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F1’s new elite: not so elitist
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 May 2012   |  9:54 am GMT  |  353 comments

Pastor Maldonado’s victory in yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix as well as strong showings from Grosjean in the last two races and from Sergio Perez in Malaysia is highighting an important point about F1 and the relative state of the drivers.

Do we often not give enough credit to the drivers in midfield cars?

For years F1 races have been won by an elite of drivers from top teams with perhaps only 7 drivers managing to visit the F1 podium in the course of an entire season. In five races this season, we’ve already had 9 drivers on the podium and five different winners.

But this year with the performance of a number of cars so close and with the way the Pirelli tyres work, it is offering an opportunity for more drivers to shine.

Traditionally when drivers arrive in F1 they have usually won races and championships in junior categories, but then they find that in midfield teams they struggle to shine. Fans dismiss them because they aren’t able to fully evaluate what they are able to do, as they are lost in the soup of midfield.

However in 2012 we’ve seen some stunning drives from the likes of Perez and particularly Maldonado yesterday, which makes everyone realise that success has been more about opportunity and car pace rather than elite driver ability. Of course the cream rises to the top and the leading drivers are in top teams with big salaries for a reason. They become the elite because of the consistently high peaks of performance from Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and other top stars.

They have always won because their teams build them fast cars, get them set up to maximise the tyres and then take advantage of the car pace to get the strategy right. That has always been the way of F1.

But the positive thing about the racing this year is that it shows that given a chance with a car which can use the tyres well, a wider range of drivers can shine.

It was a similar story in 2009 when Jenson Button showed that his poor results with Honda were to do with the car, not him and that he was capable of winning a championship.

Perez and Maldonado were dismissed as ‘pay drivers’ because they have strong sponsor backing from their home countries. But after Malaysia everyone was talking about Perez getting a Ferrari seat and Maldonado impressed even the most hardened F1 insider yesterday. Others like Di Resta and Kobayashi are surely capable of doing the same, given the opportunity.

The championship will be won by one of the elite, but it’s refreshing for the drivers deeper down the field to show that they should not be underestimated.

To keep up to speed with all the latest F1 news and developments use JA on F1 Connect to give you the full picture at a glance.

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1

The adage that 50% of a driver’s performance will come from how he uses his tyres is as old as racing itself.

In this we can all agree.

However, the manner in which the tyres occupy this role in 2012 is peculiar in the more than 50 years that we have gone racing.

If we look at the 80′s, 90′s, and early 2000′s, the tyres were (as they always have been) an important aspect of racing. However, crucially, when someone was performing poorly because of poor tyre use the phrase often was: “I couldn’t get the tyres working.” It wasn’t: “These tyres are bad/tricky.” The thing is, even as a driver struggled with it, he couldn’t dispute the fact that the “Elite” as you called them – the Mansells, Sennas, Prosts, Schumachers, Hakkinens, Coulthards, Irvines, Barrichellos – they were usually out in front. They served as Benchmarks of Performance. Their orders would change, but they were always reasonable to each other, their lap time curves were logical.

The tyres were crucial, but it was normally a matching of wits between how the packages that were used that determined the winner.

Think back to 1998′s Hungarian GP – Schumacher’s 3 stopping Ferrari vs Hakkinen’s conventional strategy. The uncertainty of the winner at the time, particularly in the early and middle stages of that race was not caused by “when the Little Black Gremlins would act up unexpectedly” but it was more because you didn’t know which brilliant plan of attack would emerge as the more-brilliant at the end of the race. Both Ferrari and McLaren were presenting packages at the peak for the weekend. There was no question either would have won that race. But with the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object, everyone was at the edge of their seats.

No one thought anything of “weird tyres”. This is a big difference.

It is true in the same era there were processional races very often. However, the drivers at or near the top usually admitted they were “at the limit” and no one complained about things in the round black stuff “acting up weird”. No one said they were forced to under-drive or that things turned against them.

