for the fights.

      With the way he’s been spot-on on almost every point this year, Lauda should replace Bernie.

      Don’t worry, Sepang will be an amazing race.

      1. NickH says:

        ‘And the idea that F1 has to be loud is like watching soccer for the riots, or hockey for the fights.’

        What a load of Bull. Not the same in any way. Let’s just make it formula 1 E then?! F1 has always been about noise that’s half the reason fans pay to go to the circuits (well, used to).

        Yes it might be a good race this weekend but it will also be dead silent

  13. Grant H says:

    With such a big difference between tyre compounds (1.5 sec) there will be a nice benefit to getting through Q1 on hards, given the likely strategy is med med hard. Merc were the only ones to do it in melbourne. Saving a set of new mediums and front row position makes merc the easy tip for this race again be surprised if any different

  14. German Samurai says:

    Rosberg will have the pace, will manage his tyres better in the intense heat.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Hopefully it’ll stay dry and the two Merc boys will have the cars to go for each other. Then we could also see just how much faster they really are. I’d hate to see one with a problem and the other race for 10 laps then basically cruise for reliability.

      The tyres on Rosberg v Hamilton may be different this year, I wonder if they will grain then come back good again, unlike last year.

      The battle to be ahead of your teammate, to perhaps get the undercut fresh tyres could be critical.
      Wouldn’t be surprised if McLaren bring Jenson in before anyone else for his first stop to jump then run longer on set 2.

  15. kenneth chapman says:

    it is almost impossible to forecast the result in malaysia. it has always been difficult to even get close due mainly to the irregularity of th weather. throw all the other issues into the mix and see what you get.

    i see drama followed by a degree of chaos.

    1. Elie says:

      Yep huge potential for it.. Especially turn1 with the brake by wire being truly tested in extreme heat and not so grippy tyres..add dampish conditions- it will be a real struggle

  16. Anil Parmar says:

    Can’t wait for this race and I’m looking forward to seeing how the ferrari’s cope given their incredibly narrow air inlets/sidepods…clearly they feel the Ferrari engine can cope with cooling easily.

    It’s such a shame I’ll have to watch this race without the live timings once again though, as judging by Melbourne, FOM have got rid of the live timing option via the website (it not longer tells sector times) and instead require fans to buy the smart phone app which just isn’t suitable given how small the screens are compared to my laptop.

    Really hope this is addressed. Out of interest James, does the same apply to you guys in the commentary box? Or do you get the full version of the live timings, like we used to get in the past?

    1. James Allen says:

      We have the FOM screens but we use the FOM app too for tyre data and other things.

      1. Andrew says:

        What was the point of removing sector times from the formula1.com timing applet? All we have now are coloured dots :(

      2. Anil Parmar says:

        They want our money unfortunately.

        I would be happy to pay for a desktop/laptop app that gave me live timings and other info but the fact that it’s only available on iOS and Android is so disappointing :(

      1. Anil Parmar says:

        Yup, that’s the link. Use it during a session or the race and you’ll no longer see the exact sector times. In Australia, we just got a yellow or purple dot indicating whether the sector the driver had set was a personal best or race best, which is largely useless. Basically, they’ve gone out of their way to downgrade the information you get on the website and instead you need to buy the app (which drained the battery on my S4 in 30 minutes!) to actually get the sector times.

        Thankfully, I’ve figured out a way to have my phone send the sector times straight to my desktop but it’s still frustrating given the link you posted gave ALL the data in previous seasons.

        That said the app does feature some other really useful information but it’s largely irrelevant given how small most phone screens are!

      2. PeteC says:

        Well, that sucks! :)
        Last season I used a program called F1LT (free, and very customizable). Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be developed any more and didn’t work for Aus. There’s an alternative called Live F1 which I’ll try next race…

        https://launchpad.net/live-f1

  17. TGS says:

    Just an idea James, in the Pit Stop section, can you put the gap required for a driver to make a stop and still come out in front?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well this gives an indication, doesn’t it?

      It’s one of several reasons why we measure this time for a stop rather than solely the stationary time (circa 2 seconds)

      1. TGS says:

        Yeah I see your point. Thanks.

      2. Cyanydd says:

        Actually, I think TGS has a point. The total time in pit lane is relevant, but the fact is that the car also covers distance while in pit lane. So even though they may spend 22 seconds in pit lane, the actual lead required might only be 18 seconds to still emerge in front.

        The difference is the time it takes the chasing car to cover the distance between the pit lane entrance and exit. The full 22 seconds is only relevant if the car enters and exits the pits in exactly the same place.

  18. David in Sydney says:

    You would think it would be a race for Mercedes powered cars and a win for a McLaren if both Mercedes drivers have a mishap otherwise it’ll be Rosberg.

    But the rain…

    And the heat…

    1. James Clayton says:

      I’m not sure the McLaren will outpace the Williams if we get dry conditions through the weekend

      1. Doug says:

        They may if Rons promised 0.5 sec upgrade works!
        I agree though, unless it rains Williams should be the No.2 team….based on Oz.

