Analysis: Sebastian Vettel’s F1 starts: can he address a developing problem?
Posted By: Editor   |  26 Jun 2018   |  7:56 am GMT  |  184 comments

Sebastian Vettel’s title aspirations were dealt a blow at the Paul Ricard circuit when he tangled with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner of the Grand Prix, costing himself between eight and 15 points, but with championships won and lost on such fine margins, will Ferrari be putting pressure on their leader to address start-related errors which also proved costly last year.

Starting in France with a front-row lockout, the Mercedes cars were always likely to enter the first corner with at least one car in the lead, despite third-placed Vettel starting on the softer tyres.

Vettel made perfect use of the softest available compound – and a slipstream from the lead Mercedes – by challenging both cars into turn one.

However, Vettel locked up and understeered into Bottas at the first corner.

After additional contact with Haas’ Romain Grosjean, Vettel limped back to the pits minus a front wing, whilst Bottas sustained a puncture and floor damage.

From there, Vettel and Bottas spent the remainder of the race in ‘damage limitation’ mode, attempting to claw back as many points as possible whilst Hamilton took a straightforward victory.

Ferrari’s team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was quick to say after the race that the French Grand Prix was winnable. Most analysts think that Mercedes with the new version of its engine and aerodynamic profile of the car, was slightly superior at Paul Ricard. Especially in qualifying, which gives a chance to control the race.

One of Vettel’s few opportunities to overtake the Mercedes cars was in the opening laps of the race, where the Ferrari would’ve ‘switched on’ the ultrasoft tyres quicker than Mercedes’ supersofts.

If Ferrari genuinely had race-winning pace, then perhaps Vettel knew that his chances would increase dramatically if he could pass at least one of the Mercedes on the first lap. Then again he would be alone against two Mercedes and unable to cover both on race strategy at the stops, after Kimi Raikkonen again made a mistake in Q3 and left Vettel alone at the front.

Either way, Vettel’s start was another example of over-eagerness that has dogged his Ferrari championship campaigns.

Vettel famously scuppered his 2017 championship challenge when, from pole position, he came together with both Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen at the Singapore Grand Prix, which allowed Hamilton to win the race and extend his lead in the standings from three to twenty-eight points.

Similarly in Baku 2018, although he wasn’t dealing with a standing start, Vettel once again made a costly error when attempting a pass on Bottas on the safety car restart; he locked up, ran wide, flat-spotted his tyre and was demoted to fifth, which became fourth when Bottas retired with a penultimate-lap puncture.

With three ‘start’ incidents in fifteen races, could it be argued that Vettel needs to reassess his approach?

Too close for comfort; Is Vettel’s incident further evidence of Formula One’s aerodynamics problem?

Not for the first time this season, a chasing car wasn’t helped by the sudden loss of downforce that occurs when one Formula One car follow another very closely.

With the lead car drastically disturbing the air flow for the chasing car, it results in a reduction of downforce.

This therefore reduces the amount of force being transferred through the car to the tyres, and if there is less load on the front tyres, a driver is more likely to lock a wheel under braking. This lock-up means the car will not slow down as quickly.

If a driver is following another car very closely and locks a wheel, then it increases the chances of there being a collision.

We’ve already seen incidents this season where a lack of downforce hasn’t helped prevent a collision. Along with Vettel’s collision into Bottas, the Red Bull drivers were eliminated in Baku when Ricciardo and Verstappen were racing in close quarters.

Similarly, whilst Romain Grosjean’s opening lap spin-to-crash in Barcelona was his error, he would’ve been unaided in his attempts to recover the spin by the air flow disturbances from the car ahead.

The famous phrase says that “the race isn’t won at the first corner”, but given how difficult it is for cars to overtake on many of the circuits, does turn one become the one golden chance to pass the car in front?

All images: Motorsport Images

Do you think Vettel was too aggressive at the start of the French Grand Prix? Leave your comments below.

