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Ferrari boss attacks new teams as “too slow”
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Ferrari boss attacks new teams as “too slow”
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jun 2010   |  3:07 pm GMT  |  236 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has attacked the new teams in the aftermath of Fernando Alonso losing the Canadian Grand Prix.

“In modern F1 races cars with GP2 levels of performance shouldn’t participate,” he said in Gazzetta dello Sport. Montezemolo may have been referring to Jarno Trulli’s Lotus and perhaps the Hispania of Karun Chandhok, which was being lapped when Alonso lost a place to Button.

“Our car had the pace to win, I hope in the future there are no more errors in lapping cars which are to our disadvantage, ” he added. “We already gave.”

Ferrari have always had a big downer on the new teams, of you recall a post on their website last year around Monaco time and several references since.

In fact, when you study the lap times, although they are somewhat erratic, Trulli’s pace around lap 39 for example was a mid 1m20, while Webber was leading doing 1m 19.6, Hamilton catching him on 1m 18.8 and Rosberg in midfield was doing 1m 21.6s.

The incident with Trulli which enraged Alonso was on lap 28 when Alonso was pitting. He had just done his fastest lap of the race to that point, a 1m 19.05, and was headed for the pits. Hamilton had pitted two laps earlier and Alonso was flat out to try to jump him at his second stop. “If Trulli hadn’t slowed me down I would have done it,” fumed Alonso on Sunday night.

“I lost two and a half seconds and when I came out of the pits I saw Hamilton ahead. Without traffic I would have had the lead.”

That lap Trulli did a 1m 24.7 and says that no blue flags were waved at him that lap.

Ferrari is calling for the drivers to agree a code for lapped cars to get out of the way. This is something F1 drivers have had to deal with as long as there has been racing.

Lotus boss Tony Fernandes is of the opinion that blue flags should be abandoned in F1. This is sure to be a key talking point in the coming weeks.

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I think with the current state of overtaking in F1 - I believe mainly due to too stable tyres and poor circuit design - there is no way you could abandon the blue flags.

At circuits like Valencia (Dullencia) you'd end up with the whole field queued up behind a HRT or Virgin!

If, however, F1 can finally get a handle on the overtaking problem then I'd be all for dropping the blue flags. It would certainly bring a new dimension to the races.


I would like to know how anybody could think that abandoning the blue flag wouldn't give the low budget slow cars the gifted unfair advantage.

If you look at the track designs, it is nearly impossible to overtake. Based on the rules season overtaking is harder than ever. F1 won't survive without the teams like Ferrari & McLaren. They invest incredible amount of money to give their drivers the best car possible to win the championship. That's why F1 is so exciting to watch throughout the year. Now if the blue flag is terminated, fast and agressive drivers will be stuck behind a car that's worth as much the F-Duct of McLaren or the wheel rim of the Ferrari. How is that fair? Blue flag should be shown to the lapped cars & in no more than two corners they should give away. Imgaine Ferrari & McLaren stuck behind 8 super slow gp2 backmarkers (the new teams)because there is no blue flag. Would you watch that race? I know I am not & surely I am not the only one.


You could argue if a driver cant overtake another car then they shouldn't be in F1.


I am totally in agreement with you that blue flags shouldn't be abandoned.

However, I would argue the opposite is true about the impact of the amount of money that the big teams spend. To me it doesn't make the sport exciting, it makes it boring and is one reason for the lack of overtaking, and the almost exclusive reason for lack of differentiation.

I think people confuse big money with big innovation, but they're not the same thing. Things like the F-duct and mass damper are real innovations. But instead of each team having their own innovation, all the others do is spend millions trying to develop an F-duct too. This is due to a combination of two factors; 1) they have the money to do so, and 2) - which is a by-product of factor 1; they can develop in so few areas these days that there is less opportunity for a new innovation so they just copy somebody else's. Then, they have to agree to abandon the innovation altogether after a year because everyone has one anyway.

If less money was available to the big teams then the rules could be totally opened up and each team would have to decide which areas to spend their limited money developing. This would lead to innovations that remained and developed if they were good, rather than just being saturated with money as they are now; the big teams just throw money at every idea to see which ones works - this isn't clever innovation.

I was and still am a big supporter of the budget cap, and it is very interesting that the teams have slipped their own in for the KERS re-introduction. This, plus the very fact that KERS is coming back at all must surely entitle Mr Mosley to a wry grin. Budget cap would mean that clever teams and people are rewarded, not just the rich ones. I think it's sad that we are still in a place where money trumps ability and ideas.

I also wholeheartedly disagree about F1 not surviving without McLaren and Ferrari. I certainly don't want them to go, I just don't agree it would damage the sport in the way some think it would (except admittedly in Italy).


I am in full agreement about big innovation vs big money. The difference is brains.

F1 would not be the same without the famous names, though. If you replace the habitats of Britain with random people, it would not still be Britain as we know it.


How is it fair that a car has to leap out of the way when it is in it's own race with others teams at the back? Sure, it's about the race at the front, but it's also about the race at the back and across the whole field.

I am sure that most drivers in slower cars, if they realise they are being lapped, will get out of the way - they can be informed over their radio. If you're in a race with others to gain valuable points and move up the field (in the race and the championships) - which is what all the teams aspire to - getting out of the way can seriously affect that.

We don't have covers all the way around race-tracks so that if it rains the drivers have a nice dry surface to race on; they race regardless, unless it's utterly ridiculous to do so. We should expect drivers of the quality of Alonso et al to have the ability to navigate past back-markers. If a mistake happens, a mistake happens, that's life! Plus it adds to the excitement.


I concur about "the notion that there is a linear correlation with money spent and results" - it's about "spending it wisely". [It helps though, if you've got a big-pot to delve into ;-)].

On the blue flag issue... I admit I'm old-school. I am not a fan of any particular driver or team... I am a fan of F1 and for me, back-markers have always been a part of that.

I re-watched Canada last night... go and check out lap 7, the leaders (Lewis, Fernando and Seb, with Mark closing in) are all heading towards the hair-pin... a blue-flag comes out and is waved at them. Who on earth was that aimed at!?!?!?

I noted how Buemi was shown a blue-flag... yet, he was in the lead!!!!

Also, within the race, Coulthard mentions that cars these days have lights on the dash, which indicate to a driver that they are soon to be lapped. But yes, technology fails...

If the roles were reversed (thus Button had been held up and Alonso sneaked past)... then Alonso would have been smiling from ear to ear on the podium and Monty would have been raving about how great Alonso was.

Button's first pit-stop... he enquired of the team as to whether he would come out (afterwards) in clean-air, the team said "yes", so he pitted. Strategists must be able to factor back-markers into their strategy too!?!?

But I'd just rather get rid of the blue-flags and let 'em go. Mistakes happen, that is life.


Indeed, its not fair for a driver to have to jump out of the way, every time they are being lapped. However, they are interfering with the race result and can in many cases ruin someone's race.

If they want to scrap blue flags, lets bring the 107% rule back.

This is formula 1. It means that the fastest cars participate. It is the pinacle of motosport. There are other formulae sactioned by the FIA for slower and cheaper cars. Di Montezemolo is correct that slower cars belong there. When they grow up, they can participate in the F1. Imagine the FA England inviting new teams to submit proposale to participate in the premier league, with no prior history.

And, personally, I do not see at all what value these teams bring to the sport, although I appreciate that this simply is a matter of personal preference.

Finally, I disagree with the notion that there is a linear correlation with money spent and results. Just look at Honda's most recent attempts and Toyota (and, perhaps, even BMW). Compare them with Renault and Force India of today with their current budgets. And, besides, Virgin can afford to spend more, if the interest was indeed to achiece results and not simply cheap promotion.


Who cares who finishes 16th? it's all about the race at the front


very witty! I have decided to play golf that day. I will watch the qua. though.


The new teams have added nothing this year and have only existed as a burden like last Sunday.

The new teams have no racing pedigree, they exist as entrepreneurial outfits. If new teams were to be added they should be graduates from lower formulae like Jordan in 1991.


New Teams

I think Lotus would disagree on the racing pedigree thing. I get what you're saying as they're brand new groups of people.

Personally, I love watching the new teams. You never know who's on top, it's great watching some feisty fight outs, like Heikki and Petrov last week.

Senna impressed at Turkey, he was making a great deal out of very little. You can see how hard they're trying when the car's tail slides out and they catch it. It's great stuff.

All these new teams, are within the now defunct 107% rule.

All these new teams only started 12 months ago.

All these new teams have to run before they can walk.

All these new teams seem to be making progress.

Blue Flags

Regarding blue flags, come on! It's more of a test for the drivers, they bunch up, mess up strategies, put pit stops out of sync. Spice the whole thing up. Alonso was shown wanting on the weekend and paid for it.

I don't wanna watch the best drivers in the world, having their job made easier for them. I wanna see how good they are every race.


Ferrari want a Ferrari procession, like the good old days. Personally, I want exciting, challenging racing.


Pardon me, but aren't the core of these new teams spinoffs from Formula 3 outfits (the same way Eddie Jordan's team started out)?

Litespeed + 1Malaysia + Proton = Lotus F1

Manor + Virgin = Virgin

Campos (sold off) = Hispania

The only reason why they aren't using their official names are for sponsorship reasons. These teams aren't exactly operating like early 90s teams like Andrea Moda (lol!) or Life and are well within the 107% rule...


Can't take credit for this, it's taken from another F1 board. This is who wouldn't have qualified this season if the 107% rule was put in place:

Bahrain: Senna (108.01%) Chandhok (199.468%)

Australia: di Grassi (107.467%) Senna (107.873%) Chandhok (107.977%)

Malaysia: Senna (107.264%) di Grassi (109.741%)*

China: All drivers within 107%

Spain: Chandhok (108.444%)

Monaco: Chandhok (107.766%) Alonso (No time)**

Turkey: All drivers within 107%

Canada: Chandok (116.846%)

So really it's mainly HRT - not Lotus, and Virgin only twice


Manor Racing / Lotus??


Afraid you're wrong there. Two of the teams have good records in the lower formula: Virgin were formed from Formula 3 team Manor motorsport and HRT were formerly Campos Grand Prix who raced in GP2. A wee bit of research wouldn't go amiss before making comments.

I'm judging the new teams success this year on whether they gain time throughout the season. At the moment I would say that Lotus have been the most successful. Kovalainen in particular is proving this point quite well. The other two teams aren't proving as successful, but they have found time as well.