    2. Ken Switzer says:

      Sorry I can’t provide stats, but Melb and Mala are so different I can’t recall anyone who has won the two back to back .. So i guess if it’s Rosberg it would be ominous for the rest

      1. KRB says:

        Vettel in 2011 for one.

  19. Elie says:

    I think Ferrari can win this race. Even with motors turned down they both finished in melb and I think they will have found some answers since. Mercedes are still the bench mark in speed but when they have problems they stop permanently and this can transpose to any Merc powered car- except maybe Williams- who have some work to do on downforce & rear end stabilility. What was truly impressive was Bottas braking stability – which will bode well for Malaysia.

    I hope we dont see rain although that seems most likely at Sepang. I know people like to see mixed racing but I dont see the point when cars are driving at half pace / behind a safety car for half a GP. Personally I hope it doesnt rain at any circuit, it does nothing for the viewing and the speed.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Ferrari to win sounds a bit bold to me, especially when Alonso couldn’t even get out of Hulkenberg’s slipstream even with DRS in Oz, Ferrari electrical ‘problems’ aside. I hope they can get into the mix though.

      I also hope we don’t see rain in Malaysia, to get a better comparison picture on power and tyre wear between teams, differences between tyre types etc.

      Though rain is a good thing from time to time, as long as it isn’t a monsoon or safety car start etc, it has given us some awesome races in the past and awesome displays of skill:

      Senna at Donnington and Estoril 85, Clark winning Spa by 5 mins, Spa ’98!, Stewart at Nurburgring 4 mins ahead of anyone else, Hockenheim 2000, Schumi Spain ’96 not too exciting but class drive, Hill v Schumi Suzuka 94, Alonso in the dog at Malaysia 12, Monaco 84, Hungary 06, Canada ’11, Spa plenty more times including Kimi v Lewis and also Hakkinen’s beautiful move splitting Schumi and Zonta after a wet kerb spin, Brazil as well, not just Massa’s finest hour in 2008. Phew…

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        You’re right about wet/mixed weather providing some other-wordly performances.
        As well as the ones you mentioned, don’t forget Senna Britain 1988 (as well as a great drive by Our Nige), Ayrton Spa 1989, Our Nige Spain 1992, Michael Spa 1992, Senna Brazil 1993, Michael Spa and Nuburgring 1995, Damon in Brazil 96, Michael at Monaco/Spa 97, Frenzy at Magny-Cours 99, DC Brazil 2001 (including the cameo by Monty), Lewis Fuji 2007 and Silverstone 2008, and Jenson Brazil 2012. Truly wonderful performances in soggy conditions.

      2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Dont forget the best wet driving F1 has seen for the past 15 years, Hungary 2006.

      3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        This happens when one reads too fast. Feel free to erase both of my comment.

      4. David in Sydney says:

        If Ferrari has a software problem with their engine and braking system then it is quite possible for the software to be ironed out in time for Malaysia and the engines upgraded.

  20. Vlad says:

    It’s going to be very interesting if Red Bull can even compete. I mean there are two scenarios:

    1) They were legit in Australia, so they race the same way, and hope the sensors don’t mess up again.

    2) They were trying to be tactful and in Malaysia they race fairly this time and finish further down the field, maybe near the Toro Rossos.

    I will still put a small wager on a Red Bull 1-2, just because the odds are so good. )

    1. Doug says:

      I think the heat may well kill the Bulls..it’ll certainly be a test of their cooling upgrades.

    2. Dave Emberton says:

      If they’re going to insist they were legit in Australia, they’ll have to do the same. So we might see both cars finish, and both cars get disqualified. And in Bahrain, both cars finish, and both cars get disqualified.

      Which is all a bit farcical.

    3. NickH says:

      Red Bull really need to grow up. The only reason they chose to ignore the FIA’s advice was to make the car go faster. There is no other reason. Every other team complied, if they had ignored the FIA then they all could have gone faster. The appeal must not win, unless we want to see every race result decided in a courtroom weeks after the event. That would be farcical

  21. JohnBt says:

    James, let’s hope it will be a baked track on Sunday then we’ll know how much the engines will hold out. Should be an interesting weekend and hope the results get jumbled up amongst the top six teams.

    Just got a feeling, Massa and Bottas will do well for Williams and also the how Kevin and Kvyat will fair.

    Looking forward to the whistling and squealing effect.

    I like your mast head ‘Horsepower Whisperers’….quietly powerful.

    1. Ade Abiose says:

      Masthead Meanderings
      Horsepower Whisperers

      Evocative of the new cars-powerfully quiet.
      See,I heard you first time.

    2. Ken Switzer says:

      For pure gutsiness Kvyat is hard to match. If there’s rain I suspect the young guns will possibly over drive in a display of bravery.
      I’m expecting the old pros to bring home the bacon … quietly, and almost under the radar. You probably know who I mean….

  22. Zhenya says:

    James,

    Did Ferrarri set a record with their 2.2 pitstop?

    1. James Allen says:

      No we’ve seen below 2secs

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Mark Webber and Red Bull at last year Texas grand prix: 1.9 seconds. Wow, a click of the fingers and the tyres are changed!

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        James remember the really long pit stop of Barrichello @ Malaysia 2001 . I think that stop lasted 1 minute 12 seconds.