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I thought a Grand prix was supposed to be a race . If so Vettel had every right and perhaps an obligation to go into turn 1 with an intent of gaining position knowing that in F1 overtaking is virtually impossible and that F1 has become a series of contests largely determined by qualification and not the race that follows .

With this in mind Vettel went hard into T1 . The Mercedes drivers decided ( or were instructed) to box Vettel in ,knowing that overtaking is virtually impossible and with one car running interference the other car ( in this instance the de facto#1 car ) would as protected and in clean – air would quickly gain an insurmountable lead .

Both parties have the right to do as they did and the result ,if other than neutral, should be held to be a racing incident .

F1 is a circuit which lets its drivers block and double move on a regular basis ( rules of sportsmanship aside) so why was the T1 contact ruled a penalty ,other than the apparent fact that the F1 powers- that- be want Mercedes and their drivers to succeed and want Ferrari and their drivers to fail ?


Uh, maybe because he steamed right into the back of a competitor, and spun him around, ruining his race? You’re still not allowed to drive through other cars thankfully.

What the Mercedes drivers did was perfectly valid and proper. They boxed Vettel in, so he couldn’t overtake them. That’s the benefit you get for starting 1-2. What Vettel did was not legal. He caused an avoidable collision.


Sebee hasn’t commented on this article. If he had, with his “unique insight,” he would have no doubt revealed that the first corner action was orchestrated by Mercedes and agreed with Ferrari beforehand.

So actually we can all stop arguing about it.


It’s not a developing problem, it’s fully matured! Seb is a loose cannon poor thinker time after time!


It seems putting up an F1 news site and understanding competitive rivalry are two totally different things.

Mentoring some hotmouth under ” editor ” name is good for ego but bad for F1 in general.

Most visitors on this site reading and commeting doesn’t understanding anything about competitive rivalry, and they will take on the face value everything written here.

” Editor ” just diminish the fine game playing out here on the highest level of this sport.

I just feel sorry for the people taking this writing seriously.

This site is purely for selling F1.


It’s a good article, raising a number of serious points, and I don’t see anything in it whatsoever to justify this criticism.


Some comments are actually hilarious. Comedy on the highest level. Some would argue: Bottas should of course have anticipated Vettel’s incompetence or lack of judgement, this is evident because he also should have better insight into Vettel’s psyche. And from what the intricate decisions this psyche is, or is not capable of, should lead Bottas into making the appropriate adjustments, and decide his actions accordingly:)) And then the real process of evaluating the steps one after the other in a split second, which should lead to Vettel not making a mistake. Clear case indeed:)


@Chris D:

Indeed – just like some people insist that Max should have anticipated Vettel’s start line swerve at Singapore last year and meekly backed out of the race to let the Ferraris win.



Yes indeed we’re doing our part to get the economy going;) And expect a steady stram of Alonso articles coming, because of this, even though the man hasn’t done anything interesting for a decade, except being annoying. In between a stinger towards Seb or Lewis. However not much have pointed against Lewis recently in any way actually, but still the fury rises. And then we have the: is Kimi going to retire, when, when, oh heavens! What else will we talk about, in this current formula that could possibly be more interesting;)) Can’t see a problem with this, it’s how commerce worked for hundreds of years.


At least Vettel makes things interesting. his comeback through the pack was very impressive.


Yes, Vettel put on a great “show”, which is the most important aspect.

His DRS assisted overtakes on fellow Ferrari powered cars was far from impressive though….that was average at best.


Yes Vettel need of being more careful, yet what happened last week end is more bad luck in the form of Bottas taking a lot of chances any time he loses is position off the start.

It is not the first time Bottas boxes or squeeze an opponent after being pipped at the start. Ask Kimi…..


Perhaps you should go back and watch Vettel’s in-car. Bottas didn’t take a chance. Vettel was ahead of him, but he outbraked Vettel into the turn. Braking later than the driver ahead of you is a passing technique, not “taking a chance”. Until he was punted off by Vettel, Bottas was in control of his car under braking, so it wasn’t some kamikaze move like Verstappen used to do.