It's too late for anything to be done this season, like others here I would like to see the 107% rule enforced again. That I believe would encourage improvement. But still people should recognise that all three teams HAVE found time and that should be seen as improvement. It's nothing more than sour grapes from Di Montezemolo.


Yeah, probably the best option.


I can actually see the longer term benefit of having a few more teams, but I think they should introduce a system where the last Team in F1 should have to drop down to GP2 and the top GP2 team should be able to graduate to F1 using a customer car (only the graduating team could use a customer car due to a lack of time to design a car). That would certainly add a little bit more consequence to the battle between the lower teams and would add a huge incentive to the higher level GP2 teams to win the chance to jump to F1. It couldn't do GP2's profile any harm either, with more people paying attention to what was happening in that category and potentially more people watching the races...


well the virgin team were initially labelled Manor F1... but I do agree there was something inherently wrong with the selection process, I'm personally hoping for ART to get the nod for next year


Perhaps you ought to consider that statement - the new team with the least pedigree is the one currently doing best...


Disagree - before it became HRT the entry was granted to Campos Meta, a team run by Adrian Campos who had raced in GP2 coming third and still race in European F3. It was funding issues that caused them to be sold on... but they had cut their teeth in lower formulae as you say at the time of application

Virgin is a joint entry between Nick Wirth and Manor Motorsport - Manor compete in F3 Euro series and GP3 and Nick Wirth designed the championship winning cars for ALMS LMP1 and LMP2 in 2009.

Lotus on the other hand have links to the Malaysian Govt and Proton - so I don't know how to place them. Perhaps a manufacturer entry?

These people are racers, they have racing pedigree - but they need the cash to go racing so thats why you get people like Branson involved naming the team, but that don't take away anything from the people behind the scenes who made the initial bids.

They are starting from scratch, they need time to earn their reputations at the top of the tree, and if they don't they'll fall by the wayside like so many others before them - but that's formula 1.


Virgin is from the lower formula LOL


Like Manor Motorsport T/A Virgin Racing


You might want to check your facts before making statements such as that...

Lotus...well leaving aside whether they're the REAL Lotus or not (I for one think they have every right to be treated as such as they have the support of the Chapman family) they were set up by a Motorsport fan and are staffed by mostly ex-Toyota they have plenty of racing pedigree in the organisation.

Virgin...set up by Nick Wirth and Manor Motorsport who have succesfully competed in lower formulae albeit only with such lowly drivers as Lewis Hamilton...

HRT...was set up by Adrian Campos of Campos Racing before it was bought and renamed as Hispania and their car was designed and built by Dallara... I don't think it's fair to criticise their lack of racing credentials. I don't think they're doing that bad as teams in their first year, especially Lotus and I think they could surprise us in the next couple of seasons.

Just a final note, everyone always loved Minardi when they were in F1, yet they were often last, sometimes as far off the pace of the front runners as the new 2010 teams are.


Well done Adrian, totally agree with you.


Yes a few of them are offshoots of F3 teams - my mistake there. By graduate though, I had graduating with lower formula success in mind, not just the odd podium in F3.

What I roughly expect is kind of like Super Aguri in 2006. They began from a standing start and scored a top 10 finish by year's end. You might say, "they had Honda funding!". Sure, but that's possibly what it takes to make yourself worthwhile.

Some of the reaction here is so typical. I want to see the front runners race each other and have to pull out banzai laps like Alonso was doing on OLD tyres, not racing a group of F3 standard teams with lawnmower engines!


Di Montezemolo needs to put a sock in it. I'm an avid supporter of Ferrari and I hope that Alonso wins the title this year, but he cant keep banging on about the new teams. They've made massive steps forward in the past few races, each of them finding two or three seconds of pace in just 8 races. This had to be commended, especially Hispania, they've really developed what is frankly a donkey cart of a car!

At the end of the day, the slower teams are new and need to start somewhere. With no in season testing and only so much running every weekend, they can only advance so fast. Alonso has the tallent to get past back markers with no problems.

Ultimnately Mclaren were the quicker car in Montreal, and one way or another, Hamilton and probably Button would have nipped past Alonso somewhere.

Prof Bolshaviks

Maybe de montezemolo has forgotton that last year Badoer, in a Ferrari, was less convincing and slower than some some of these teams this year.


Well Felippe Massa had his accident, testing is banned, Schumi was unavailable - so it was either run with one car or give someone ill-prepared a drive.

That's not the same as winning a tender for a spot on the grid 9-12 months earlier then turning up at race one and being 8-10 seconds off the pace!


Ok to what you say, but Hispania should not have been there in the first place. So Montezemolo is right.


Agreed! New teams have to start somewhere, and what a disadvantage not to be able to test!

As for the blue flags, I believe there is a safety aspect to them, particularly when backmarkers are engaged with their own battles, and I don't understand the reasoning for abandoning them.


Agreed - I'm getting well sick of hearing this from Di Montezemolo.

A full field is best for the F1 spectator, not that he seems to care about that at all.

As noted above, I think the imprpvement these teams have made without the benefit of in-season testing is highly praiseworthy.


He is not...he only wants three car teams and is using this to get on the stage...and if you look at all the stupid politics in F1 ...this is VERY mild.

Zobra Wambleska

In fact both Jenson and Lewis did passed Alonso and they had the same back markers to contend with. Fernando just can't help himself when he feels put upon and has to whine about something. He's been a good racer in the past and has had flashes of brilliance this season, but he's made an unusually large number of major mistakes this year. Hearing him now go on about traffic is just tedious; he shouldn't need a clear track to show his speed and race craft.


Alonso can consider going rally traffic, just his car against the clock 🙂


Could have, would have, should have!! Excuses! If he had the pace he would have been able to re-pass Button and fight Hamilton, but he couldnt. IMO the part of the race when Hamilton was 2nd and Alonso 1st, Hamilton was pacing Alonso, waiting for later in the race to try to pass him. Hamilton had more pace in his pocket, just like when Jenson made a push, and Lewis answered right back.

ALl Ferrari can do these days is cry, shut up and get on with it! Show everybody that they can win by winning!


Dear Luca di Montezemolo,

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

Yours Kindly,



It's not about who won the canadian grand prix result. No question about Hamilton's pace & win at the grand prix. However, there are huge number of people involved in F1 shares the same view as the Ferrari Boss. The team selection process was very poor for this season. The fall out of USF1 is the key example. There are way too many cars on track. F1 being the biggest motor sport event ultimately makes our expectations high about new team's performance. The pace all the teams have shown so far aren't just good enough. Ferrari boss comes out a bit harsh at times, but he is right about the new teams. Their pace is worse than the pace shown by Hamilton, Rosberg, Piquet in GP2. There are numerous other racing catagories for the teams to choose from for them to get ready for F1. F1 is not a field of experiment. Of course there will always be teams that are not as fast as the big teams. Take force india for example. They were the backmarkers only a couple of years back. But their pace wasn't 6/7 seconds per lap off the leader's pace. That's why they didn't cause any unexpected traffic and destroy bigger team's race in the process. The new teams in 2010 gets lapped by lap 10!!! Modern F1 deserves better than that.

F1 has come a long way in terms of reliability, aerodynamics, engine & technology. The new teams making it look like F1 is going backwards, not forward. If there is anybody to blame my first pick would the FIA team selection committee.


Oh come on, small slow teams have always got in the way of the leaders, this isn't a new thing. Don't you remember Ferrari in the early to mid nineties? I can remember one race where parts were literally falling off Schumacher's Ferrari in 1996; no contact with anyone else, no incident, they just fell off the car. Were you calling for Ferrari to be forced out of the sport then I wonder?

Ferrari are always banging on about things that need to be changed the day after they don't win a race, and it's always apparently for the good of the sport. If Alonso had won on Sunday because Hamilton and Button had been held up by backmarkers do you seriously think di Montezemolo would be saying this now?

michael grievson

I agree. Ferrari need to start looking internally for their lack of performance over the last couple of years.


The small detail is the fact without slow car in front LH and JB were not able to pass Alonso. McLaren was opportunistic and took advantage of their opportunities. Alonso did managed to pass LH before he made to pit. Another Fact.


What happened to Alonso is akin to what happens to all of us on a 2 or 3 lane motorway. If some one in your lane slows down, all the cars in the other lanes that you passed before go right by you again.

Skill has nothing to do with it.


Hamilton passed Alonso round and square, Alonso can blame Buemi for this one. Actually Alonso could have used Buemi to gain some precious seconds, like Hamilton did when Hamilton passed Webber and had Alonso wasting time.

Too much crying from Ferrari!


Still, it is not fair that some peoples' race is affected by back markers and others' isnt (or is, to a lesser extent). I understand that it introduces an element of unpredictability and potentially makes the spectacle more entertaining, but a true sport is only true if the playing field is level and the result is the product of one's ability and skil. It is otherwise more akin to gambling (poker is not a sport, even though it does require some skill).

In the end, it is clear that the new teams are significantly slower.

As for an argument paddled above by others, about their links to older guises (Chapman's Lotus of the very distant past), or current F3 teams, it seems irrelevant, as it is not the same team migrating upwards, but new and only very distantly related teams that share very little in terms of facilities, expertise and resources. The F3 teams still exist as F3 teams.

As far as I am concerned, these new teams dilute the brand of F1 so that a few people can make a splash in the newspapers and promote their various brands/products.


Is it only me that would like luca to shhhush up? (putting it as nice as possible) his view that F1 is ferrari is pretty infuriating thesedays. Alonso needs to moan less, there is the same (changeable) conditions for all drivers to deal with; its not some anti ferrari pact. If they are banned from racing, they will fade out of the sport, sponsors will leave without TV exposure (or never join); talking about how things were in the past does not help because the entry barrier in to F1 is stupidly high thesedays and the TV time is needed to attact finance. the worst thing is its teams like ferrari (all though not only them) that created this environment, now they have to live with it or let the sport decline because of reduced teams.

Martin Collyer

No Rich, you are not the only one who thinks LDM should shush up.

In no particular order, he has wanted to run a third car, reintroduce testing (has everyone forgotten why testing was banned?) have a Ferrari run by an American team (this sounds like reintroducing customer cars) and now get rid of the new teams.

Anything else you would like Luca?

BTW, if Luca is so confident Alonso could have won in Canada, how is it that he finished 7 seconds behing Button and 9 seconds behind Hamilton?

Many others have pointed out that Button and Hamilton had no problems lapping slower cars, perhaps Luca should ask Alonso why he struggled so much with such a fundamental aspect of racing.