Today, the teams are still attacking this formula in a conventional way, so we are still seeing package strategies being pitted against each other. The difference is now fans, teams, drivers, and engineers are looking at, and talking about – Little Black Gremlins.

From Michael Schumacher, to Mark Webber, and to an extent, Jenson Button (who basically tried to deflect the matter onto himself but we know what many fans think really happened to him)…. It’s now ALL about tyres. Everybody is hunting for Little Black Gremlins.

They are doing this, because on evidence of the last few races there is no set of Benchmarks that can be taken seriously. We do not have a Schumacher-Hakkinen pair or some other who represent Model Performance Levels for the formula.

What we have instead are people “surprised” at their own pace or victories.

This is a big difference.

I have met a few motorsport fans who tell me that Maldonado’s achievement is not what it really is because what really happened was that he had hit upon that Golden Tyre Window. This is not fair to Maldonado. Because regardless of whether or not he was favored by a tyre lottery he had to run all those laps and fight Alonso for the win.

But it is what it is. Quite a number of fans cannot take him seriously. Just like they cannot take Vettel’s win in Bahrain seriously…. Or Rosberg’s win in China seriously.

Because of these Little Black Gremlins, no one knows anymore what is true Sporting Achievement in 2012. Everything looks like it was won on luck (or misfortune of others).

When I first heard about the “tyre puzzle”. I felt that if Ferrari could get over its aerodynamic and exhaust placement issues, that Ferrari would emerge as the closest to a benchmark. This is because Ferrari historically has been the best on the mechanical side. This is where the new wave of innovation will come from. Slowly but surely that is the picture that is emerging. At least one of the Ferraris is now tied for the lead of the championship.

Unless Alonso starts to dominate the championship and demonstrate that the formula IS workable – No one will take 2012 seriously.

Make no mistake, even if Ferrari fall into another “Spaghetti Spell” and somehow lose the title, the FIA will have to declare someone as the Formula 1 World Champion.

But if no one believes that what has occurred is true Sporting Achievement then the sport will have fallen into Disrepute.

2

Oh and Everyone says the tyres of the Schumacher era suited him?

No, they suited REAL DRIVERS.

I don’t recall Mika Hakkinen complaining about the tyres…. He took lots of wins just fine fighting against Schumacher….

It wasn’t broken. They shouldn’t have fixed it.

3

Wow, this is a contentious topic! Loved seeing the plug for Kobayashi, I would really like to see him get a win this year. He is so much fun to watch!

On another note… The threads here seem to be about there being a tire lottery this year. Gamble correctly and you too can be an Grands Prix winner. While I don’t argue that this isn’t true to some extent I don’t think it is that big of a deal. The drivers and teams that manage the variables the best will be more successful.

Nobody chagrins a rain soaked race that provides a new Grands Prix winner? Nobody complained when Vettel and Toro Rosso came to the fore in Monza. The management of the tires isn’t much different. True it is not a natural event, but it is something that a driver and team must cope with. Williams have a car that has done well this season, they finally got it all right this weekend and they have been justly rewarded with a Grands Prix win.

4

Shane

Vettel had done well in rain even before.

Do you remember Seb’s performance in wet Fuji in 2007 which was either his 5th or 6th race. In Tore Rosso, 19 ur old rookie Seb was in contention of podium and would have been 3rd if not for the crash.

Seb was always excellent in rain and not excellent, only for a single race as people remember. In Monaco, where overtaking is difficult, Seb drove to 5th from 17th or 18th in 2008 . Seb’s Monza 2008 wasn’t an one off.

5

I didn’t mean to imply that Vettel’s performance in Monza was a one-off, obviously it wasn’t (he is a double WDC after all).

The point I was making was that Vettel’s first win was earned with assistance from external effects (the rain). I don’t think that the Toro Rosso that year was a race winning car in normal circumstances, Vettel was and is certainly capable of winning Grands Prix.