If the analysis here is correct, Vettel didn’t have enough downforce on his car for his brakes to be as effective as those on Bottas’ car. But Vettel is experienced enough to know something like that would happen. He should have had a better plan for what would happen if wasn’t able to clear Bottas in time to set up for that turn (i.e., the scenario that happened).

Related to this, I think that, when a competitor makes a mistake that damages another competitor’s car, the stewards need to assess sufficient penalties that the at-fault competitor can’t get a better result than the other car.


If Seb needs to address his aggressive starts so does Kimi need to address his cautious starts. He loses too much positions at the starts during season.


If you’re all travelling in the same direction, and the car in front doesn’t do anything crazy, it’s got to be your fault if you run into the back of it. And yes, in my opinion the accident at Ricard showed a similar Vettel error to the spectacular pile-up at Singapore – he was trying to get something he wanted but that wasn’t actually available. And 5 seconds wasn’t the right penalty. But both were racing incidents – racers have to gamble.


Agreed !!!

Tornillo Amarillo

I don’t understand how the midfield crashes in lap 1 all the time, why Max was crashing all the time, and Vettel with this simple kind of crush in turn 1. It’s getting boring.

It’s not just Vettel, the race is long and the drivers should be more intelligent (like Ricciardo maybe, who won 2 races this season so far).


Not sure I agree with this assessment. The only thing I think Vettel was guilty of was not anticipating that he would get away quicker than both Mercedes, and failing to get his elbows out to prevent Bottas from boxing him in tight behind Lewis. The actual lock up itself was entirely forgivable -anyone who thinks it’s easy to find your braking point when your car is full of fuel and you’re losing an unspecified amount of downforce doesn’t comprehend how hard driving these cars really is. It could easily have been a lot worse, let’s put it that way.

And as for Singapore, you show me a driver who doesn’t defend the inside line into Turn 1 and I’ll show you a driver who won’t win championships.


Wrong on all counts. Vettel was on a faster tyre and he’s a fast starter, he would have been completely aware that his getaway would be faster. It wasn’t fast enough to get completely in front of Bottas and get out of Lewis’s turbulence. Bottas had no obligation to move right and let Vettel into clean air.

The lock-up was entirely predictable and Vettel would have known his downforce was gone. He had plenty of time to brake earlier, but it’s completely understandable that he didn’t want to. He was trying to intimidate Bottas into giving up the corner, I suspect. It didn’t work and he took Bottas out. Bottas was completely innocent – he braked later and was making the corner just fine when Vettel piled into him and ruined his race..

Of course Vettel can defend his inside line – but when he knows his downforce is going to disappear and he won’t make the corner and he’ll run straight on – that’s not defensible. And that’s why he got a penalty. And why he admitted it was his mistake.


James, with tongue firmly in cheek, how about a separate place where the pro-Hamilton and pro-Vettel fans can bicker with each other. It’s like little kids on here sometimes with opinions nowhere near facts. Sebee could even have his own little padded section to himself too for V10s and Halos?


Big kids that love F1 at times. ;oD

Well, if ONLY the pros and people in the paddock and industry insiders where allowed on this site, it would be a private intranet forum. James welcomes good nature’d banter and a “reasoned” point of view on F1. As long as there are no insults, respect and good manners, passion-ed fanboy comments and ideas are allowed, even if some fans don’t fit others ideals. And in my case, I’m a REAL big fanboy if F1 and JA’s site is THE place for me to get anything close to great F1 journalism. Thank you James and the Team for letting us share our passionate fanboy comments on this site! 😀


a separate place where the pro-Hamilton and pro-Vettel fans can bicker with each other

This is in no way meant as a criticism of this site – I enjoy visiting here – but surely the whole point of an article like this is to spark a debate and increase the number of ‘clicks’. There must be a correlation between the amount of traffic/clicks on a site and the value of advertising space etc. If I’m wrong I’ve no doubt that someone will tell me 🙂


I almost do not even dare .. I’ll be called a Vettel-boy for sure .. but upon live view, as well as now after watching youtube replays of onboard footage .. I can’t see why this is not just racing incident ………. as was the OCO/GAS thing .. (not the GRO/OCO tho) .. as was the VET/ALO thing. All racing incidents.