Being an Alonso fan I really struggled watching how 3rd parties interfere into the great Alonso vs. Macca fight. On the other hand Nando should have been a bit more efficient when lapping GP2 guests to F1. No one should be expecting that Hispanias etc would be rushing out of the king's path like crazy.


Very well balanced comment. It's easy to not be so balanced when it's your fav driver that's effected.


Put a big red horsie logo on them and only wave them when Ferrari must be allowed to pass.

Crid [CridComment at gmail]

Exactly, rich. If we need blue flags, why don't we just get rid of the teams who get blue flagged? Let's just have race between the five cars everyone likes. Or the two cars. Or let's just pass the trophy to whoever leads turn one.


No no no.

For the 'good of the sport', the winning trophy should always be given to the reddest car.


Ah yes, Indy in 2006, I think?


James, I didn't vote as I think they should leave them as they are.


Should there be a third option of "Keep the system more-or-less as it is?"?

The blue flag rules are far stricter than they once were, and there are less problems as a result. Drivers who are about to be lapped tend to be co-operative nowadays, which generally allows the cars that are lapping them get on with their own races. The blue flag rule does sometimes cause drivers being lapped to lose a position, so perhaps more lenience does need to be shown if the lapped drivers are having their own battle.

Fernandes' suggestion, if implemented, would undoubtedly lead to allegations of collusion between drivers/teams.


Well said mate. Abandoning the blue flag will be as bad (if not worse) of a decision as no refuelling this season.

Crid [CridComment at gmail]

> Fernandes’ suggestion, if implemented, would

> undoubtedly lead to allegations of collusion

> between drivers/teams.

You say that as if it would be a problem!

But aren't there already alliances and friendships that show up in fifth gear? Blue flags don't solve this "problemm", they ignore it.

I *want* the drama of teams getting along and not getting along.

The most fascinating moment in Montreal last weekend was the hug between Alonso and Ham before the ceremony. These guys seem to have realized that each is as ferocious and cold-hearted as the other... It's fascinating.

Yeah, collusion... Bring it on!


I would welcome the elimination of blue flags entirely. Not for some misplaced sense of nostalgia but because it would keep the race interesting in the final stages, and force the designers of top teams to place a higher focus on overtaking.

Basically, I think it would improve the spectacle.

Of course though, there is a high danger that different backmarkers could treat different front runners differently which could affect race results.

I wonder what the drivers would think about such a change...


I would rather abandone some of the stewards this season & welcome back refuelling rather than elimating blue flag.


You're right, and that was the case in the 1980's. Some drivers would move right out of the way, while others (Arnoux!) would sit on the racing line, lap after lap.

I remember in 1993 Schumacher almost lost his second GP victory at Estoril because he could not get past the Sauber of Lehto to lap it in the closing stages.

How about this: Lapped cars MUST let faster cars through at the start/finish straight if they are immediately behind, but through the rest of the circuit it's up to lapping driver to execute a racing overtake if he wants to get through?


I'd favor allowing drivers to race even when being lapped, with no blue flags. It'd tend to prevent the field spreading out as much, increasing the chances of seeing passes for position as well.

That said, until the rules were changed, I also favor enforcing the blue flag rule better. We shouldn't have rules that are only enforced sometimes, and unevenly. The rules should *always* be enforced while they exist, and if they aren't being enforced, they should be stricken from the books altogether.

Prof Bolshaviks

But then drivers are fighting for position with people who they aren't fighting for position. Such paradoxes lead to the end of the universe.


That's true, but really, why does it matter? It applies to everybody equally, so it is still fair. Arguably, it's fairer because the backmarkers don't have to dive out of the way in the middle of their own battle, possibly causing themselves to lose a place against their rival in the process of letting a frontrunner through.

More to the point, though, we as fans would see more of cars fighting each other, where previously we'd have seen cars diving offline because a flag got waved.)

Yes, they wouldn't be passes for race position -- but they'd still be passes for track position, and would likely go some way in satisfying those who whine about F1 not having enough overtaking. (They'd also make it harder for the frontrunners to gain a massive lead over their nearest rivals, increasing the likelihood of a pass for position in the process.)


Apart from Lotus the new teams add nothing to F1 apart from giving the top teams some back markers to lap. But they still have a right to be there.

di Montezemolo is pushing his 3rd car idea, which is a terrible idea for F1.

Blue flags are fine as they are.

No blue flags would be a step backwards. Massa had a poor race with no blue flags he could have blocked the McLaren's and ruined their race to help Alonso. Monaco would be a line of fast cars all stuck behind the slowest car.

Alonso got mugged twice lapping a car. Maybe he needs to wake up, and use his mirrors more!

Lapped traffic is part of F1. One of Mika Hakkinen best overtakes on Schumacher was in Spa while they were lapping a slow car.


Apart from the 'right to be there' comment I agree with you on just about everything else you said mate.

3rd car idea is the worst possible idea for F1. Ferrari has enough money to buy another team. That would be a better idea than the 3rd car. Red Bull, Honda both owned two teams and raced each other without any problem. A team like HRT would worth just about the same as the 2nd hand Ferrari engine.


That was 2000 - would it still have happened with todays rules?

The point is they are trying to eliminate ANY interference from lapped traffic; if you want the element of unpredictability, get rid of the flags altogether.


I think this smacks of sour grapes on the part of Ferrari - it's not like they are unique in having to deal with back markers - the fact that Alonso was not able to do so without allowing himself to be overtaken (twice) would be more of a concern (to me at least).


I can't agree with Luca. In every class of motor sport the ability to deal with slower cars is an essential skill. The only reason this is an issue for F1 is because in resent seasons the field has been so close that Lapping became infrequent, even with the new teams the spread of lap times is not extreme, we've had far greater differences in the past.

All the top teams and drivers have to deal with the same back markers so no one is disadvantaged more that his opponents. If the Ferrari is that much faster over take!


If blue flags were abandoned perhaps the teams would have more of an incentive to ensure overtaking was easier...


Another laughable example of Ferrari's arrogant right-to-win delusion. It's Alonso's job to pass the backmarkers, not theirs to let him past - Button and Hamilton managed it without problem. Seems to me that the 'errors' Montezemolo refers to was his own driver's.

David Jerromes

Totally agree!

Perhaps Alonso's car should be fitted with SUV-style mirrors, then he won't get overtaken when trying to do the same thing.....

Canadian F1 Fan


It is getting a bit tiresome isn't it?


Ferrari should stop moaning - it's the same for everyone. It's their own fault for feeding Alonso back into traffic.

I didn't vote on the poll, as there was no option for 'leave it as is - there's no problem' 🙂


I would vote a third option - leave it as it is. It's the same scenario for all drivers - and winning a race requires you to pass back markers. Hamilton (and every other driver) could equally argue that their passing of back markers in the laps leading up to that point also cost them time.

If Trulli wasn't shown any blues, then perhaps there needs to be an investigation into why not, but I think this is Ferrari looking for a moan more than anything else.

As you say, passing back markers has been in there as long as there has been racing., and we've survived this long!

David Hamilton

So... Luca wants all of the teams to be as well funded as Ferrari so they can go as quick? Or maybe that wasn't what he meant!

Personally, I think it's great that they have allowed the smaller teams back into Formula 1. Mosely's plan to make F1 more professional by excluding the minnows didn't work (like many of his ideas) and merely made it duller.

Now can we go back to allowing teams to choose their car numbers? I really miss the classic numbers like 27 & 28.


In a couple of seasons, maybe Ferrari will deserve those numbers once more.

It would serve Luca Di Moan-ti-zemolo right for all his wingeing.


Hi James.

I have had problems accessing the site but it's worth it for your insite into the whole F1 scene. Keep up the good work.


They should look at the improvement rates and set some kind of criteria. Lotus show nice development rate whilst others are struggling. I would be happier to see third cars which are compatitive and can add to the excitment than good drivers such as Glock to suffer in slow cars. Its not good for the sport and not good for the drivers. Give them time frame and if they can improve let them stay if they can`t replace them by third cars of Ferrari, Mclaren, M ercedes, Red Bull etc.


As a Ferrari fan, even I must admit that Luca's recent spouts are an utter disgrace not only to F1, but for the brand Ferrari...

For as long as I can remember F1 has had slower back marker teams - heck even Luca's new wonder boy Alonso started in one of those backmarker teams - Minardi.. This was even the reason for the 107% qualifying rule in the first place. At worst, perhaps this rule should be reintroduced/enforced - but to say we should lose these teams altogether is utterly disgraceful. If anything, I think we should be encouraging as many new teams as possible, provided they can actually make it to the grid - unlike a certain USF1.. I'd even go so far as to say if that meant single car teams then so be it.. Going along these lines, the apparent delays from the FIA in announcing the approved entrant(s) for next year is also disgraceful - the longer the FIA leave it, the higher the chance of failure for any new team, and the lower the chance of producing a reasonably reliable and quick package that is actually competitive...

If Luca is so adamant that only the fastest cars should remain on the grid, does he also concede that after Hungary last year, Ferrari should have only fielded 1 car for the balance of the season??? Badoer was certainly no faster compared to the rest last year than Lotus was compared to the rest in Canada..

I see all this as purely a spout off to try and get the 3rd car introduced, or perhaps even customer cars... However, based on what we have seen from Lotus, and a certain degree from Virgin there is no need for this approach to "save" F1... F1 is doing perfectly fine with the new teams.. I expect in a few seasons time, they will all be closely matched anyway..

Maybe that's exactly the problem here - Luca inherently feels threatened and thinks that perhaps the new teams are damaging the "Ferrari prestige" by managing to compete in the same series but on a much smaller budget and with vastly reduced resources... Thus he is trying to discount their efforts and devalue their worth...

Either way the recent propaganda that he has been spouting really must stop because it does nothing more than paint Ferrari with a bright scarlet spoilt-bratish impotence...


I don't think any of the new teams are anywhere close to the 107% qualifying cut off that used to be in the rule book.

Ferrari are flapping more as the three new teams improve. The funny thing is that they seem to be the only team which feels threatened enough to bad-mouth them.

I think that the three new teams have added to the spectacle, not lessened it. I will be cheering for them all to get out of Q1.

With the rule changes coming next season, the in-built advantage of the big teams will be eroded further as their aerodynamic howto books need to be re-written, and the grid will reshuffle. With the expected thawing of engine development in 2012, maybe this will shuffle the grid even further.

Go Lotus, Virgin and HRT (even if their acronym does have an unfortunate alternate meaning).