The rain in Monza, just like the tires so far this season have helped to level the performance of the various chassis, this in turn has allowed a number of otherwise mid-field running drivers to show that they are very capable. I just don’t get why people are complaining about the tires, they are not all that dissimilar from other events and pressures that conspire to level the playing field of chassis performance.

I imagine that as the season moves along the top constructors will, most likely, come to grips with the tires and will begin to separate themselves more clearly from the midfield.

6

Shane

Actually I won’t mind if we have a new winner. But if we have 2 new winners in 5 races and the latest was so bad in his rookie year and even this year except this race which he won that will make people complain.

Nobody complained about Vettel winning in 2008 in a car which finished 7th in WCC because he was brilliant even before and barring his win. I doubt that about Maldonado but if he is proves me wrong, I won’t complain.

7

Vettel in Torro Rosso at Monza =/= Maldonado in Williams at Barcelona.

While wet races are fun from time to timeand shake up the pack I for one would not want a whole season of wet races and the randomness that that would mean. It appears that’s what we have right now though, probably even more random.

8

Good point, and I agree. I assume that at some point the best teams and drivers will more consistently arrive on the podium. I guess I just don’t mind where we are at this year, it has been entertaining thus far.

9
Lonny Johnson

Please. This is not a lottery. All the teams are given the same tires. All the teams race in the same conditions. Maldonado did not win by luck. He was second fastest in Q3. His team made the best decisions on which tires to run and when to change them. Where is it written that a mid field team shall always remain a mid field team? Williams and Lotus (Renault) have run at the front in the past. They have talented people on staff. Red Bull was a mid field team not too long ago. Ferrari has not always been at the top. The one constant in racing is that things will change over time. I like it.

10

I always thought that at least half the F1 field was composed of drivers capable of winning a race given the chance; taking into account that most of them were heavyweight contenders in the junior categories and/or other formulas. Problem with F1 is it requires each team to design its own car. So a lot of times, a driver is capable of producing so much more, but is unable to if he is provided a mediocre/inferior car. Unlike the feeder or American series, there everyone uses chassis of one make and an engine from just one or two manufacturers, so immediately the playing field is leveled and it all comes down to a driver’s skill and technical proficiency. That is what happened in Spain, not a single car had a distinct advantage over the others so at the end of the day, the grand prix was won by the best driver. Fight night isn’t always won by the more talented individual, it is won by the better man on that particular night.

Sometimes though, the driver can be just good but he can have a car advantage, so the reverse happens: his talent is made to look so much greater than it actually is.

But as you’ve mentioned James, the cream always rises to the top and I fully agree with you on that one. F1 is the big leagues, and at the end of the day its always the very best that make it happen. Look at the likes of Jam Magnussen (heralded by Jackie Stewart as greatest prospect since A. Senna) or Hienz-Herald Frentzen (consistent Schumacher ass kicker in the lower categories), both were highly successful individuals who just failed to hack it in F1. Whereas the likes of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher stood out in their rookie seasons with less than stellar machineries.

11

Magnussen won the British F3 championship…. at a gallop. Beating Senna’s record number of season wins.

For Jackie Stewart’s son’s team.

12

Actually Frentzen finished on equal points in F3 to Schumacher, not really an ass kicking.

13

Anyone agree by the end of the year we will see less of the midfield team’s making an impact 🙁

14

Yes, as the big teams develop

15

Classic Frank Williams quote from Autosport:

‘When asked if Maldonado was only at Williams in the first place because of money, Williams said: “Yeah, he was to some extent. I’m not denying that. But if we thought he’d been a wanker, he wouldn’t have got in the team no matter how much money he had”…’

16

Well Frank said on SkyF1 broadcast “Pastor is not typical unlatin driver”.

My respect for Sir Frank went down a notch. Given that it was Latin driver that had given the team their last win, and another latin driver that ended 8 season long victory drought.

Basically that one sentence tells the hierarchy and biases in F1 and how F1 game is played.

Its time somebody tells the people from Island, that days of imperialism are past and Asia/South America/Africa are not colonies anymore. If you want sponsors from these countries to fund your teams, better treat their fans and drivers courteously.

