A deep dive into the race strategies in Melbourne
Insight
A deep dive into the race strategies in Melbourne
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Mar 2011   |  9:11 am GMT  |  236 comments

Making the right decisions at the right time is crucial to success in F1. The race unfolds in a blur and it is very easy to make a bad decision.

As we saw in Abu Dhabi last year a bad strategy call can cost a world championship and with so many new variables this season, the opening round of the 2011 World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne was something of an experiment for all the teams in terms of race strategy, with the tyres being the dominant factor. We had no safety car this year in Melbourne, another important influencer on strategy.

The most important factor in strategic decisions this season is the fact that the new Pirelli tyres degrade much more quickly than the Bridgestones used in recent years and that when they start to go off the performance drops very quickly and severely. So managing that process and making quick decisions was the key on Sunday.

All indications before the weekend were that several pit stops would be needed to complete the race. But it turned out not to be the case in Melbourne, partly because the track surface is smooth.

From a strategy point of view Melbourne was interesting because it had plenty of variety; in the top seven finishers we had one car which stopped just once, two cars stopped three times while the podium finishers all stopped twice.

On race day, the simulations showed that two stops was the ideal and the variations we saw were due to brave gamble on the one hand (Perez; 1 stop) and a forced change of plans on the other, due to setbacks (Alonso and Webber; 3 stops).

The key to navigating through was flexibility and willingness to change tactics.

Meanwhile at the front Sebastian Vettel showed that when you have a dominant car you can make the strategy bend to your will.

Perez: Risk paid off (Sauber)


In depth case studies – Sergio Perez,

The 21 year old Mexican, on his debut, was the talk of Melbourne with his bold strategy of stopping just once. After winter testing this seemed almost inconceivable, but the Sauber is the most gentle car on its tyres and Perez drove expertly to make a set of soft tyres last 35 laps.

Having qualified outside the top ten he had a free choice of tyres on which to start the race. He was the only one to opt for hard tyres. This meant that he would run a longer first stint than everyone else. He was 14th on the first lap. His pace on the hard tyres was over a second slower than his team mate Kobayashi on the soft tyres. When the cars in front made their first stops, he moved up the order and was 7th when he made his stop on lap 23.

At this stage he was put onto soft tyres, with the intention of stopping again for another set of softs later in the race. The expectation was that this would give him 10th place at the end.

As he drove he found that he could manage the tyres and that contrary to expectations, the track was rubbering in, which punished the tyres less. The team strategists decided to try to get him to the finish without stopping again, targeting a better finish than 10th thanks to being able to save the 25 seconds it takes to make a pit stop.

But it was a very risky tactic – at any moment his tyre performance could suddenly drop off by two seconds or more, ruining his race. He managed the process brilliantly and was even faster than the cars in the top three at around three quarter distance. As his rivals, like Kobayashi, Buemi, Sutil and Di Resta went for their second stop he stayed out and moved into seventh place, which he held to the flag. Sadly the Sauber’s rear wing was found to be illegal and he was disqualified from the results. The team has decided not to appeal.

Perez’s bold gamble has nevertheless made strategists realise that they should have spent more time doing a long run on the soft tyre in Friday practice to learn about it, rather than just testing it out briefly at the end. They were thinking that the hard and soft would behave as they had in the Barcelona test in terms of relative degradation, but it wasn’t the case. We will see all teams doing a long run on Friday in Malaysia as a result. And we could see more drivers “doing a Perez” as the year goes on.

Alonso battles Petrov (Ferrari)


Massa and Alonso: Ferrari on the back foot

Testing had indicated that the Ferrari was the second fastest car behind the Red Bull, with Ferrari competitive on long runs. But in Melbourne the car proved to be harder on its tyres than its rivals and this pushed them down the road of having to stop three times. They will have to get on top of this problem quickly if they are to compete for the title this year.

Alonso started fifth on the grid, but lost four places at the start. He passed Rosberg and Massa and gained another place when Button was penalised for an illegal overtake. But the Ferrari was proving hard on its tyres and he suddenly lost performance around lap 10/11. He had to stop on lap 12, coming out behind Petrov. Despite his setback at the start he was in the hunt for a podium against Webber and Petrov, who was only going to stop twice. Normally when you have a bad start you try to stop less often than your rivals, to regain track position, but that wasn’t an option for Ferrari.