Luca - please put a sock in it and let your cars do the talking on the track.


In Canada's Q1 all except Chandhok were within 107%, in fact they were around the 105% mark. That's the only session you can compare in. It worth noting the Chandhok did not get a competitive lap (mechanical problem?)


Very good point about Badoer.


Should di Montezemolo not perhaps be more concerned with why his driver couldn't get past the backmarkers when both Hamilton and Button had no trouble?


Of course it helps having an extra 5mph (over Ferrari and everyone else) on the straights for Button and Hamilton to pass them.


Alonso was asleep behind the backmarkers.

Many racers --Schumi, Hamilton and indeed Massa were able to make gains through traffic.


Oh dear. Suck it up Luca, all 24 cars have to deal with traffic, not just your precious little red ones.


Stop Whining what i say!

Why should anyone have to get out the way? It is after all a race. The drivers should be able to make a pass if they're as good as we're led to believe.

Undoubtedly there will be times they get held up by traffic but thats part of racing. At other times they'll get through and the chaser will get stuck so it will even out as Alonso said.

On another note if F1 wants to appeal to the U.S fans/audience IMO it would be better to drop the blue flags. as i dont think they have them in any of their forms of motorsport and could therefore make more appreciative.


Lapping backmarkers is part and parcel of motor racing... And besides the pace of these new teams is similar to Minardis as recent as in the beginning of the 2000s. And also I think they're beginning to more or less qualify within 107% now?

Romeo ( MEX in USA)

Pole was 1'15.889 and 107% 1'21.20 then 24th Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:27.757 only car out.


Is there really anything that *doesn't* enrage Alonso, while simultaneously causing him to lose races? Everywhere he has been, there have been occasionally brilliant performances book ended by those "wins" derailed by his teammates, or his engine, or his tires.

I mean c'mon, problems with lapped traffic are as old as racing itself.

Maybe if Alonso showed a bit more discipline and intestinal fortitude in hanging the car out in qualifying, he wouldn't be pointing fingers after the race about the situations he finds himself in.


Technical feedback so no need to display. I access the site a lot from iPhone, however, it seems a bit hit and miss in how the page is displayed, i.e sometimes it appears in mobile view, which is great, while at others times, it appears in regular view, which, while ok, isn't as good as the mobile view. Is this something that can be sorted at your end or is it a user settings issue?


Surely it's only because Ferrari have been so long in the sport that they are making these comments as they have not built a team and car from scratch in modern F1 and if anything should be more sympathetic to the new teams causes. Unfortunately it's seems they feel they have grandfather rights on the sport. At the end of the day all teams have the same issue with traffic and it's a shame to hear a team with such great heritage and passion quite frankly be so mardy.


STFU Alonso. And Montezemolo as well.


WOW that is special ...


This is a tough one.

History has shown that there have been times when slower teams have had an even greater disparity with the front runners.

Do we still have the 107% qualifying rule?

I know it is a completely different type of race but endurance classes often have massive differences in track speed but, for the most part, deal with it.

In this particular instance, it sounds like sour grapes because Alonso (who likes a moan - not my fault etc...) was soundly beaten in the strategic elements of the McLaren overtakes and frankly should have done better with his decision making at the time.

Both JB & LH had to deal with traffic as well but perhaps they did it better or their teams had a better strategy to get them out in clearer air after their stops etc... Many factors but it is all swings and roundabouts - you don't hear Ferrari complement external factors when all is going well.

Much like Gordon Brown being the saviour of the world when the economy was in fine fettle yet it was someone elses fault when the proverbial hit the fan.


di Montezemolo needs to stop complaining about everything, Ferrari's marketing dept must cringe after every one of his outbursts.

What needs to be looked at is how FOTA can help the new teams develop, I think the bottom 6 teams should be given extra tyres for a race weekend that must be used in practice sessions, this would give them more testing and at least have something going around the track early in practice sessions.

Also the new teams are generally going to have drivers that need all the miles they can get under their belt.

re: site access, the main thing is JA.F1.Tweets often times out or fails to refresh properly, not updating the feed, not sure if thats something you or twitter controls though.


Also, it would give the new tyre supplier valuable testing information.


It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to keep blue flags if you want to "encourage" overtaking. By having to overtake slower cars to be lapped we should be able to force teams to optimize their cars around overtaking rather than getting maximum aerodynamic efficiency when no car is in front assuming that you'll do fine once you get out to front, because there will always be cars in front of you


In Canada the race control staff were blue flagging the wrong cars too. Here's an example when Webber was leading from Hamilton and Alonso :

And this incorrectly happened a handful of times for separate cars. James, what does a driver do in these cases? Does he confirm back with pit radio about position or just ignore the flags? Surely just thinking and not pulling ahead while confirming position with pit crew can cost the leader when incorrectly blue flagged.


When I was racing single seaters in the 1970's, the blue flag was explained to us as "someone is trying to pass you", not "get out of the way".

From Appendix H:

d) Light Blue flag:

This should normally be waved, as an indication to a driver that he is about to be overtaken. It has different meanings during practice and the race.

At all times :

- A stationary flag should be displayed to a driver leaving the pits if traffic is approaching on the track.

During practice :

- Give way to a faster car which is about to overtake you.

During the race :

- The flag should normally be shown to a car about to be lapped and, when shown, the driver concerned must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity.

(Weasel word alert: "normally". Also, no mention of qualifying.)


That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing! Do these apply to F1 too? So was the blue flag waved correctly in this case?


The only way you will get rid of this problem is have race length tracks. If the track is 200 miles long, or there abouts, you will never have back marker worries.

However, Motorsport is circular. A lapped car, while a leader is not racing them, is still a part of the race and part of the track just as is a corner or a chicane.

The lapped drivers shouldn't obviously be blocking race leaders, but it is also the leaders job to negotiate them effectively. It's always been a trick for one of two leading cars to use the lapped car as a way of defending or attacking. Lapped cars often also tag onto lappers to aid overtaking.

It's an interesting part of racing, and once again Luca is complaining because he believes Ferrari simply deserve accolade and achievement without actually earning it.

Sometimes it's luck or lack of but on the whole, it's the same for everyone.


Exactly! Any decent racer would tell you that using a lapped car to pass or defend is a crucial skill to have.


Of course Ferrari have never designed a dog of a car that held anyone up!


Your right there because they used to blow up before the frontrunners reached them to lap them 🙂


Whatever skills and strengths the rest of the team have they are blighted by being led by an idiot who cannot seem to stop opening his mouth to remind us of just how much of an idiot he is.

I cringe when I think how much Monte, Schumacher and the Toad have ruined a team I used to admire.


At the end of the day it's a race. Alonso is experienced enough to know what to do around backmarkers, and what not to do. Twice he let himself get caught up, and the McLarens (who did not make the same mistake) took advantage.

I'm with Tony Fernandes at the end of the day - it's about racing, and if drivers cannot pass backmarkers without the aid of blue flags, it's quite sad!

Midnight Toper

Shameful behaviour by Luca over the past couple of years. I am starting to think that MM had a point when he branded him "mad" at the height of talks over the breakaway series.

He has been on a personal crusade to field a 3rd car for quite some time now and is clearly hammering the new teams in order to fulfill his objectives. Also, claiming that the barcode was purely aesthetic and did not represent subliminal advertising was blatantly dishonest of him.

The fact of the matter is that Alonso made several mistakes and a win is not guaranteed until you cross the finish line. I would respect Ferrari a lot more if they slammed Alonso for not delivering...again, its quite pathetic. Same principle applies for Red Bull with regards to Vettel.

The more I read into events behind the scenes of F1 the more I fall out of love with it. There's too much infighting, mixed agenda's (KERS discussion, tyre suppliers, F-Ducts) and continued meddling.

F1 is in danger of becoming impotent with the likes of the Sporting Working Group which is clearly an arena to shaft each other and represent personal interests. Ruling by committee does not work, you just have to look at BP for a prime example.


Theres too much collusion on tech developments.

They all have this attitude of "omg we can't make X work so FOTA should agree not to use it."

Can't teams just decide *not to go along and to use whatever they've got?

Isn't FOTA just an anti-competitive cartel?

michael grievson

That's a very good point.


Alonso has been getting a great deal of criticism from people on this site, but the fact of the matter is that he is not that far behind the championship leader.

The behind the scenes fighting has been around F1 for a long time. It's what helps to keep the F1 press employed.

Midnight Toper

I wasn't criticising Alonso, however he has made several high profile mistakes and I think it sets a bad example to blame others. Had it not been for Alonso's mistakes I am sure he could be leading the championship right now.

Vettel refusing to apologise was also rather unsporting of him and sets a bad example to teenagers who look up to these drivers as role models.

I am not a fan of this modern era of sycophantic team bosses who seem to pander after their drivers. I don't think it would hurt Alonso if Ferrari kept him on his toes a little.


Alonso brought Santander money. Ferrari can't keep him on his toes. In fact, it is the other way around.


what about the good old days of the 107% rule? We can all see now why it existed.


Talk of the 107% rule is irrelevant. The 107% time in Montreal was 1.20.35, which all cars were under, except Chandhok, who was 9 seconds over and must have had a problem.

All cars under the 107% rule would have been allowed to start.


I personally don't think you could have a 107% rule when there are three stages to qualifying. What time would count as the 107% time, final pole or the leader after each session. Also it means that someone who crashes out in q3 can't race.

As for the blue flags, i like the idea that it should be the responsibility of the quicker car to make the move when overtaking a lapped car. Whilst the lapped car should not defend the position he should be able to drive around the circuit reasonably on line until the quicker car finds the right spot to overtake.


James - even if the 107% rule had been active, I don't think it would have ever caused a car to miss the grid this year. Am I correct in this statement?


Lewis qualified in a time of: 1:15.105

Di Grassi in 23rd set a time of: 1:19.675

107% time would have been: 1:20.362

The only person outside of 107% was Chandhok who only managed one quali lap, well off the pace. Ths 107% rule would not have helped.

Luca really does need to stop whining.


That is the way it should be!


But they're almost always within the 107% rule anyway...


Thats no use. Everyone except Chandhok was inside 7% anyway.


Only one driver would have fallen outside the 107% rule this race, and in many of the qualifying sessions, this season, all the cars have made the 107% times. It only goes to show that despite Ferrari's complaints these new teams are not going as slowly as many of the new teams that went into F1 when the rule existed.