17

I know a lot of punters are writing in talking of the former purity of F1 racing and how we are not seeing what was the default pecking order now through the manipulation of tyre performance and artifical aids, but honestly guys it is really all about entertainment. That is what will keep this sport alive and fluorishing, if it entertains and enthralls us. I can accept and would even agree with some of points of debate around the tyre ‘lottery’ and DRS application, but I also feel that the racing results needed to be levelled somehow as the last thing anyone of us really want and need is the return to domination by one team/driver. The powers that be in F1 have been altering the mix a bit in recent years to try to achieve a balance of entertainment whilst still giving superior technology and skill a showcase. Have they got the mix right in 2012? Still too early to say in my opinion, but I’d be very surprised if after all the apparent randomn results we’ve had early in the season that the cream does not rise to the top, as James said, and that we do not see a fight between the previously established elite (Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso) and our ever popular top level support players(Button, Raikonnen and Webber) pitching into the fight by season end. The WDC will come from one of this bunch I feel sure. In the meantime, lets hope Schumi can pull off a win this year to vindicate his return and may we enjoy a few more surprises along the way.

18

When you read the Race Strategy Report later today, you’ll see how close the margins are and the decisions needing to be taken are huge.

This was an intense race, with many drivers pushing very hard

19

I am not sure if we are seeing the best drivers winning the races.

In karting, Formula Ford, GP2 or in any other sport, there is always only a few top guys stand out from the pack.

With different drivers winning races, you never know how much of that is artificial.

I am not discrediting them, but we just don’t know and that is the problem.

If Pastor win a few races or one win with a couple of podium finishes, yeah I would consider him a top driver.

The problem here is that, in one race you win, next you finish 9th, next you finish 6th. When that happens to very consistent drivers, it does raise a lot of questions to new winners and tyre manufacture.

Personally, I think this is fake, it’s artificial, base on the fact tyres are picking winners or at least it seems like it.

20
Lonny Johnson

The tires make very little difference really. F1 has always been about getting the most out of the tires. Don’t you think Ferrari and MS had a huge advantage by doing Bridgestone’s testing and having a Bridgestone engineer on staff? In a non championship race once Clark was leading and pushing so hard he eventually slid off the track and crashed. When they asked him why he was running so hard he replied that the car behind him was on a new tire and he needed to see how it stood up to his Dunlops. He once won 4 races on the same set of Dunlop tires. Can you imagine any driver running a tire that hard today? Then came qualifying tires good for 2 laps at the most, mess it up and you started in the back. In those days it wasn’t unusual to win from the rear because the aerodynamics allowed more straight passing. Then it used to be tires were not a factor, you ran hard until you needed fuel, then you changed tires because you could. Now the rules are so restrictive last year’s Red Bull may be the last time a car is plainly superior to everything else. You will see more winners because a change as small as 2′ of track temperature changes the way the car works. Conditions will almost always favor one car in particular. I like it. The fastest guy doesn’t just show up, TQ, and win. You have to think and plan and adapt. Maldonado and Williams clearly had speed in Q3 and apart from losing time crowding Alonso at the start, ran a perfect race. And in reply to a way earlier post, In 1960 and ’61 Clark was pretty much a mid fielder.

21

Wow. Lots of comments. My 2 cents:

Everyone is commenting how they feel f1 has turned into a lottery and the tires have too much influence…

I don’t think the tires have changed all that much. What has changed is how closely matched the cars are. With the restrictions on EBDs and flexi-wings, any difference in tire management between the teams is now amplified. Last year, EBDs brought enough performance difference throught out the field to mostly negate difference in tire management. But with car performance now being so close, the tire management of each team is much more clear.

Think back to 2010. Everyone one-stopped at the exact same time and that was it. While drivers were able to drive closer the limit, there was very little passing and only the elites figured in races due to car superiority. Then the EBD did the same in 2011. And people complained.