Seb is an older version of Max. He’s mostly in control but has those moments when he starts yelling “You kids get of my damn lawn”.


Baku 2018: This is what any racing racing driver would do. Take out of the box chances to recapture the lead lost due to unfortunate timing of the safety car. If you can’t understand that, you probably don’t understand racing Mr. Allen.

France 2018: 100% Vettel’s fault

Singapore 2017: If you start P1 and doesn’t try to protect your lead, then you shouldn’t call yourself a racer. Everyone knows what Verstappen is. Therefore Raikkonen should have been more careful, considering that Ferrari’s objective is to win WDC and not WCC. It’s Arrivabene’s fault for not enforcing stricter protocols for teammates starting next to each other and allowing them to go for it in the opening laps.

When Hamilton is off pace for couple of races, I don’t see you writing articles about it. But one error from Vettel, you folks in English media jump on Vettel like bunch of sharks.

Vettel should do exactly what Verstappen advised: Ignore the likes of English media and continue to drive the way he has. He has won 4 championships, 2 of them under extreme pressure situations. So he certainly doesn’t need any advise from you.

With or without singapore 2017, Hamilton would have won the championship because he had a marginally faster car. if you have any doubts, check who has maximum pole positions last year. This year it is pretty even with Hamilton and Vettel both having 3 each.


Less of the “English media” jibes, seems that the Italian media have been ripping vettel’s screw up tendencies too….

On the marbles

There’s a difference between being “off pace” and colliding with people, just so you know.

Vettel has the guts to go for it rather than taking a more measured approach. That is admirable, and while it may pay off sometimes, other times it won’t. It’s fine if you pay the cost of taking a gamble, not so good when someone else has to.

I don’t think Vettel should be overly criticised for Sunday’s incident on its own, but the larger picture suggests he does seem to be racking up a few more dodgy more incidents in recent times than his four times champion status would lead you to expect.


Hamilton had more poles last year (2017) not because of the car but because Hamilton is a better qualifier than Vettel. Deal with that fact. Just saying !!!


Obviously a Hamilton fanboy


fail, incorrect, wrong!!!! the merc was faster than the Ferrari, fact!


Vettel doesn’t only make mistakes at the start, he’s likely to get the red mist at any time during a race. He’s had the problem throughout his career, it’s nothing new and isn’t going to change any time soon. In years gone by he’d have been led around on a piece of string by the likes of Graham Hill or Alain Prost.

Expect more fireworks in coming races and don’t expect either Ferrari or the FIA to sort him out.


Talking about an hater…

You mean Prost the one who drove directly on Senna’s car to win a world championship? You mean that Prost?

Ahmed of Sydney

James, I think this is being way too critical in a sport where there is a fine line between winning and losing.

If Bottas has backed out, and Vettel had swept around the outside of Hamilton for the lead, what would the headline be??

Vettel got a great start, he tucked in behind Hamilton and he was ahead of. Bottas. Hamilton tucked into the inside of Turn 1, and Started braking, This allowed Bottas to brake late and box in Vettel. Bottas went aggressive into turn 1, Vettel with no downforce & a narrow apex due to Bottas’s position couldn’t avoid contact. You could argue that bottas should’ve known Vettel was not going to make the apex from that angle and shouldnt have boxed him in? Racing incident, no intent, nothing more nothing less.

Alternative would be to follow the Mercs home after 1st corner for the rest of the race and finish 3rd… I’m glad he went for the win, makes races more interesting…


Ahmed, exactly what i have been saying on previous posts.

I still think Vettel “caused” the collision, but Bottas took a massive risk and could easily have avoided the contact. No malice, not dangerous or careless…a first corner incident. I think the penalty was appropriate, but bordering on harsh.