Thing is; for Canada everyone except Chandhok set a qualifying time within 107% of the pole time - and he had a car problem, else he would of done too.

The current backmarkers are far faster than the ones of days gone by and can easily lap within 107% of the leaders times.

Crid [CridComment at gmail]

Luca Montezemolo is wrong about this... Excuse me— Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is wrong about this. Being titled nobility is part of the problem.

The blue flags are the worst part of formula one right now. Somehow, being on the lead lap means not having to worry about life's usual chores, just as being a nobleman means having a valet to clean your clothes and wash your dishes. It's preposterous!

I sincerely believe this is a problem that stems from the European origins of this series. Many fans are used to that kind of thinking, that there's a special class of humanity which shouldn't be bothered with everyday work. But this attitude is antithetical to the sporting mentality.

James, you're British, right? Watch Wimbledon next week... You'll notice that they don't take down the net in Centre Court for the final match, as if those players had proved they didn't need to be bothered with it.

So why are Lewis and Jense and Marc excused from having to earn their passes of Karun and Bruno?

People complain bitterly about the lack of overtaking in F1, and endlessly rewrite the aerodynamics, as if there was some very precious encounter being sought.... And then weekend after weekend, the blue flags take the heart out of the sport!

All of these backmarker teams are showing up every week, and their cars are just as pretty as the leaders'. And more to the point, they're being *paid* to be there. Why shouldn't we get more entertainment from them?

And that goes for the political side, too. I think it would be great if Schumacher had to show a little respect to Alguesuari in the paddock for fear that he might hold him up in the race: "Here, Jaime, let me freshen up that coffee for you. One lump or two?"


I think it's absolutely ludicrous to get rid of blue flags - why penalise a driver for driving fast? He opens a gap to his actual competition, and then gets held up because of a lapped car for a lap or two, his competition catches up, and he has to start again or even worse, gets passed while trying to pass them? Of course a boss of one of the new teams would propose this option, this would give his team more exposure as the fast cars are trying to pass, hence giving his sponsors more exposure which will of course help him get more sponsors...


part of me says they should get the hell outta the way but then it makes for great oportunistic overtaking like we saw. Perhaps Alonso was complacent about being gifted track position and should have been more wiley.

the flag system is flawed in as much as it still causes problems so perhaps it should be canned and make the drivers work for it (even more). any driver knows that holding up a faster car will slow you down as you drive defensively and nobody would do it intentionally... unless they had an axe to grind.

i guess if someone is thought to have intentionally held someone up and cost them a place then penalise them, but the drivers at the sharp end of the field should know how to deal with it.


It saddens me that still Luca and Ferrari cannot be gratious in defeat and blame others. Both times Alinso caught backmarkers he was indescisive and that was what lost him time. Backmarkers should of course move out of the way but you can't seriously expect the to leap off the track as soon as a Ferrari comes close.

Luca's and Ferrari's sore loser attitude makes it very hard for me to keep supporting them.


Luca Di M really need to shut up about this. It's getting really old.

If the standard of teams to participate is front runner status, it's an impossible standard. It's ridiculous to expect the new teams to immediately be on pace with the existing teams. There is a steep learning curve (and price) to racing in F1. Personally, I think the value of additional teams far outweighs the short-term downside of a few slow cars.


I totally disagree, both with Tony Fernandez and Luca Di Montezemolo.

Without blue flag it's silly and dangerous, giving the opportunity the drivers and teams to unfair behaviours. F1 and motorsport (sport, if this word has still a meaning) are not a Risiko, altough Mr Ecclestone would like such situation a lot. What I mean? Imagine the second car of a top team slowing down and then keeping back the race leader, imagine the most silly vendettas of a driver against another, imagine minor teams "helping" their supplier and obstacling their competitors in primacy.

Who is not lapped can resist, who is lapped must stay apart and has to be signalled.


The poll should have a third option: leave them as it is.


But traffic gave us probably the best overtaking moment in the entire Mika vs. Michael battle.

It's a constant, all drivers face it. In my opinion, learn the skills to cope with it.

Add it adds a bit more uncertanty, which is a good thing.



Hi James,

I really enjoy the blog and always check in to see what is happening (although I haven't posted in a while).

I was just wondering if we could have some more of your travelogue-esque posts (I remembered one in particular and looked it up -'Flat out in the Straits'- 31/3/09)? I know it's a big ask with all the other contributions you are making, but I (and i'm sure others) really enjoy hearing what it is like following the F1 circus around - it's a life we can only dream of!




Maybe Alonso needs to knock a couple of back markers off the track - I bet they'll move out the way PDQ next time they see a red car appear in their mirrors.

As far as Luca and his opinions are concerned, I tend to file them in the "ignore the crazy old man" category along with any interviews with Max and Bernie.

Leave the blue flags alone.


Overtaking back markers is not just part and parcel of racing, it is specifically one of the elements of a race which allows one driver to gain an advantage of another. Shumacher was a specialist at dispatching backmarkers (though he rarely had to deal with ones as unforgiving as himself!).

The blue flag in principle only means "Look behind you!!" but due to a sequence of races where close running front runners were then separated by backmarkers who weren't very co-operative, (Shumacher vs Hakkinen era I think) they introduced the 3 blue flags rule (weren't there also issues of gamesmanship between allied teams?). With the problem aero of the last few years, front runners became very dependent on being let past, though this year the running behind problem seems to have disappeared.

McLaren gained for two reasons - they read the race and deliberately pitted their drivers into clear air - that option was available to Ferrari but they didn't take it - and then when taking a back marker, which Button and Hamilton had to do several times with other drivers on their tail, the trick was not to sit behind them, but drive past them.

When Alonso was passed by Button he seemed to be inept in two ways: firstly he sat behind a slower car - perhaps thinking he would get a tow, rather than making a move. The HRT sat tight and stayed close to the edge of the track assuming he would be passed. Then Alonso passed, but then oddly jinked right back across the track as Button was behind him. I think then he had essentially used his one move when being overtaken and Button simply breezed past. Why he didn't keep to a more defensive position I don't know, it's like he opened the door rather than failed to close it!

In the end, the answer really was that Alonso was a lot less competitive than he pretended, the McLarens had lots of pace so they could happily defend by keeping a small gap. Alonso was driving near the pace of his car and had nothing left when under attack. Ferrari were flattered by the finish, and their supposed 0.7 modification will bring them up to Red Bull and McLaren, not beyond them.

As long as the rolling roadblocks are fair, as long as they are equally incompetent if you like, then backmarkers add to racing rather than detract.


Ferrari are the sorest losers of all time in F1. They keep proving this over and over again with their comments.

If they could win, why couldn't Alonos keep up with Button in the final part of the race while no backmarkers were in between?

And the backmarkers also slow down the others, Alonso should think more when overtaking them.

Let the guys show they are really overtaking instead of just driving behind them and expecting the lapped car to dissolve in thin air.



I think this is getting a bit too much to take it lying down as far as any well wisher of the sport is concerned.

Can the small teams sue Mr. Full Monty?

In no other sport have I seen so much public defamation of the opponents as this. Almost every sportsperson interview is absolutely respectful of the fellow competitors, once they are off the ground, field, track, whatever.

This really is absolutely ridiculous.

I think our perenial producer of the famous Sour Grapes is simply having too much production this year.


Lapping is part of racecraft, as is anticipating potential outcomes/problems with backmarkers before they happen - Alonso showed he was the master of neither on Sunday.


The issue seems pretty clear - go back to the days of hard tires and no pitstops. When I used to go to races in the 70's there was passing everywhere in part because there was no clag/marbles on either side of the racing line. This gave drviers the ability to make some daring passes that thrilled all. One hard tire, tanks filled to the brim and all driver skill makes for great racing.

Tony fernandes

Hi everyone. Tony here. My view is that anything which would make the race more unpredictable should be encouraged. Drivers are paid lots and if they can't overtake back markers then are they racers . Look at alonso at monte carlo. He came all the way from the back in a circuit that's tough to overtake and arguably the best part of the race. NASCAR and Indy don't have it. Jim clarke and ken tyrell didn't have it. Even if we were in the front I would encourage it. It's racing and racing means overtaking the front and the back. Swee you all at James alleys forum in a few weeks


Luca is a complete idiot, how someone with his lack of intelligence has got to such a position amazes me.

As others have said, the ability to pass a slower car in motorsport is an essential skill and all of the drivers have the same obsticles to contend with.

Imaging what Luca would be saying 20 years ago... The time difference between fastest and slowest cars then was even bigger.

Also, the new teams are just as important as the established teams... How can he expect any new team to come in and be straight on the pace? The man is a complete fool and F1 would be a much better place without him.


Back markers (moving chicanes) are all part and parcel of racing and at times their fighting for position can be a very exciting part of the action.

The lack of ability to pass anything on the track surely indicates that there needs to be something done urgently to change the aero regulations rather than whingeing that only the richest should be allowed to take part.

It's about time Luca fell off that high horse and knocked some sense into his head.


It sure does say a lot about the quality of Ferrari and Alonso if they have such trouble passing GP2 cars.


LOL ! Good point!


In the aftermath of the 1999 San Marino Grand Prix, David Coulthard alleged that Olivier Panis cost him victory in the race.

The response in certain quarters was highly sympathetic, with one publication even going so far as to quote a psychologist who suggested that lapped cars were more likely to move over for Schumacher's Ferrari because red provoked a stronger reaction than the grey of the McLaren.


Ditch the blue flags and put the onus on the faster cars to pass. The slower cars just end up going backwards, they can take half a lap to clean their tyres up after having to leap out of the way for the leaders. Perhaps then the one line nonsense would be sorted.

The backmarkers are racing too.


With Luca going about this for quite some time he must have an agenda. Could it be money? With 3 cars they would get a larger slice of the Bernie money instead of it going to HRT etc.


It's all rather pathetic of Luca di Montezemolo to be complaining about the smaller teams. The fact is, they're in everyone's way, not just Ferrari's way...rather like a rainy race day affects all drivers not just Ferrari drivers. I feel sorry for any Ferrari fans who must be embarrassed by the Ferrari media machine.

It must be hard enough for the new teams without the most well known team on the grid giving them a hard time for simply being there.

I definitely welcome the new teams to the grid and I hope to see them stealing points from the prancing horse sooner than later.


Luca is 100% spot on. F1 is the pinnical of motor sport - Its not there just for some mush with a few mill in there back pocket to cruise round for the crack....

That said, credit where its due....Lotus have certainly impressed, although on their budget you would expect so...