The three stopper did allow him to push hard in each stint and it got him ahead of Webber at the final stop.

Renault could see what Alonso was doing, but did not react and stuck to their plan to stop twice. Alonso pushed hard, closing the gap to Petrov to 19 seconds, when the Russian pitted for the second time on lap 36. Alonso’s plan at this stage was to pit again leaving him enough laps at the end to catch Petrov using the advantage of new tyres against old ones. First he had to jump Webber and he managed that by staying out one lap longer before the final stop on lap 42.

Alonso then caught Petrov at over a second a lap in the closing stages, but the plan didn’t work because the soft tyres on the Renault held up well enough now that the car was running light on fuel and the track was rubbering in and being kinder to tyres. Petrov held his nerve and Alonso ran out of laps in which to pass him.

Webber: Tough call (Red Bull)

Webber: strategy call didn’t work

Mark Webber left Melbourne with much to reflect on and analyse. Driving the same Red Bull RB7 car as race winner Sebastian Vettel, Webber finished fifth, a full 38 seconds behind his team mate. The reason was that he was very hard on his tyres and the team made a call at his first stop which didn’t work out.

Third on the opening lap, he nevertheless clearly had the pace in the car to get ahead of Lewis Hamilton through strategy. But his tyre wear was savage; he was the first to pit on lap 11 after his tyres suddenly lost two seconds of performance on lap 10. Switching to the hard tyre his plan was to run a long middle stint and then a final soft tyre stint. This was also an evaluation exercise for the team so they would have some advance information on the hard tyre for Vettel’s last stint.

But it proved the wrong decision for Webber as the hard tyres were degrading as much if not more than the softs, were hard to warm up and had no pace. It set him up to be jumped by Alonso later in the race. Webber did just 15 laps on the hards and then two more stints on soft tyres.


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1

The most important factor we saw in Melbourne were that the Pirelli’s lasted far longer than predicted at the start of the season.

That Vettel with all his massive lap advantage could not shake off a damaged Hamilton, because of the difference between how the two cars handled the tyres.

The main point from Perez comes in the possibilities should tyre degradation become far worse. The strategy of a top car starting on hards would make a lot of sense as it means those starting on softs would emerge back in the pack and that with a rubbered in track you would more than likely get away with 2 stops rather than 3.

2

One of the ironies of events in Melbourne is that the same people who criticised Massa for moving aside for Alonso in Germany last year are now criticising him for defending his position in Melbourne this year.

3

I don’t see that criticism at all and certainly not from me!

But interesting that Massa has fallen into the traditional Ferrari no 2 drover role of becoming a patsy.

4

You are clearly an exception!

As for “the traditional Ferrari no 2 drover role of becoming a patsy”, perhaps you should read up on the manner in which Enzo managed his drivers.

It will be interesting to see how long it will be before the pecking order becomes apparent at some of the teams which always gloat that they don’t have no.1 and no.2 drivers? Of course, some teams like to use the term “third driver” instead of “reserve driver” – this implies that such teams have a number 1 and number 2 driver!

5

Great analysis James! I miss the good ol’ days when you were commentating. The BBC coverage is fine, but it’s becoming a glitz and chum fest, and doesn’t have the same petrol-head die hard fan feel it did on the ITV (despite the annoying adverts). Crofty-Ant are amazing commentators, and my preferred commentary, but I would happily revert to an Allen/Brundle pairing.

Here’s the reason for my comment. I’d like to echo what Mr C pointed out on sidepodcast in case it has missed your attention as it was a very good point I have never considered before.

If the Sauber part was not legal, it was also not legal on Saturday and Friday as well. Why isn’t scrutineering done at the start of the weekend as well, to disqualify cars that break the rules instead of only disqualifying them long after the race is over and people think they know the results. As a long term die hard fan I don’t mind the result changing after the event, but I can see how this is very frustrating to many people, especially casual fans who don’t seem to realise this is a technical sport.

The new enforced team-members-not-allowed-in-the-paddock-at-night rules (with 4 exceptions) mean that the cars are completely alone and unworked on for large chunks of time during the weekend. Surely this is an ideal time to do scrutineering and filter out any illegal cars at the earliest opportunity before they start the race, and long before the illegal cars finish the race in headline positions.