IMO the arguement that Bottas was disadvantaged and Vet should have penalised further is absolute tosh, because Bottas rolled the dice…


Very good assessment.

Overhead picture says that Bottas was swimming against the current when all the others went with the flow Hamilton dictated. There’s no way Bottas should have anticipating getting away crossing the lines people around him were on.


I think Bottas got what he deserved on that incident.


I’d mostly agree. The only valid criticism you can level at Vettel, IMO, is that he should’ve expected to make up ground on the Mercedes because of his tyres and should’ve moved over on Bottas right away.


Drivers are responsible for their own races, they can’t depend upon other drivers backing down. The problem Vettel had is known to all of the drivers and teams, he had no excuse for going into the first corner too fast. It’s all very easy for you sitting at home watching numerous re-runs of the start and analysing every second of the action. Try listening to the other drivers and former drivers who have made it quite plain, Vettel cocked up. Oh, Vettel has admitted he cocked up too.


Amen !!! The Vettel slurpers are out in fukll force today huh. LOL


I actually don’t think they exist on this site…

Just plenty of haters that don’t need an invitation to take a swing..


Some good points James. If you look back at the close championship fights Vettel has been in, one has to question his split decision making. Brazil 2012 springs to mind.


Rules should be changed so that drivers must enter the first corner in a polite and orderly fashion. Perhaps the cars should all be tethered to each other, or somehow drivers hold a rope to ensure correct single file spacing. Doesn’t help when front tires often cant bite when following other cars, with current aero regs this will keep on happening over and over.


If Vettel was British, he would have waved Bottas through, old chap.


Hamilton is British and I do not recall Hamilton waving anyone thru. In fact, Hamilton has a reputation for doing quite the opposite to racing opposition. just saying !!!


I bet the die hard vettle fans know deep down their man needs to calm down if he is to beat lewis

Lewis will get even better as the season gets deeper in.

Vettle wasted last year if he does this year too will he get another chance?…..imagine if redbull honda hit the ground running next year !!!!


Honda will need 10 years of hitting the ground running at this pace.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but Mercedes and Ferrari have been hitting the ground running every season.


Altho I agree that Ham is more precise and collected at this time in both their carreers (thus the better driver) (as was the case last year) ..

Being mostly slightly ahead … vs .. being mostly slightly behind .. is a whole different story. Merc is pushing to STAY ahead, while Ferr is pushing to GET ahead … that too is a different atmosphere.

So no .. I don’t think Vettel needs to calm anything down.


Well if he doesnt need to calm down he can keep taking 5th places while his rival wins.


And that is probably exactly as shall happen. Ferr won’t make Vet a 5-time champ, unless it produces a car that has an edge .. and keeps the edge all year long. This would turn around the atmosphere I mentioned and will result in Vet calming down on his own and becoming the calm & collected driver that Ham is right now. Don’t be fooled .. the fact that Merc has had the edge (a big one at times) for the past 3 or 4 years made Ham be the driver he is today. Not a Ham-fan, but his driving must be admired for sure. He’s in that sweet-spot in his carreer .. WITH credits to Merc 😉

Just as James has said: “Ferr won’t get it unless it’s spot-on all year” .. that’s not even possible. Only if a car has an edge and a team is confident and comfortable can such a thing happen.


Had Mercedes started on Ultras, Bottas would haven been untouchable — hence, Mercedes made a mistake going for Supersofts in Q2 — as Räikkönen stayed out longer than Hamilton on Ultras.


Seb definitely has his rush of blood moments. As shown clearly by his disgraceful road rage incident with Lewis and his petulant “tell Charlie to **** off”. This is just another of those in my opinion. He lost control of himself.

Of course he’s an exceptionally good driver and of course that means he can manage to actually brake properly, first corner or not.

He can make all the excuses he likes but the bottom line here is he didn’t brake early enough in France. Look at the absolute chaos that happens behind the front rows at every race. If everyone behaved like that it would be utter carnage at every first corner.