On that premise you can look forward to a race with two or three teams, and the death of F1. The history of the sport is littered with small beginnings maturing into success.


I'm no mathematician but by my reckoning 107% of 1.15.105, Hamilton's Q3 time, is 1.20.362. Senna, 23rd, put in a 1.19.675 in Q1, comfortably inside the 107%. For various reasons Chandock's time was 1.27.757 but he managed a 1.20.879 in practice 2 when all Vettel could produce was 1.16.877. The 107% figure was 1.22.258.

This shows that the new teams have done very well indeed. But the real point is that the whole grid is much closer in performance than has been the norm over recent years.

Further, the cars eliminated in Q1 run on a ‘greener’ (moss covered according to Eddie J.) circuit so their times would not be optimum.

I think part of the problem is that the new cars are so fast. If they were significantly slower they would be much easier to overtake.

Is it that skills levels have dropped with regards to overtaking back markers? Certainly Alonso made heavy weather of passing them although other drivers seemed to find them easier. Did his team warn him of the hazard ahead? If not, why not? If so then it was his failure.

However, I’ve got to say that to an extent I agree with Monte’s point in one way. F1 is the pinnacle of motor sport. With current restrictions on design and funding the teams should be closer still. F1 grids and races is not where the teams should learn their trade. Progression should be built into the lower formulae. Having F2 a glorified Ginetta G20 series doesn’t allow teams to develop the necessary skills.

F2 should be F1 lite: lower powered engines, lesser funding, pathetic aero and narrow tyres. Progression to F1 should then be open only to the F2 WDC leading teams, depending on vacancies or similar.

Perhaps then everyone would be racing.

As for the blue flags, my tick would go into the box of keeping things as they are. Ye gods, if the drivers can’t cope with overtaking a Lotus, what are they doing there?


F1 is NOT the "pinnacle of motorsport."

LMP is.


I don't remember anyone at Ferrari complaining when the slowest cars in the track were called 'Minardi', and seemed to hold everyone up EXCEPT Ferrari... I was a Schumacher fan at the time, and even I thought it was a bit of a joke.

Well, who's laughing now?


This is already ridiculous, and Alonso is constantly blaming others for whatever happens to him. Unbearable.

So, another driver in a McLaren was perfectly able to overtake Alonso AND a backmaker, but when Alonso have a problem the whole F1 is in trouble? Ridiculous. The other Ferrari, with Massa, have no problem overtaking Sutil AND a backmaker in ONE MOVE.

On top of that, Montezemolo seems to be sure that just because of that situation Alonso was unable to win the race. Rubbish. Nonsense.

I think is time already for Alonso and Montezemolo to stop this absurd moaning for everything. I think it is time already for Alonso and Montezemolo to give us a break.

Montezemolo should invest his energy in the development of the car, as all the other teams are doing, and Alonso should concentrate in driving (he is very good at that).


As a FA supporter he should have in my opinion been much more assertive when behind traffic,Trulli was on another planet,Hamilton went for the kill,i think however FA is under enormous pressure to bring results without errors,so he may have felt slightly cautious when behind back markers,yet the Ferrari proved fast. As for LdM sometimes he engages mouth before brain and it makes Ferrari look like the moaners of the F1 paddock,championship battles are about ego(for the driver)status,and money,sponsors don,t sponsor losers.


Luca di Montezemolo should probably be focusing his attention on his Ferrari development team and why their cars are recieving less upgrades then their rivals and not the slow cars that share the paddock. Ok, they arent the fastest but he should leave it be for 12 months, if by that point the same 3 teams are still 2/3 secs behind the midtable teams, then he will have some right to complain about them.


I think the blue flag rule is fine as it is. It's too difficult to overtake in F1 so would be unfair to ask the leaders to have to pull an overtake on a backmarker without any help. Also, backmarkers shouldn't have to move out of the way any more than they do at present, they still have a race of their own to run without being penalised everytime they ignore a blue flag.


Everyone has to start somewhere. It was funny hearing Alonso moan about DiGrassi in Monaco. What do you think a young Fernando in a pishy minardi would have done circa 2001? Exactly the same as DiGrassi did! Ferrari should be more patient. In regards to the new teams "Rome wasn't built in a day". It takes time and im sure even ferrari were not up to scratch in their first season. I have no doubt that Luca's moaning is nothing more than media/political pressure in the form of another hurdle for the new teams to negotiate. He wants space on the grid for Rossi etc, he needs rid of the new teams to get what he wants.

Ted the Mechanic

I hope the result of this poll is simply out of spite towards Ferrari and not a true indication of logical thinking because abandoning blue flags will lead to anarchy on the track!

Blue flags are just as much a part of a driver's working environment as the yellow flag and has been since their earliest karting days.

Your pollsters are nuts James.

Just because you get a few drivers (and the odd team owner it seems) who have made it to F1 who fail to respect the reality of their station in F1 life is no reason to abandon an institution that is (presumably) as old as the F1 Championship itself.

Blue flags/blue lights/or blue messages sent to about-to-be-lapped drivers must remain!


OK, deep breath. Couple of points here. As you pointed out towards the end of the article, lapping cars has been a part of F1 since it began. They need to suck and deal with it, the almighty Nando should have no problem dealing with them.

I think what Montezemolo actually wants is a prancing horse light, which is illuminated on the dash of any car within 500m of a Marlboro red car. Upon the illumination of the light, the car must park at the side of the track within 3 seconds (or face disqualification from the race) and then may rejoin the track only when the aforementioned red car has passed and the light is extinguished.

I thought Alonso's whinging in the post-race press conference was a bit over the top, you can well imagine what the McLaren boys were thinking. If Alonso deserved to win he should just have overtaken the McLaren's again - there was no backmarkers stopping him from catching them up again.

In the last few seasons my opinion of Ferrari improved dramatically, in no small part to Domenicali who I think is a really decent down to earth guy. Now Montezemolo and Alonso whinging is really starting to look like the Ferrari of old again, with their "get out my undeserving little GP2 cars" attitude.

Rant over, move along 😉


The testing limitations mean that it is harder for the new teams to develop their cars. None of those teams want to be cruising around at the back of the field but it is a necessary first step for them to progress as a team and that should be respected.

I would say allow the new teams more testing but that then brings up budget issues and presumably a few of teh midfield teams objecting.

As for the blue flag situation. The only thing I can think of is to have a system on the dashboard that warns drivers that a faster car is coming (for example a yellow light) and when it gets within a set distance that light changes to blue, meaning move over now. That way slower drivers get more warning of a faster cars approaching. I am not sure how feasible that system would be but its all I could come up with.


I think Mr di Montezemolo should re think his latest outburst.

His 'star' driver (Alonso)started at Minardi a few years ago. They were a struggling team at the back. If he and the Scuderia put their thinking caps on they could use the new teams to their advantage. They have been testing Jules Bianchi and co this week. With drives limited would it not be an idea to put one or some of the drivers from the young drivers acadamy in an HRT or Lotus in future? That way they can cut their teeth in the sport, get some valuable mileage under their belts before joining Ferrari.


I don't think the speed difference between the top and bottom teams is as great as we have seen in the past. However, we did previously have the 107% rule, but then there were over 30 cars competing for 26 places on the grid.

Luca di Montezemolo should be reminded of the days when the Ferrari was known as "the mobile chicane" before he spouts on the performance of the new teams.

I my breif foray into racing it was also drummed into us that it is the overtaking driver's responsibility to get past slower cars and that you should maintain a normal racing line and not attempt to move out of the way. It's only the F1 prima donnas that need the blue flaf to mean "get out of the way".


Although the new teams are slow and were the ones holding up Alonso, I think in this case the blame belongs to the rather inconsistent use of blue flags.

Who or what triggers them?

I noticed from the bit of live commentary on the McLaren website that Hamilton asked McLaren pitwall to ask for blue flags to be issued to the slow lapped cars as he approached them. I find this surprising as I would have expected race control to already have blue-flagged them.


Deos antone else wonder if vettels "Managing A Problem" was he cant overtake? Webber didnt seem to have any problems with traffic. I believe (previous subject i know) thyat had they changed webbers tyres earlier he would have made his way past backmarkers/vettel easy enough,(even if he had to stop again) i think they were scared that he would show vettel up. So they strategically got Webber to far behind to protect Vettel phscologically.


I have to say I quite like Luca's style generally - he neatly embodies Gianni Agnelli's sense of 'sprezzatura' if you like. But he's forgotten one cardinal factor here - he essentially owes most of his status and wealth to the Scuderia, and that same scuderia was once in exactly the same position as HRT and Virgin (not Lotus, since that team is trading on a venerated brand, which is something that Enzo hadn't even got back in the day)

Yes, when the team that Luca now chairs began, it was essentially Enzo either fielding works Alfas with heavy support from the factory, or later tentatively branching out by himself after the war, often winning but also often losing. In fact for most of the 1930s even with the mighty Alfa's backing his teams could only ever figure in races which the Germans didn't bother attending. They were, sadly all too often, the HRTs and Virgins of their day in the face of the all-conquering Auto Unions and Mercedes.

My point? Dear old Luca should hush up and consider the concept of irony a little more, and the concept of bitterness a little less.


New teams suck.



I will respond on the iPhone app email. In the meantime it's great to hear that you're working on the back end issues. Wordpress is partly the problem as it is known for being clunky. As well as backend CMS optimisation, the other answer is to increase the hosting bandwidth. I haven't checked but I assume you're running on a dedicated server? If not, you may wish to give it serious consideration. Consider also server load balancing and maybe serving cached copies also but be mindful of the SEO (search engine optimisation) implications.

My 2 pennies from a non techie marketer and wishing you success.

PS Any chance you will come onto the BBC to commentate? You're obssession with Schumi and Hamilton drove me bonkers but I love your analysis.




It's not the new teams' fault they have to test at GPs.

Blame the FIA Luca.


LDM would do well to remember that when Ferrari were dominant in the Schumacher era backmarkers tended to quickly move out of their way. The drivers would know that if a Ferrari was behind them, they were going to be lapped.

But over the last couple of years Ferrari's performance has dropped - in many cases they perform like a midrange team, so drivers no longer have that same certainty. If they see a Ferrari behind them they no longer automatically think "Oh, here's the race leader lapping me. Better move over", but wonder if maybe they're racing for position.

So, Luca, if you want to be able to command respect on the track why not get your team performing like it used to when other people were in charge?


Option 4: Do it World Championship karting style and black flag any cars that are about to be lapped!