Obviously scrutineering still needs to be done after the race in case there are components that wear down to give an advantage, or in case damage makes a car illegal, but that process may be made simpler by the fact that scrutineering has already been done earlier in the weekend.

It seems blatantly obvious and very positive step. I don’t know how we can bring this to the attention of the powers -that-be, but bringing it to the attention of journalist like yourself and trying to promote discussion amongst fans is a start I guess.

6

for all the “laptimes junkies” out there, FIA always offers the Timesheets, but only for a short time:

http://fialive.fiacommunications.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Pages/timing.aspx

have fun

greetings from Austria

CJD

7

Excellent post

8

An interesting photo comparaison between Alonso and Vettel shows that Ferrari is suffring from understeer which explains why it was underperforming and eating its tyres.

Here’s the link http://spontoncristiano.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/sottosterzo-ferrari-confronto-alonso-vs-vettel-onboard/

9
Magnus Malmnäs

I just looked at the video on f1technical about the flexing nose cone not just wing on the Red Bull. Clever and interesting could you comment on if its totally legal and if Ferrari is up the same ally and if the others are aware and developing the same solution.

Love your site and books, keep it up. I miss Kimi.

10

Did you see a nose flexing because I didn’t

11
Magnus Malmnäs

I admit its hard to tell but you can clearly see that the wing parts close to the wheels are moving and since the wing has been tested not to move under pressure more than others it has to be the whole cone or th wing attachments to the cones.Looking on the video it its very hard too tell but any tiny movement between attachment of the whole cone and rest of the body would make a big move out where the wings are. So right now my feeling is that this is the case which explains things and the passing of tests.

12

*My nose flexes constantly, I am told, but I cant see *it either,

13

I’m looking into it

14

Must say James that your site is attracting many true F1 fans, love it.

Only downside (as I see it) is that you maybe hold back if reporting is likely to upset those you’re closest to such as Vettel’s overtake of Button.

That said, a great F1 site and a must for any F1 fan

15

Hi James. I just saw a headline that James key from Sauber has been fired , can u confirm.

thanxs

Enzo

16

Enzo

Peter has come out and said its not true by the way. Which is what I was expecting to hear.

He’s not a man to make rash decisions, so I was very surprised/didnt believe the rumours.

Regards

Andy

17

I just saw that on twitter. Surely not!

Its unconfirmed at the moment though… so may just be internet chatter.

18

What’s up with Webber stopping right after finish line? As I remember last year when Hamilton had to push his car back to the pits, he got a fine and people said that was not legal. The car has to have enough fuel to get back into the pits.

What would stop the rest of the teams to do the same and everybody to stop immediately after finish line?

I was very very surprised at the comments M Brundle made after the race in regards to the overtake moves which some of the drivers did on the outside of the yellow line. How could the marshals miss that? Martin Bundle is very good at picking up things like that.

Well done Martin!

19

I think the fuel rule applies to qualifying. Good memory though that did happen to Lewis last year.

There is a reason why Martin is where he is I agree.

20

James,

What happened to Hamilton during Vettel’s first pit stop? The F1.com timing screens weren’t working properly, but I was anticipating Hamilton to emerge ahead. Was it that McLaren left him out for too many laps? Because I think pre-stop the gap to Vettel was under 1.5 seconds, but post stop it had increased to +6s. Granted the McLaren stop was slower, but I didn’t think by more than half a second.

Also have they identified what component failed on the floor and the reason behind it? – was it an off or contact with debris?

21

He was 1.5s behind on the lap before Vettel’s stop, managing the tyres better at that stage. His lap time on L14 when Vettel pitted was 1,32.984, then on L15 was 1,33.186 (he lost two secs there). His in lap was identical to Vettel’s, but his outlap was over a second slower. Add it all up and that’s the increased gap after the stops.

22

James, is there a lot of talking in the paddock about the flex-wing of Red Bull? It is almost scraping the tarmac, ridiculous if you compare it with McLaren or Ferrari.

23

Yes

24

James

Examining the lap times of just Seb and Lewis and Fernando and taking into account the damaged floor. ( Lewis’s are like clockwork as per Fernando. )

Do you think we could be in for a closer year than was originally envisaged – and just how close.