I agree with Max, he doesn’t need to change his driving style at all. Just make better decisions.

So to answer the question, yes he was too aggressive. As he has been on many occasions before. And this is one of the reasons why I thought the penalty was too lenient. Ruining someone else’s race because you had a red mist moment is definitely worse than not going fast enough behind the safety car, I don’t see how anyone could argue otherwise. One of them is deserving of the minimum penalty and a slap of the wrist, one of them deserves a bit more in my opinion.

But let’s face it, both Seb and Ferrari have a long history of being looked on favourably by the FIA…


The penalty was a joke. It should have been a 30s stop/go penalty, not servable in a pit stop. This whole notion that because it’s the start of a race, we toss the rules aside is nonsense. The race start is the most crucial part of the race, and therefor the rules should be most strictly enforced and breaches harshly penalized.

Furthermore, what are he rules on driving a damaged car? Vettel would know that his wing was broke from hitting Bottas, yet he rejoined he circuit, kept racing, and hit Grosjean because he had no front downforce. Surely that can’t be allowed?? When Rosberg and Hamilton had their incedent in Austria, everyone was giving Nico crap for driving around with a broken from wing. Shouldn’t the same criticism be applied to Seb?

Just for fun, because the World Cup is on, if F1 was officiated to the standard that other professional sports are, Vettel would be on a Yellow for his contact with Bottas, followed by a second Yellow and a Red for hitting Grosjean with a damaged vehicle. Bye bye, hit he showers son. Think about what you did and how you can do better next time.

But that’s too harsh for “the best drivers in the world”.


Just for fun, because the World Cup is on

I’m not sure the World Cup is the best example of officiating standards – personally, I think some of the refereeing has been woeful.


Lol agree, it was just a fun analogy. Pick any sport though, make comparisons, F1 comes up short.

Vettel tells Charlie to fuck off, nothing happens. In baseball, this would result in instant expulsion from the game.

Vettel hits Lewis under safety car, nothing happens. Equivalent of a hockey player chopping another player with a stick, after the whistle. This would result in instant expulsion from the game, and probably missing additional games.

Vettel goes into T1 too hot, “becomes a passanger in his own vehicle”, takes out one competitor, rejoins with a damaged car, hits a second competitor. There’s not really a close equivalent, the best I can think of is two bunged up slide tackles – both would be yellow cards, which would mean a sending off. Soccer player to ref – “sir, once I started sliding, I was just a passanger. I had absolutely no control of my body.” Tell me how many times that excuse has worked in soccer?

These officials have zero credibility left, and the drivers know it. Name me another sport where the officials consult the opinion and personal sob story of a competitor before levying a penalty for a transgression of the rules, intentional or not.


Come on….!

Any one is allowed to drive around with a broken wing that wipes the ground and lose bits of carbon.

Like we have never seen this before.

It happens at least once per race.

Now it was Vettel or a Ferrari driver doing it….


I’d love if the 2021 regulations include getting rid of the dozens of little carbon fibre bits that disintegrate with minimal contact. Front wings should be bendy “plastic”, and all that barge board and fins on the floor crap should be binned.

Red Bull would probably win the bendy wing development race of course. 🙄

Fed up of pretty much every race being under a safety car or VSC lap after lap while the poor marshals sweep up £1M worth of carbon fibre from a minor bit of contact.

Oh and get rid of fuel, tyre, and engine conservation too please.


Pretty sure they’re not technically supposed to drive with broken front wings, but the rules get tossed aside in the name of “the show”.

Furthermore, all of those other drivers who drove with broken front wings did not subsequently make contact with another car as a direct result of driving with a broken front wing.

But alas, the show must go on!!


There’s no such thing as a 30 second stop-go penalty. 10s is the maximum and as it was an honest misjudgment under very tricky circumstances, the incident didn’t warrant it.


“An honest mistake in very tricky circumstances”. Next time a World Cup player gets a yellow card pulled on them, they should try that line on the referee.