*note: I say this in jest. 🙂


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No idea what the first line is about. From there on I'm beginning to think we are being taken in here...


The messages are slightly bizarre, but hilarious. His point (if I'm reading it correctly) is valid: If Alonso is good enough, he will get around the lapped cars. None of the other front runners lost places in a similar fashion.


question is were the blue flags waved?

if yes then its non issue and FA should have done better

if the blue flags were not waved then its FIA's fault. The rules as they stand now should be followed... FIA have a responsibility of fairness and I hope as a fan of F1 that there is fairness and honesty


If the new cars are sooo slow, then surely the super-skilled Alonso, or any driver for that matter, could easily overtake them.


I've said this before this season on this site; every single time something doesn't go right for Ferrari they say the rules should be changed. They are becoming a real comedy team.


I would agree with all those who wanted to keep the system as it is. Although I would love to see the drivers just get on with it without flags helping them through, it would encourage blocking from team-mates. Imagine a scenario where Webber had fallen a lap down due to a first corner incident and Vettel was leading. He'd hold up the rest of the field and there would be nothing that could be done about it.

As for the comments from Ferrari - put a sock in it lads. Red Bull, whilst not exactly new, was once a back-of-midfield team and they are now challenging. Just because Lotus, HRT and Virgin are at the back now, doesn't mean they will be forever (I have been impressed at how they have stayed in the hunt and I hope they stick around.) It's just a holier than thou attitude and it does Ferrari's reputation as racers no favours at all.


We can't have lapped cars racing with leading cars. They aren't entitled to - they are a lap behind. Imagine Michael Schumacher being allowed to defend from being lapped. No good.

It'd be like changing the rules of cricket so that batsmen who are out are allowed to go and help field.


Maybe a special lane for lapped cars... they could paint lines on the circuit to show where these losers should drive.


there could be a gate at the end of the front straight that would take them out to the carpark where they could circulate amongst the orange cones until the Big Boys finished the "proper" race. There would be a guy with a pink flag to wave at them to tell them where to go...


@Midnight, Perhaps LdM's spouting is going in the wrong direction. Maybe he should spouting publcally about FA's lack of motivation, or maybe it was FA's brother who showed up in Canada on Sunday. He had a proven winner team with Kimi and Jean Todt who won the WDC for him in 2007. Instead of "opening the gap" as Lewis said on Sunday after he won, Kimi & Todt were both demoted & fired.

That must have been quite an "illegal engine" that Renault had in 2005 & 2006.


Stop. Please.

These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, in the best cars in the world. If drivers in every other series can deal with traffic and the F1 brigade can't, it's an indictment of F1 as a whole. If traffic is such a problem for them, I shudder to think how they'd handle Indy (the oval) or Texas or Daytona. If you watch the Indycars at Texas, you'll see handling the traffic at a high level, and at much higher speeds than in F1.

Pathetic. Put it this way: Anyone driving on the street or highway has to deal with traffic. Even if they're driving Ferraris...

And leave the new teams alone. Want only the "elite" teams to run? I guess the six car farce at Indy will become the norm. Please. Stop.


Yes. Exactly.


Unfortunately 107% of Lewis Hamilton's 1:15.105 pole position time in the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix is just over 1:20, which would only eliminate Karun Chandhok, which I suspect would not be good enough for the Scuderia. Even though I believe it was he who held up Alonso allowing Button through with some ease for second.


Once upon a time, Fernando was driving for a team that was excellent at planning pit stops against traffic.

If Pat Symonds worked at Ferrari, I guess Alonso would have never caught Trulli (and maybe Massa would have crashed in the wall of champions to bring the safety car out).

It's part of F1 racing. Slow drivers have can go passed up to three or four blue flags before letting the lapping car go through. Let's keep it this way as we don't need more nanny rules in the sport.


Imagine if Luca had his way with the top teams having third cars - this would be the result:

- The podium and points paying positions would be the exclusive domain of Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes & maybe Renault.

- The constructors championship would get very messy, with some teams having three cars and others only two.

- All smaller independent teams would disappear and survivors like Williams would become the modern days Minardi circulating at the back.

- Eventually the weaker manufacturer teams (Renault, Mercedes for argument sake) would lose interest and disappear as all of a sudden they would become mid-field runners at best with all these three car teams ahead of them.

What di Montezemolo should do: Why doesn't he do a Red Bull and buy another team (which would have to design the car itself, not with a customer chassis). This way he could have a Ferrari logo-ed car with stars and stripes all over it and have an American driver and Valtentino Rossi. Oh and he then would know how it feels to be a struggling newcomer...


Agree with you Mattoz.

But i would be worried about Ferrari owning a second team. I remember when they were supplying Sauber with engines (the first time), and i can remember Jean Todt marching down the pitlane when Ferrari were coming up to lap a Sauber if a competitor was close behind them (i.e. trying to avoid exactly what happened to Alonso on Sunday).

They seems to exercise power over Sauber then, and if they owned another team I would be worried that team would be the hold-up-McLaren-Renault-Red Bull-and- Merc-as long-as-possible-team.

Cynical? Maybe. Fundamentally I'm against any team owning two teams anyway, but I don't think it's been a problem with RB so far.


Lotus are actually quickly becoming my favourite team. They're constantly improving, their car looks cool and the front wing is elegant, Heikki is driving really well, Gascoyne is totally charismatic, Tony Fernandez seems super genuine, and their website offers all kinds of insider stuff on F1. Ferrari bore me.


Ferrari is just looking out for Ferrari. I have no sympathy for them. Especially with the third car idea. Ferrari is not F1. If Ferrari want to be champions or to be competitive they should earn it like everyone else. It should be more then just a name and the colour of red.

The backmarkers are a problem though. Gascoyne I think it was, was bragging about being so close in pace recently.. 2.5 secs or something. Big deal mate. That's nothing. Save the bragging and the trash talk for when you actually score a point, or beat some other cars on pace alone. Your competition of HRT and Virgin is weak.

There is always a random element to backmarkers, so not much can be done. Having to overtake them like any other car works I guess. The only problem is certain circuits, like Monaco we saw how risky it was to pass them, despite how slow they are. So blue flags is better. It's mostly just random luck and even the faster backmarkers get in the way.

All the teams are guilty of looking out of their own interests but Ferrari is the worst of the lot. These comments from Luca don't even hide it.


Maybe Alonso should do the Le Mans 24hr to get in some backmarker lapping practice. 😉


I dont think we need 107% rule. all teams are well inside the 107% mark time. The new teams are cutting few secs off their time in 8 races. that is impressive. they will mix with other established teams in a year, in fact Lotus already very close to Saubers and Toro rossos.


As hamilton said, he had understand the bitterness and difficulties to race as backmarker last year. Even it may risk their own race by crashing at some point. So, racing as backmarker needs a masterclass of it's own.

Blue flag doesn't mean backmarker have to slow down right away.

In the case of Trulli, Alonso, and Button at canada, It seems that Alonso was going to shake off Button by slipstreaming behind Trulli on the right hander fast corner entering turn 9. It turned out that Trulli who was going to move away, doesn't realize where Alonso was and he was backed off a little bit too early reacting to the blue flag.

While he slowed down, Alonso seems not ready, make a clumsy pass, and leave the door open for Button. So it's not 100% Trulli's fault I suppose.


errr... I mean Chandok.. sorry 😛


From what I saw it was alonso trying to get a tow, making the pass, not realising that button had also passed, he moved over to take the racing line, Button laughed (ok only speculation but my grin in that car would be ear to ear after seeing him move over) took advantage and pulled along the inside. Alonso realising what's happened was forced to relinquish his position.

I think Alonso was more upset with himself and his relaxed attitude to passing the backmarkers which is why he lashed out (signs of mardyness but with most competitive racing drivers they are there most harsh critic) Mr Monte however Is trying to twist this issue for personal gain, and to some extent has worked as we are all talking about it.

is it not episodes like this why we all share a love affair for F1?


These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world. If they can't find a way past a car that is 4 seconds a lap slower, they don't have a right to call themselves great.

to azac21 - I think all the new teams are inside 107% now.


1970, 1971, 1972 ???? Alonso doesn’t read the history books then.

But perhaps it was 1980 when the shoe was most definitely on the other foot.


Here we go again... bah, wail, it's not on, cries Ferrari. Just give it a rest and get on with making your own car better!!!!

I went for "just let 'em get on with it" 🙂


Well, I did some calculations based on Q1 times realised. Lewis did a 1:15.889. So the 107% time would be 1:21.201. Leaving Chandhok aside as he had technical problems, di Grassi would be the ultimate benchmark as he was slowest. But he did a 1:19.976. So more than a second within the 107% rule.

Even Chandhok who had problems would, during the 107% days, be measured against the 107% rule with his FP times to check whether he was able to complete a qualifying lap within the 107% time. His time in FP2 was 1:20.879, also well within the 107% time.

So saying that the new teams are too slow and a shame for Formula 1 I totally disagree. They do a better job than the so much loved Minardi during their days. If you look at the short prepararation time some of the teams had (Lotus and HRT) and they can deliver such cars, I would rather welcome them , than trying to ban them. But, of course, that is my opinion.


James, I do love your site, and am a daily visitor and occasional commenter. As such a regular user, I have picked up an area for site improvement. Almost every time you post one of these polls, I find I cannot answer it, because there is not an option to represent my opinion. I think that a significant number of people would like to see nothing changed, but your poll results will not be able to determine that. Thanks. Ash.


Fair point. I will spread the net a little wider in future. Thanks


God save Mr Di Montezemolo if he ever finds himself attending events like the 24-hour races in Le Mans or elsewhere... poor man, he'll have a fit!


All of the frontrunners are throwing the dice with the backmarkers. Alonso crapped out this time, but he's equally likely to benefit from one of his peers falling foul of them. The FIA wants a full grid with diverse DNA and more importantly, spread financing. FOTA rebuffed the idea of the finance cap, which would likely have reduced the dominant teams' performance advantage, but Ferrari's part in that is ignored in his argument. "It's somebody else's fault we're not winning". Well, d'uh.


Gee, I think some of the racing by the back markers are more exciting than some of the racing up the front of the pack. I think Ferrari are being a bit precious. If they are good enough then they will get passed.


I can never understand why Ferrari feel they have to stick their oars in.

I say ban blue flags and let them get on with it. All of this feeling that slower teams should just get out of the way is absolute rubbish.

Ferrari should just set up their own championship. I am sick if hearing their whingeing to be honest. I love the Ferrari brand and heritage, but I dislike their sense of entitlement. F1 should encourage these new teams.