Now we actually have a series that is very closely matched with highly unpredictable races and people are still complaining. So what do people want? Boring races/seasons where there is clearly only 1-3 teams that can win, or a series in which elites can still rise to the top of the standings but a whole half of the teams are possible race winners?

F1 needs to survive, and in order to do so it needs to keep sponsors. The best way to do that is for sponsors to have real hope the their car, not just the Mclaren, Red Bull, or Ferrari, has potential to win a race. It also needs a broad audience. 2010 had lots of strategic interests, but little on track excitement.

We now have a series that sponsors can like, a broad audience can enjoy, that highlights a multitude of driving talents (not just those of the elites), is unpredictable, and maybe the closest contested ever.

I’m sorry, but I don’t know what’s not too like. It seems people want the everlasting Bridgestones bolted back on the car. Great, the drivers can then drive all the qualifying laps to their hearts’ content while I have to yawn away boring race after boring race. I’m watching f1 for the entertainment, not for races with a total of 10 or fewer on track passes like in past years. That’s only fun if it’s your driver winning. For the other 80% of fans it sucks.

Are you not entertained? I’m entertained. What could be better than not having a gosh darn freaking clue what will happen in Monaco? If the elites drive like elites, and the elite teams act like elite teams, then the elites will win. But if they slip up (i.e. Mclaren Hamilton pit stop), watch out for a Maldonado back-to-back or a Kobi special. Or a Kimi comeback. Or a Schumi whatever (probably a crash). Being on Monaco.

22

[mod] If a few drivers win all the races then everyone complains that it is boring and predictable. If there is no overtaking then everyone complains that it is boring and predictable.

Now we head into Monaco knowing that there are about ten drivers with the potential to win the race if they can sync up their setup, tyre performance and strategy. It takes the full support of the team to win races.

We only have to look at what happened to Webber last race, to see, that he could have won the race if everything worked out with his team and reliability, but instead he couldn’t even get in the points because he didn’t do another lap (not even on a scrubbed set) in Q2, even when it was obvious, judging by the sector times (with 3 minutes remaining) that he should do one. It is also clear the Red Bull starting system and its complexities does not suit him whatsoever, like last year, he is consistently the worst starter in F1. And then he had a mysterious front wing problem. Bottom line – if you don’t get everything right on the weekend, you can go from win to nothing.

Now this is excitement plus. Many drivers with a chance to win. Much overtaking. You really have to watch a race right until the end to know the result. I mean look at Kimi. He was closing the leaders at almost two seconds a lap at the end!

23

Actually the only thing highlighted by Pastor Maldonado’s win is the current insane state of the F1 Tyre Lottery Formula.

It is a pretty inane formula. Contrary to what James Allen says here about someone getting it right. It is actually entirely possible that Williams only got it partially right and that everyone else got it completely wrong.

Maldonado himself admitted that the car was “suddenly very quick”. This is a dumb formula.

24
Stone the crows

The picture of the podium ceremony makes me wonder why Maldonado is giving Alonso the Vulcan ‘neck pinch,” looks uncomfortable.

25

Most nnexpected victory in F1’s (recent?)history? More so than Vettel at Monza 2008 given his form prior to that race.

Just leaves me with the feeling that, “that something in the regs just can’t be right”

While he drove very well (race of his life I’ll bet)… that car/driver combo shouldn’t be winning a GP.

Oh well, I guess that Damon Hill was a world champion. We got over that. Eventually.

26

Thanks, James. It seems so. Different cars work well in different conditions and they’re quite close on pace. Add to this those crazy

Pirelli tyres and you’ll get the lottery we see now. And you can’t call it boring or artifficial, can you? To me, it’s definately more interesting than the 2001-2004 political situation (as Adrian Newey called it) that allowed Ferrari/Schumacher domination. At least, now everybody gets the same boots.

And besides, it’s nice to see A.Newey scratching his head. It shows he’s a human like us 🙂

Bart

27

I dont think just few wins or some good drive are good enough to put someone in to elit club.

Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel were all special that one quickly understands that they got something unique, something differnt from others from the first day they enter.

28

Good article.

29

For me it is about being consistant. Rosberg, Maldanado, Grosjean. They are up and down all the time. Look at the top 4 in the driver rankings, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen. They are all there or there-abouts every week and even on off weekends find a way to get points. Hamilton drove like mad this week to get points from the back of the grid, Vettel worked his tail off for 6th even with a penalty to serve. The likes of Rosberg and Maldanado are just as likely to win as take no points so it is hard to put them up there too high at this point. Not to say they can’t get there though….

30

I see lot of people blaming tyres but..

What is happening now? Top drivers/teams (with lot of supporters) being beaten by midfield rated drivers/teams (with much less supporters).

Also top team supporters may be fed up because:

– McLaren is fast but team makes

– Ferrari is not fast enough though teamwork looks good

The 2 teams above taking the majority of the F1 fans and I think they’re also taking the majority of the tyre situation haters.

Come’on! Only 5 races past. Wait a little and see what will happen towards the end of the year.

I am sure that some of the top guys will take the title at the end but will have to work hard for it.

31

I cant understand why people are calling this a tire lottery. This can be a lottery only if the different tyres which are supposed to be of the same spec are performing differently on the same car. That can hardly be the case

Also there so many comments stating the that the winning drivers/teams have “lucked” into the setup. Setup for a race is anything but random trials of parameters. The final setup is approached after running many hours of simulations back at the factory for a baseline and then structured experimentation on the track. The data is then analysed to obtain the best setup for the quali/race. Hence to call it “lucking” into the setup is plain insulting towards the teams.

Also the fact that we have seen so many winners points to the fact that the performance of the cars is very similar. This was to be expected as the effects of exhaust which are very difficult to model have been severely curtailed. So the setup and the optimal window of the car have been the differentiators. I would say that if the car is good/bad in certain temperatures then it is the designers who are responsible and not the tires.

32

Hello James,

Im always wondering one thing, why drivers like Perez, Riccardo, DiResta and even Hulkemberg often get linked to seats in Ferrari, RedBull, Mercedes.. but a guy like Kobayashi who has demonstrated in his career that he CAN overtake, can get good results and can nurse his tyres well, never get that kind of attention, from the media and from the teams?

I know hes often accused of not being too quick in qualyfing, but look at his performance in china qualy when he put the sauber in 4th !

33

I’ll have a crack at answering that.

Perez – Telmex & Ferrari Development Driver

Riccardo- Redbull Young Driver Program

Verne – Redbull Young Driver Program

DiResta – Ex-Mercedes works DTM driver

Hulkemberg – Mercedes

There has been a whole lot of media hype on these guys even before they get to F1. Just look at the attention Valtteri Bottas is getting at the moment.

Guys like Kobyashi who come out of nowhere and haven’t got huge corporate backing get overlooked. Also unfortunately nationality plays a role to. If he was Chinese instead of Japanese all the teams would be falling over themselves to sign him.

It is what it is, so all he can do is keep his head down and continue to bring home the results.

34

“On any given Sunday.”

It is nice to see a phrase like this be applicable to an F1 weekend. In a sport so dominated by money and aero-tech the first quarter of the 2012 season must be the promising glow of a warm campfire on a harsh journey through a cold, desolate landscape for personnel on many of the smaller teams.

“If we get things right this week…we can win!”

What a motivating feeling that has to be right now. On a weekend where McLaren will be embarrassed to have invoked Force Majeure we saw that it doesn’t take a random weather event or freakish set of racing circumstances to see some different teams on the podium.

Teams seem to have to show up with more than a Coke and a smile to win. The tires are dividing opinion and conversation, and if they are doing that they must also be dividing and redistributing team resources into areas other than aero.

The tires also seem to bring make the personality of each race venue a bit more important in the calculations of race success. Local climate, track layout and surface quality all seem to matter just a little bit more now that aero alone can’t dominate every battle.