“But sir, you must understand my side, I’m the innocent victim here.” Puh-lease


There should be a 30s stop go penalty as part of the rules. A 10 second maximum penalty is….wait for it….a joke.


Twitch, the rule on damaged cars is you can’t drive past the pits, Nico got a penalty for doing that in Austria 2016.


Whoops!! I got mixed up on who said what!!! Yikes. Pre coffee, please forgive me!! It was JF who said he was a passanger, not Tim. My bad my bad my bad!!


Twitch, no worries. Just a peassenger though! Ha!


Tim, do you keep a copy of “racecar drivers handy book of ready made excuses” at your side?

“He was a passanger”….lol, “Jesus take the wheel!!!”


Punishment fit the crime. Yes Vettel hit Bottas, but Vettel was just a passenger in Hamiltons slipstream. No aero due to proximity, lock up, and into Bottas. His only option was to not have tried in the first place, accept his position and say WTF- maybe next race- which is exactly what we want in a racing driver- is that correct. Make up your mind, do you want gutless wonders afraid to do anything or do you want racers willing to go for it. If you like processions, go to the grocery store and watch the geriatrics push shopping carts around.


I want to see close racing where drivers make attempts to pass each other on the circuit, no ramming each other off the road in T1.

Vettel a passenger??? What about that thing in his hands, and those two things under his feet??

If Vettel would have hit Lewis, it finished ahead of him on he road, people would lose their minds. But because it’s bottas that got hit, people don’t care, and they want the “show to go on”z

Like I keep saying, the officiating in this “sport” is a joke.

Vettel can tell Charlie to Fuck Off, nothing happens.

He can hit Lewis under safetycar, nothing happens

He can lose control of his car in T1, destroy Bottas’s race, hardly anything happens.

I get that you folks who only watch F1 are tired of boring old F1 races, and are therefor in favour of putting the rules aside in the name of “the show””, but each time you do, this “sport” loses a little more credibility.

The standards these drivers are being held to is pathetic.


Twitch, you kiss your mother with that mouth?!


….I don’t usually kiss my mother.


Pretty sure it’s more than that Tim. I don’t believe you can rejoin the racetrack with a damaged vehicle. Eg if a wheel comes off the car, you must stop, you technically are not allowed to go back to the pits.

Regardless, what are the rules on driving a damaged vehicle, and hitting another car directly as a result of the damage to your vehicle.

Seb hit Grosjean because he had no front downforce.

To me, there is zero excuse for this, and in my opinion, Seb should have been black flagged for it. That was beyond amateur.


Twitch, yes there is more to it, if a wheel is loose they have to stop the car immediately, but anything else is up to race controls discretion, as long as they are just recovering to the pits and not trying to carry on, then it seems they get the benefit of the doubt usually.


“Getting Seb back in the race meant we got to see his recovery drive”.

And there it is. This is what I’ve been getting at. The “show” has become more important than the integrity of the sport.

The officials bend the rules in the favour of one of the “main characters” to keep the show interesting. You know what other “sports” do that? Professional Wrestling.

The other excuse I often here in these situations is, “fans payed a lot of money to come watch Seb race, so the officials won’t hamper his race because that would upset the fans.” Anyone who’s watched F1 long enough knows this excuse gets used frequently. Again, this is nonsense. Can you name me another sport where the official consults the feelings of the spectators before making a call? Let’s go back to soccer. Imagine you’re from Argentina, and you fly all the way to Russia to watch Messi play. In the first 5 minutes of the game, Messi makes two messy slide tackles. Now, just because you flew half way around the world to watch the game, does that mean the ref should take that into account? Should the ref hang onto that second yellow because “lots of people payed a lot of money to come watch Messi play”? I know no sport is perfect and there’s funny crap that happens at all levels, but for the most part, this would never happen in soccer.

Every year, some friends and I go to Seattle Washington to watch the blue jays on their west coast road trip. Baseball perhaps has the most strict rules in terms of officials tossing players from the game. If I spent hard earned money to go to Seattle, I expect the Ump to officiate the game properly, not give favouritism and leeway to blue jays players just because some Canadians happened to make a trip to the game.