  23. Paul Mc says:

    Rarely a dull race here so looking forward to it. I’ll always remember 1999 when Michael destroyed the field on his comeback race. Im tipping Lewis for pole and win!

  24. kenneth chapman says:

    what will be the fallout if red bull continue to race using their own ‘fuel flow’ metering on the assumption [rightly or wrongly] that the gill sensors are still giving dodgy readings?

    can they race subject to protest? it is interesting that none of the other teams have entered a protest. maybe they are all relying on the ICA result. if the ICA uphold red bulls position what happens to the other teams provisional results vis-a-vis lodging a protest? have they run out of time?

  25. Mee says:

    Hasn’t the pit speed limit been lowered from 100 to 80 km/h last season?

  26. stig says:

    Does anyone have any insight into how much Ferrari are lagging in the engine-department, how much laptime are they behind Merc?

    Renault has been very clear about their deficit and that they will claw it back soon, wile Ferrari has been kind of quiet on this..

    James, mabe you can do some 007-work on this? :)

  27. stig says:

    There is so many interesting topics for this weekend, I don`t know where to start!

    Reliability, rain, topspeed, intrateam-rivalry, tyres, upgrades, rookies etc..

  28. Sebee says:

    Those 2 potential new teams FIA is looking for? They are going to be buyers, not building teams from scratch.

    What’s up with Caterham? Partnership with Renault done. Fernandez saying if he’s at the back, he’s not going to continue.

    What is the F1 team Death Watch list now?
    Lotus and Caterham – both Renault power, plus Sauber? Go out there and enjoy those 22 car grids this year boys and girls.

    1. David in Sydney says:

      I’ll take Caterham F1 off his hands for EUR 1,000 and a promise of keeping his branding contract for 3 years.

  29. Sebee says:

    Interesting POV.

    “Formula one should be again what it always has been: the ultimate discipline,” said Mateschitz

    “It is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, or so you can talk at a whisper during a race and the greatest thrill is the squealing of the tyres.

    “I consider it equally absurd that we are going a second slower than last year and that the junior series GP2 is almost as fast as formula one with a fraction of the budget,” he added.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      i tend to agree with DM. there is no light at the end of the tunnel….as yet.

    2. KRB says:

      Expected from DM. Like how Rosberg said the racing this year is very exciting. Of course he would say that, wouldn’t he?

  30. Jeff says:

    Off topic, BUT, I’ve seen photos of Kobayashi’s car going under Massa’s during there first corner incident at Melbourne. How big of a concern is this for driver safety?

    I don’t think we want to see someone’s head come into contact with a rear crash structure, or worse, but I am wondering how they handled this 20 years ago when all noses were “drooped”?

    Were the rears of the car lower back then? Is it the rear crash structure?

    In the states we’ve seen CART cars run up and over, and even balance on top of, other cars without hurting the driver (although it was scary).

    1. Random 79 says:

      It’s kind of ironic since they were lowered because they were worried about drivers losing their heads.

  31. KGBVD says:

    I love this era.

    Look at the comments above – NO ONE knows what’s going to happen, there are so many unknowns:

    Will the RBs continue to recover? Can Ferrari’s nano-cooling survive the heat? Will LH’s Merc be reliable? Where will Williams fit in? Vettel or Ricciardo? Hamilton or Rosberg? Will Button be shaded by Mag again? How will the turbos and ERS deal with the heat? Will the Renaults (particularly in the Lotus) be any better?

    Todt has done an amazing job pushing these new rules. If F1′s cantankerous-old-man-Lauda can embrace them so heartily, so can everyone else. (If you miss the ringing in your ears, just turn up the volume on your car radio on the way home).

    1. Sebee says:

      If some ugly smelly pink sneakers made you run faster but everyone else slower, wouldn’t you want them to be mandatory in a race as well?

      That’s why Lauda is so fond of this era. If Mercedes wasn’t winning this year, we’d be at risk of losing a team and an engine supplier.

      1. KGBVD says:

        Regardless of his motivations, I like his points!

    2. SteveS says:

      “NO ONE knows what’s going to happen, there are so many unknowns”

      It seems fairly predicable to me. One of the W05′s will probably win the race. Assuming they both finish the race they will probably finish one-two.

      In any case I don’t think unpredictability is the hallmark of sports. No one knows what’s going to happen when you play roulette, but that doesn’t make roulette a sport. The nature of sports is that it is somewhat but not completely predictable. That’s why sports always has such things as favorites, underdogs, long-shots, and upsets.

  32. P says:

    hope force india have got their nuts sorted this year…
    they missed out on quite a lot of points last year because of it

    1. P says:

      i meant “wheel nuts”

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        hahaha sure!

  33. nusratolla says:

    Hamilton

  34. F1.6T says:

    So, if the tyres are a step harder this year than 2013 and I presume they have kept the Kevlar belt, then they are basically the 2012 spec tyres, right?

  35. fox says:

    Hoping for the rain, and betting old farts Alonso & Raikkonen could deliver!

    1. Zapp! says:

      The zimmer frame pair can still show the young uns how its done!

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