25

Red Bull has an advantage, that’s clear. But it’s car is also more developed than the McLaren and Ferrari. I think it will close up, yes. But I also think Vettel is on a roll and will be very hard to beat

26

James

A Superb article and exactly what was wanted.

Ozzy smooth track – therefore some tracks will have 4/5 changes of tyres. So stop worrying about 1 stops.

RBR – Has no extra holes for cooling KERS – Its a short, properly weight balanced car without extra length for KERS – It has no KERS and probably won’t have all season. Will KERS bugger your rears ?? .. possibly on rougher tracks.

Was Seb sandbagging and could he have gone a lot faster if he knew his tyres better. Possibly – ( Astonishing first lap )

Rookies – Perez showed before the race he is superb but The Pastor did good as well. They showed instant Play Station skills ( concentration and speed ) so it’s about time we had a clear out.

Could the Toro try a Renault exhaust easily – possibly – and still retain the separate floor – it still did well. I’d expect more from this car with a bit of development as it really has no exhaust help.

Pleased the Renault did well from a radical solution – brilliant. ( Miss you Robert )

ONE OF THE BEST YEARS FOR TECHNICAL DIFFERENCES AND ALL SEEM TO WORK FAIRLY WELL – IT’S LIKE CAN-AM OR F1 IN THE 70’S BRILLIANT.

WHOOPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

27

Heidfeld’s sidepod after the race.

http://yfrog.com/h3r8fuej

28

Woah! That is hectic…

Thank you, been searching all over for such a picture. At least he didn’t seem to suffer from over heating… lol

29

“he didn’t seem to suffer from over heating”

Exactly what I was thinking!

Adam Cooper made some comment about a grenade going off inside!

It took me a while to find the picture. Eventually this link was provided on the team’s twitter feed.

30

A couple of things i have just read.

1. Alguersuari was quoted as saying that buemi drove into Heidfeld on the first lap.

2. Barrichello wasn’t able to deploy his DRS for the first 12 laps

31

Thanks for the analysis James. I would just point out that the easy-on-the-tires Sauber was also a phenomenon from last season when Kobayashi did some extremely long early stints in a race, and then swapped tires at the very end.

Ferrari was an interesting case since the drivers complained of not getting heat into the tires, and yet they tore up their tires. Usually setups that don’t generate heat are the ones that are gentle on the tires. They seem to have the worst of both.

The lap time trace is interesting since it contrasts sharply with the one you put up for the last Barcelona test.

And lastly, why does Button’s trace not show up in the chart?

32

Is the other way around my friend.

Pirreli said their tyres work best when they are at the right temperature. Actually that’s the case with all tyres. That’s why they put heat into tyres before they put them on cars.

So not getting heat into tyres, means higher degradation.

Glad to help!

33

James,

I find the Ferrari “high tyre wear” situation rather perplexing.

For a start, it doesn’t fit with what I would consider to be Ferrari’s only problem with tyres over the last few years – the “can we get it up to temperature over a single lap” syndrome.

Then, there’s the fact that the Sauber is considered the lightest on its tyres (as demonstrated by Perez). The rear end of that car is all Ferrari, including the suspension layout.

Do you have any further light to shed?

34

Hi Tim,

if the tyres are not in the operating temperature range then they don’t have the friction co-efficient. The tyre surface can get hot, but if it just immediately strips off the surface the hot rubber sticks to the road, rather than generating surface temperature. As the overall grip level is less, there is also less load through the sideways, so the heat isn’t generated there either. Less significantly, the brakes cannot be used quite as hard, so less heat would come from these.

I’m not a tyre expert, but if the Ferrari is an even better version of the Sauber, then this could be the reason.

Cheers,

Martin

35

It is perplexing as on Saturday Massa spun because he couldn’t get heat into the tyres. That said, most teams had warm up issues on the hard tyre at the weekend

36

Key things for me,

Ferraris pace (or lack there of)

Webbers poor performance

Sauber

Petrov & Renault

Red Bull & KERS

Does DRS Work?