As frustrating as it is, cars in front are there to pass. I think reinstating the 107% rule is warranted based on Q1 times, and then that's it. Go racing! Overtake! And ban the blue flags.


There are 11 races left. Sooner or later lapped cars will get in the way of the other teams Championship battle. Maybe they will fix it then.


I cant help but notice that the Ferrari boss who would like to see the slower cars removed from the back of the(now full)grid, is the same person who is interested in entering a 3rd car for his own team. Connection?


I wonder how many fans would prefer to see a third Ferrari/Mclaren/RBR car than one of the new entrants - particularly if the third driver was someone like Valentino Rossi?

If Ferrari want to race further cars, why not revive the Maserati or Alfa Romeo racing brands?


Because then Luca couldn't tell them what to do?


Here's a thought... why did Alonso move right after passing Chandok? He moved there presumably to defend his position, against Button, for the next right turn. But Alonso misjudged the speed at which Button was travelling and thus Button was able to pass, on the racing line.

Why didn't Alonso, just stay left, but not accelarate so quickly away from Chandok... the result would have been to block Button in behind him, and leaving Button no room to move right (to gain the inside line), because Chandok was there.

It was an opportunistic pass from Button and Alonso would have done precisely the same, if the positions had been reversed.


Yes they should ban blue flags. but create a rule were, only cars qualifying within 2 seconds of Pole time [or provisional pole time like Q1 and Q2 session] can race. This will not only help with blue flags but also prevent teams from ditching current year development and concentrate on next year cars.

Teams make money with sponsorship, if you cannot participate in the race then the sponsorship will drop out. which will force the teams to develop until the end of season unlike now when only teams in championship contention develop till the end.


Last year Ferrari did not need Raikkonen; this year, "cars with GP2 levels of performance shouldn’t participate."

Its a fact that Alonso did three purple sectors on Hamilton's outlap. Its also a fact that there is a screen on the pit-wall where the strategists get an overview about where and when traffic might be encountered.

I get the impression Ferrari are under tremendous pressure to win at least one--if not both titles this year with Alonso driving for them with all the Santander money.

Now, even I'm inclined to think that there are so many things in Formula One which seem to overshadow the racing part of it.


I can't wait for Hamilton or Button to be held up or compromised by a back marker and then see if the British fans have the same view.

If a car can't qualify with a time that is competitive (107% rule) then they shouldnt be allowed to race.


I have to just say that I love seeing the look on Heikki Kovalainen's face at each race - he looks like he is having a whole load of fun pushing that car to (an beyond) the limit. He was my 'man of the day' at Monaco for his efforts at qualifying (and missing the barriers when he spun it).


If ferrari spent as much time racing as they spent whining maybe they'd be winning the championship


I think there's one more option missing: F1 should do nothing, and leave things as they are.

These things happen, and the cars being lapped, can't just dissapear like ghosts.

Alonso said himself, that he benefitted from backmarkers in some of the first races, and now it was his turn to take the damage.

Although I do think there should be better judgment in bringing teams to F1, and for example alow some pre-season testing to new ones, I don't think this particular situation should be changed at all.

The backmarkers get the blue flags, and move a 300Km/h car out of the way WHEN THEY CAN. How difficult is that to understand?


A multi part question to all those who think the new teams are a waste of time.

1. How long did all the new teams once having learned of their respective entries into this years competion did they have to Design and Build and Test their cars?

For me not as long as the existing teams had lets face the major teams start designing next years car at the begining of this one. Ferrari designers I bet have started all ready.

2.How long have Blue flags be used in F1 and racing in general? I have been watching F1 your 25 years and Blue Flags have always been used for better or for worse. Sometimes like all stewards they get it wrong most times they get it right. When it does not favour one team they moan and when it does you dont hear so much that they got it right to you? No.

3. Does any one still remeber how many cars were trying to qualify and for how many postion on the grid they were trying for when the 107% rule was in place? James can you help me out, from memory there were as many as 32 cars trying for 24 grid positions hence the 107% rule.

So please remember the history of blue flags and that all previous F1 champions had to race under them or should we change it because ONE person had a BAD RESULT?


I think your first question highlights the main problem with this year’s F1.

The new teams started from scratch. I certainly would not argue against the proposition that, all things considered, they have performed very well, certainly exceeding my expectations and I would suggest they have probably exceeded their own as well.

However, from my reading of Monte’s comments, he is not blaming the teams themselves. He is describing the situation as it exists now. I think the suggestion is that more teams on the grid does not necessarily better racing make. And in that I have to agree.

Teams should be there on merit and not chosen for political reasons. We were spared the debacle of USF1 but even so the performance difference in light of the present restrictions is somewhat larger than it should be.

20 years ago Eddie Jordan Racing came in F1 after a successful couple of seasons in F3000, essentially F2. With the much underrated Andrea de Cesaris, whom many feel was the ‘inspiration’ behind the current blue flag rules, they managed to get 5th in the WCC and ninth in the WDC in their first season. And they got it on merit. They came into F1 with a ready made team and a fair degree of experience and funding.

Had they not struggled to find an engine that stretched the chassis, not to mention reliability, they would have done much better than their one single GP victory and the 3rd in the WCC with Hill and Frentzen.

The current teams do not have Jordan’s pedigree. The only reason they are able to get comfortably inside 107% of the best qually time is because of the limitations placed on development, testing and such.

It is not their ‘fault’ of course. Methods for complete teams to ‘move up’ to F1 in a series of steps were progressively eliminated for reasons which are the subject of much speculation. Another thread there, James?

I think the current teams will probably improve as time goes on. They will change hands, one will probably get a larger fuel tank, and they might even get some serious points. But it won’t be this season.

They are pale imitations of Jordan.

I can think of no short-term answer, apart from the current stop-gap of drastically limiting the performance of the top teams.

It seems very weird to me that, at a time when countries are paying, reportedly, £50+ million for the authority to stage a GP, then considerably more in the infrastructure, added to which they have to bus-in squaddies to make the stands look only a quarter full, the teams are forced to count the paper towels they leave in their toilets.

For your second question, the blue flag started in the days of manual advance and retard as a warning to the driver about to be lapped, not to make them move over but merely to prepare them for the shock of seeing another car. It wasn’t until the 2001 season that the four strikes and out rule was introduced.

Tony Fernandes recently suggested that the blue flags rule be rescinded and Ken Tyrell rather famously would tear in any of his drivers whom he saw giving way to a car trying to lap him. Trying is the word at Monaco.

I seem to remember that as a punishment Ken would put lead in offending drivers’ petrol tanks. But I could be wrong there.


With respect, you may be confusing the 107% days with the days of pre-qualifying on Fridays, but it doesn't take anything from your point.

Bottom line, if the performance difference in Le Mans is not a problem for 24 hours, a 107% (or less, as it turns out) difference in performance for 2 hours in F1, really shouldn't be an issue. And for most of us, it isn't. Let's get on with it.


I agree with Luca, even though Alonso looked like he was caught by surprise despite knowing he was catching a back marker. I think there's a bit of Alonso's fault here too.


Perhaps the blue flag should be used as it is in most other formulae, stationary to warn of a car that is close behind and waved to warn of a car trying to overtake. Oh and whilst we are talking flags maybe a stationary yellow prior to a waved one to give the drivers a bit more notice?


I am sure if it was the other way around where Hamilton got caught by traffic and Alonso won, that Luca would of said "Well it is racing"


Indeed. But luca thinks everyone should get out of the way of the red cars as they clearly should be allowed to win every race.

The only problem is someone forgot to tell mclaren and redbull that plan ! 🙂


The fact is just to obey the rules. Other questions could be interesting but not in this discussion. Now (2010) we have blue flags for the backmarkers and they must let pass as faster as they can. It is pitty to lose a chance to win or at least to be on the lead for those contenders that they have another war. McLaren did not need an additional help at all with their super speed. But that is racing in 2010. (Sorry my english I do my best)


Sorry but some of you guys are so off the mark.

I guess you’re took young to remember when Frank Williams started his new team in the late 60’s and how many years was it before his squads first win? Or how many races did it take for Renault to simply finish a race when it got involved in F1 with the introduction of the turbo in the late 70’s? That arrogant Luca di Montezemolo should go back to the history books and read about what Alfa Romero thought of Ferrari when they (Enzo) first started his own team.

I also remember times when Ferrari was the back marker (1972/73 for example) or how about Jody failing to qualify for the Canadian GP in 1980.

Trust me, the new teams would much prefer to be fighting for the lead rather than trying to get into Q2 but they all must start somewhere, just as Bruce, Jack, Colin and Ken did back in the 60’s.

And blue flags?

Are you nuts, those of you who think they should get rid of them have obviously never sat in a race car. And I mean on a race track and not in a showroom or auto show.




I think that Ferrari should stop complaining about it and get on with racing. Out of the new teams, I think Lotus has a great future and could possibly be a front-runner in the coming years.


As a 'tifozi', I say: Montezemolo and the rest of the Ferrari team should work more and talk less, to reduce the gap to the front runners worries me more than the lack of speed of the back runners.

Darren Shepperd

Ferrari should STFU all they do is moan now. Hows about less talk more working on the car.

JA where is the option for the flags are about right and human error is normal not wanted but normal


Bin the flags.

They're supposed to be the best drivers in the world.

Use those skills and overtake, FFS!

That said, the cars being lapped should be under the same rules - no deliberate obstruction, weaving, etc.

Prof Bolshaviks

Ok, easy to solve with a game of laser tag. Put a little sensor on the back of the cars, and a little laser on the front.
Then when you get behind a car, if they don't move out of the way you fire your laser and it ejects the driver infront up into the crowd, who then get to tar and feather him. Obviously you could, accidently, use this to pass cars normally for position so there are some regulations to get confused over as to when to use the laser. Then you get an arms race for the best laser, far more interesting than a race to develope the best F-duct.
I'm telling you, people.


Here in the US in Indycar we don't have blue flag rules like in F1. Blue Flags over here is simply a warning that a faster car is behind you, From there its upto the driver on how easy he/she wants to make it for the faster cars to overtake.

This really brings out drivers skill as they most the time have to find a way past the slower cars & thats how it was in F1 until about 1995.

Prof Bolshaviks

What happens when you are fighting or the win and the back marker you reach is your team mate, you get through easily, guy following you held up for 20 laps. We are robbed of any sort of close finish.


If Luca isnt winning hes crying about something.

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