Two sports I used to follow went down the route of “the show” being the most important. Japanese Pride Fighting Championships, and Japanese D1 Grand Prix.

Before UFC, Pride was the top tier mixed martial arts league in the world. Fighters from everywhere went to Japan to compete. However, by the mid 2000s, about 2003-2007ish, the league realized that there was more money to be made off the hoopla of having headline grabbing matchups, so they start bending the rules so that “the right guy” would win, setting up the marquee matchups the organizers were looking for. That only lasted a couple of years, as most of the fighters didn’t like it, went to UFC, and now Pride dead.

Similar story with D1GP, the Japanese drifting championship which was co-founded by Keiichi Tsetchuya, the man known as The Drift King (basically credited with starting the drifting movement in Japan). Again, in the mid and early 2000s when D1 was at its peak, the officials started to make very odd, strange decisions (and were doing so with zero transparency) which oddly enough seemed to always favour the “marquee drivers”, or even worse, the guys who had the right sponsorship deals. Eventually many of the drivers who weren’t “the chosen ones” started to make noise, and then eventually DK himself came out and said that the promoter had taken over control of the competitions, that the judging was rigged, and he quit. DK quit judging and doing commentary for D1GP and started up a separate drift championship of his own.

I’ve seen this happen in other sports, and I’m watching it happen in F1. Officials bending the rules for certain “key characters” all in the name of preserving “the show”, many times under fear of “wrath of the fans”.

The officials in F1 are scared of the drivers, they’re scared of the teams, they’re scared of the fans. They have basically lost control of this sport (if they ever had any to begin with).

Anyways, I digress. It’s friday, it’s race weekend, it’s time to move on 🙂 Well, move on for now….I’ll be back at it Monday morning, reviewing the many follies surely to come on Austria 😛 How many drivers to you think will need to use the runoff on the exit of T1 (and did you know that in online racing lobbies with track limits turned off, carrying speed through the apex and going wide into the runoff area is the fastest way around T1 at the RBR? Anyone who’s ever done a race at RBR knows this little trick 😉 )


Twitch, I guess the stewards judged the two incidents seperately. I see the point you are making, and it isn’t fair on Romain, but getting Seb back in the race meant we got to see his recovery drive. It’s a difficult balance to find, and to be fair to the rule makers, damaged cars recovering to the pits haven’t caused many incidents over the years that I can think of.


Tim, that’s sounds pretty reasonable.

However, even in what you just said, you said, “just trying to recover to the pits, not trying to carry on.”

In regards to Vettel, he went off, broke the wing….then rejoined the circuit in the middle of the chasing pack, started trying to race wheel to wheel with them, and then couldn’t avoid hitting Roman because of his broken front wing.

To me, that’s not “limping back to the pits”, that’s “trying to race a compromised vehicle,” which I’ve always thought was against the rules.


Why not black flag him, what utter tripe.

Richard Mortimer

The Singapore and French GP crashes were totally different!

The former was an allowable ‘side-swipe’ that went wrong, as Seb did not know that Kimi was coming, fast, on the inside. I think he was to blame for that. But, also, silly rules that allow you to ‘side-swipe’ another driver.

The rule needs to be changed so that you cannot move ‘twice,’ like Max did in Baku, and you cannot move when a car is alongside.

This incident was not completely Seb’s fault. He was gaining on Lewis, got blocked in by both Mercedes (who also late braked), and lost grip. Maybe he should have backed out earlier? But, also, the aero rules need changing. We don’t need these fragile, complex and expensive front-wings!

The rule update for 2017 gave more mechanical grip. At least, the 2019 front-wings will be better. But, there needs to be more….


I noted this issue/errors of Vettel in your previous post (Ricciardo driving options).

Not getting involved in incidents is also an art and specifically if it leads to winning and losing championship.

Disclaimer – some incidents are non-controllable.

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