Ferrari did not show anything like the pace they have done in testing. I dont think we should be getting too carried away with that though. As James & others have alluded too Melbourne is a very strange track for some reason. Look at 97 & 98 where Williams & Mclaren respectively crushed their opposition in quali, although both times the teams won the championship the margin for the rest of the races was nothing like as big. Ferrari exploited the Button penalty very well, its for reasons like this that team orders should be allowed. Unsporting I hear you say? Well yes but if Mclaren were in the slightest doubt that Button had sinned then he should have given the position straight back. I like to think that Massa let Alonso through on his own without being told to. Thats how team mates operated back in the day, get the rest of them out of the way then we can duel

Webber has never done well at his home race for some reason, his best result is 5th three times (one of which was on his debut in a Minardi if memory serves). Webber seems to be one of those kind of drivers that if the track does not suit him or if things are not going well he will be fairly anonymous (a la Button Barrichello etc). Theres also the issue that his car is defective, remember Vettel complaining about this last year, when he got a new one he flew. I dont know what to make of this front wing issue, surely Red Bull wouldnt do it again. Although maybe it was done in a better way so Mark didnt spit the dummy this time?

Sauber

Good on them, I like their policy of going for two decent young drivers rather than the conservative “better the devil you know” driver policy most of the teams seem to be taking. Im gutted they got disqualified, I hope that the wing wasnt the cause for their good performance and that they can replicate it.

Renault

Well done Petrov, although I was not convinced on him either last year im pleased he has managed to stuff it to all the people who rubbished him as a typical pay driver. Not to take anything away from a great drive by him but you have to wonder where that Renault would have been with Kubica behind the wheel…

Red Bull

Im surprised everyones making such a big deal about this. We saw in 2009 that KERS did not necessarily make your car faster. When Ferrari & McLaren got their cars sorted out towards the end of the season it started to pay dividends but there was no clear advantage to using it. That said I dont think Melbourne is a KERS track, bigger benefits should be seen next time out.

DRS

Inconclusive is my summary. Melbourne is not known for its overtaking. We saw a couple of good overtakes using it, im glad in that the drivers still had to work for it though. I think the “zone” should have been from turn 1 – 3 though as thats a far better overtaking place. Again we will see next time out with some long straights just how well it works.

Summary

Not a classic race to start the season. A lot of questions were answered (yes the Red Bull is quick, no the Mercedes is not) but a lot remain unanswered (how good are Williams, they had a scrappy weekend rather than a slow car I think). I cant wait for the next one!

37

You have to remember they changed the rules to support the use of KERS (like the weight distribution of the cars, etc)…so in theory using it this time has a much bigger benefit than 2009

38

I suspect if Red Bull continue to race without KERS then in future races there are going to be disagreements about the DRS zone. Red Bull are going to want a DRS zone which disadvantages the KERS & DRS equipped cars.

39

OFF TOPIC:

Read (as in I read ) an article on Red Bull Front Wing Flexing

http://spontoncristiano.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/ali-flessibili-stagione-2011/

what is interesting was the contours extracted and superimposed.

What I am not clear is that why the media is not interested in FW during pre race coverage but wanted to have a look at the rear end which the mechanics are still trying to hide.

Mclaren have started complaining about the FW flexing as they have sorted out their problems and find themselves behind RB.

When Ferrari and hopefully Mercedes find pace, they will join Mclaren. I doubt Renault (the F1 team ) joining these teams as Eric does not appear to complain about anything in general. Moreover, Renault supplies engines to Red Bull.

The solution to this situation is

1. teams find how this is done

2. FIA ( personnel) find tests to find flex.

I find this situation of teams complaining similar to Korea where drivers were complaining over team Radios so that FIA would listen and “ACT”.

Until someone acts, it will be another Red Bull season.

40

Isn’t it funny that we are talking about Red Bull wings? I guess their advertising campaigns are worldwide – what do they say? Red Bull gives you wings? They could use their bending front wing in their commercials!

41

James,

the FIA measurement is performed with front wheels in straight position or like the position during the corners? Are they measuring the distance from the ground? Is it possible when the front wheels are turned allowing one side of the front of the car closer to the ground like on the pictures?

42

It seems to me simple physics. RBR attaches the winglets to the endplate area of the wings, providing maximum aero leverage at the point furthest away from the center attachment point.

The other teams have stronger supports on both sides of the winglets, meaning that the aero load is not providing maximum leverage away from the center attachment point.

If you design your wing to withstand the static load of the FIA test, but not the dynamic aero load which is much higher, then you get bending.