I like a good underdog story as much as I enjoy watching an unmatched force dominate the competition (Usain Bolt anyone). The thing I like about this year so far is that it allows the possibility for both.

35

I don’t know where I stand on the tyres. The teams are still trying to understand them and it’s still early in the season. I suspect that in the second half of the season, there will be a better understanding of the tyres and the “big teams” will be back on top.

36

I do think that these Pirellis have gone too far the other way compared to the Bridgestones, but I remember when a lot of GPs were completely boring and to the non – afficionado it was like watching paint dry! Also it seems people have forgotten the previous eras when we had more than one tyre manufacturer in F1 and would find that one tyre gave certain teams an advantage at a GP only for that to be eroded at the next GP. The skill here is managing your tyres so you can still compete. That is still a skill worthy of respect – Maldonado, Hamilton and Alonso did this in the last race. My preference though would be to have the Pirellis of last year which were a bit more consistent.

37

Of course it’s a bit of a lottery with the tyres ! Otherwise mclaren, rbr, Ferrari, would win more races. That’s the point -the f1 management want it this way.Yeah it’s entertaining cause now you have millions of fans watching that know nothing about motor racing- I heard it from people over the weekend. Great for the sport yes. Is it right for Sport– I say no way! All of us here say its great to see so many diff winners but we’re all guessing whether the tyres are predictable .Teams can control their cars- engines, box ratios, diff, aero. But they have no control on the most important contact with ground. I can tell you if the top teams are struggling to understand the operating window of the tyres by now -none really does. And no not even Lotus ! As they would have won easily if they did- that’s the point. When the operating window is marginal and very variable according to temp, track conditions. How consistent can they truly be ??

I hope James can ask this of Paul hembrey next time !

I would much prefer to see the fastest drivers drive flat out in the fastest cars on tyres lasting a race on light fuel than what we are seeing. The rules and financial restrictions are such that we have equalizers in drs and kers anyway. If a team dominate others can catch up in following season eg RBR blown diffuser.or mclaren f duct.

38
Stone the crows

So you’d like to go back to 2005? I mean no offense, but do you think that if Michael Schumacher wins a race this year he’s going tell James in the post race interview that he won a tyre lottery and not a race? Is he going to say his win was a happy accident? Of course not, he would attribute the win to preparation and skill taking advantage of every opportunity?

39

This isnt about Michael or 2005. We actually have rules now which are the same for everyone(laughs). Budgets are probably less than half what they were. People can now overtake with KERS and DRS, DDR’s, Engines lasting X.no of races, Gearboxes lasting x no of races. All the things that were a handicap to smaller teams are not as much anymore, Innovations are copied within 5 or so races. I dont get how people say “its still early” we are 5 from 20 and the worlds best engineers and best drivers still dont know whats happening with the tyres. Sure they will get it by August but more than half the season will be gone and only then we will see all that talent let loose each in their own way !

This all about appealing to new f1 fans with close racing but if you really understand the sport you cannot be convinced regardless of the results.

40

Gosh let’s go round In circles did we have drs, KERS etc.. And yes I would prefer the fastest team driver regardless.. Lotteries are for the average joe blow..

41
Stone the crows

I based my question on your two statements; ‘of course it’s a bit of a lottery with the tyres,’ and, ‘I would much prefer to see the fastest drivers drive flat out in the fastest cars on tyres lasting a race on light fuel than what we are seeing.’ In 2005 we had one tyre for the entire race in which refueling was allowed and that requirement lasted one season. I speculated that if it is a lottery then would the winners call it that? It is early, 5 races does not mean the season is over, far from it. Much is still to be learned, just as it is with any new technology introduced, such as KERS, or DRS, they had to be explored and improved. I don’t see it so much as appealing to new fans as it has been satisfying the experienced fans who’ve complained for years about races that were nothing but processions and the only changes in position happen in the pit stops. Remember they had an overtaking working group to make these changes.

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