As for the way the nose seems to droop, perhaps the two central mounting points are designed to twist under load, stiffer carbon towards the front, and less carbon towards the back, so that the flex is a slight twist. Would be nice to see the car clearly under load and no load from the front to see if there is a twist. Most pictures I’ve seen are not comparable since the camera lens length is not the same.

43

I think it is not related 100% to the aero, because allways only on side of the wing is close to the ground and it is not hapening on the straight line even with higher speed and load.

44

I’ve actually written a comment about this topic with some, I think, useful links to photos (supposedly post 36 on this thread) but it’s been sitting there, apparently awaiting moderation, since 5pm yesterday. James?

45

Thanks, I read the posts from the bottom up last night, so I saw post 42 before yours.

Personally, I don’t think there’s any controversy. The RBR passes the static load test, which arguably, is not stringent enough. The other teams need to follow suit, and it seemed like McLaren was testing this concept when they ran that wingflex measuring device in testing.

The only argument is one over safety. If a wing were to flex too much and snap. So far, it hasn’t happened.

46
malcolm.strachan

Has everyone in F1 forgotten that most tires tend to last a little longer if they have a heat-cycle on them?

Any racer on a budget that’s had to buy their own tires definitely knows this, and will usually scrub a set before using them. Gives up that two-lap window of awesomeness in exchange for a longer life of usefulness…

Perez certainly benefited from that.

47

Pedro De la Rosa and Marc Gene pointed in La Sexta (Spanish TV) to the same matter, that is, that these Pirellis tend to last a little longer if they have a heat-cycle on them.

48

Okay, but it seemed to me that everyone was using scrubbed tires with a heat cycle in them.

49

I thought it was reported in testing that heat cycling the tires did not improve longevity.

50
malcolm.strachan

It was also reported that the tires were wearing excessively in testing because they were outside of their proper working temperature. Perhaps once they are inside that window, the effects of heat cycling become more evident.

51

Hamilton is loosing his cool once more. Since reaching the 2nd place of the GrandPrix, he starts to brag by suggesting that Alonso is his Alain Prost, which means that he considers himself the Senna of his era.

Not only that be he suggested that Vettel is barely the Nigel Mansell. He added that Vettel needed the strongest car to win and that he had to lead from the start for that.

Let me try to translate. In doing so he first and foremost dismissed Webber and mainly Button. His team mate will appreciate.

Secondly, after hitting at RedBull he launched a bigger attack on Vettel. There’s some jealousy in that as Vettel is the youngest driver to achieve pole, victory and WC. I agree with him in that I see Vettel weaker than both Hamilton and Alonso but he is still growing and not finished yet.

Besides, even if he is right in what he says, he shouldn’t say it. Maybe his new manager advice is showing.

Finally, he said what he strives to say for sooooooooo long : he’s the new Senna. Given that nobody suggested it (neither journalists nor team bosses), he couldn’t resist but to say it himself disguising it as a comparison between himself and Alonso.

52

Jo,

can you point me in the direction of Lewis quotes? I hadnt seen them.

53

My apologies for answering to a question adressed to Jo, but I’ve read it in The Guardian: Lewis Hamilton sees fight with Fernando Alonso as new ‘Senna v Prost. 28 Mar 2011: Lewis Hamilton has cast himself as Ayrton Senna in an imagined revival of the brilliant Brazilian’s biggest battle. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/mar/28/lewis-hamilton-ayrton-senna-alain-prost

54

Wow, I just read it. Loved the bit about Vettel being the mansell, not that I rate him as highly as mansell.

Hilarious 😉

I personally dont rate the Hamilton-Alonso anywhere near as bad as the Senna-Prost years. They went for a period of blanking each other than lasted for years.

I always thought it was fitting however, that they had a bit of a reconciliation just before Imola.

55

Many thanks for the link!

Cheers

Andy

56
Jean-Christophe

Besides, he chose Senna because he loved Senna. The comparison is in term of rivalry, not quality?

“Just because of my history, when I started out. I see him as my Prost, if we were Prost and Senna. If you were to say ‘choose a driver’ that I would like to be I would clearly choose Ayrton. And maybe I would put him as Prost,” he added.

“But is not Vettel his true nemesis now? “I don’t think so. If he continues to have a car like he does now then, maybe, but I think when we get equal pace then we will see some serious racing. Maybe he [Vettel] is the new Mansell? Not that I would rate him like I do Mansell.” Ouch.”

57

I agree with J.Torrent. Hammy statement is at least a strange one. In his/her own mind a champion should be unique, shouldn’t it be? Sort of ‘Let the media or the historians to make the comparisons, I’m above that.’

58
Jean-Christophe

Mind games. Just trying to destabilise Vettel and make him try too hard.

59

Just on a side note here (hope you don’t mind James). I just saw that Raikonnen is going to race NASCAR in the summer, starting with truck series! I almost fell of my chair, what is he thinking?? I can’t see reasons why he is so desperate to ruin his career. Fine if he just wants a bit of fun and all but NASCAR?, what is wrong with rallying Kimi? Also the americans will very quickly get fed up with his ‘I don’t talk or do PR’ attitude. If there is one country where they don’t accept that distant approach it’s the US. Anyways, good luck Kimi.

60

Thats just insane. Rallying must be really boring.

61

It’s insane, but it might be fun.

He’s still doing the rallying, this is presumably just a bit of fun. I think people need to stop hoping Kimi will return to F1. He’s clearly fed up with it and doing things he enjoys instead.

62

I your idea of fun is to be dropped into a completely alien world, then maybe so.

According to reports it’s even be a completely new *team.

So, brand new team, new ‘cars’, new tracks, new style of racing, new country, new weird fans… a heck of a challenge!

63
Magnus Malmnäs

Come on guys imagine to go rallying F1 and nascar. I can imagine it would be a hole lot of fun. Hard to see it would be anything near boring.

64

My question is are we seeing F1 become a full scale strategy game?

It seems that there is still some racing going on, but only as much as it is required by the strategy. Drivers are asked to manage this, save that for the sake of race/season long strategy plan.

I understand this is part of the game, but with all the resources restrictions and this years fragile tyres on top of that are we going to see the spirit of racing gradually diminish, illustrated by Lewis Hamilton having to learn tyre management skills? Or, is this what racing really is about and I just need to redefine my idea of it?

65

I think it’s both. We had some good wheel to wheel action on Sunday, battles etc. A few more laps and Alonso would have caught Petrov. F1 is more than cars in circles and it’s also more than numbers on a spreadsheet, the blend of the two is what makes it interesting

66

An additional thought to my post above re why DRS was not seen to be working very well for Jenson.

It could be that with the slot open, (DRS activated) the car was already on the rev limiter, thus in order to utilise the DRS in future teams may have to lengthen the top gear ratio so that a speed greater than the “normal” calculated “flat out on a straight” is possible. This would mean that on other straights the engine is not on the limiter and not at max power (we move into complicated territory here with torque curves vs power curves but the max rpm is set at 18000 in the regs so we cannot go faster without altering the total drive ratio ~(gears plus diff)) However it could be that the max torque was hit 12kph slower than the max power which could be ideal, but then I’m just an old git and it is 30 years since I looked at the relevant graphs and 10,000 rpm was on the edge of explosion.

68

I’ve looked at your links and they look no different than the evidence we saw last season.

I’m more convinced that ever that it’s the central pylons that are twisting under aero load that leads to much of the bending. Reminds me a bit of a windsurfer sail that twists the leech at the top under heavy load. That also reminds me that Newey was interested in designing America’s Cup sailboats when he was at McLaren. Of course AC boats now use sails that were patterned after ideas seen in high-speed windsurfing.

Just look at the RBR pylons. They are asymmetric, thicker at the top, narrower at the bottom. Certainly better suited to twisting. It wouldn’t take much, just a millimeter here, a millimeter there, and you’d see much greater differences on the wingplane.

69

Excellent call, yes much can be leant from both sail craft as well as top flight gliders. As usual Newey is ahead of the game but the other will catch up and it’ll take some more FIA rule changes for Newey to move ahead again.

70

I’d echo the comments about the chart of lap-times. It’s really enlightening. I remember Martin Brundle commenting at one point early on that Hamilton had taken 6/10ths out of Vettel on one lap – I think that must have been lap 9, but what’s interesting looking at the chart is that it was a slow lap from Seb rather than a quick one from Lewis. Given that when the tyres go off is going to be an important indicator this year, it would be great if one of the real-time lap-time websites or apps (there are a few now I think) could present the info in a graph like this.

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