Posts Tagged ‘ F1 ’

Understanding Vettel’s dog act


webber-vettelAgainst team orders, Red Bull F1 driver Sebastian Vettel snatched the lead in the final laps of the Malaysian GP, despite his teammate, Mark Webber, who was leading after the final pit stop, being told by the team to turn his engine down and coast it home.

Those not completely familiar with 2013 F1 racing, perhaps, and rightly so, lament that it’s not about the fastest driver anymore.

Should Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel have won the Malaysian GP?

Long story short, welcome to Europe.

But there are some reasons for the madness that went on last Sunday, not that I’ll try and convince you they’re legit.

The story: Mark had the race in the bag, and yet against team orders, and after Mark had been instructed by the team to turn his engine down,  the German Vettel made a dangerous overtake, took the lead, won, and for which he later apologised.

Seasoned F1 fan or not, that last paragraph just reads so wrong doesn’t it?

Here’s why.

The average punter would expect that drivers in race cars drive, er, like race car drivers.

But that isn’t “possible” in F1 anymore.

Why?

The main factors: Tyres, fuel, engines, gearboxes, money.

Tyres:

Essentially, they’re rubbish. That’s ironic, considering the best tyre manufacturer, Pirelli, is producing them. Here’s the kicker. They’re rubbish on purpose. Pirelli could easily produce an awesome tyre that could perform perfectly for three races, but they’ve been contracted to produce chewing gum. This is because F1 ceased refueling some years back, but the sport decided some pit stop excitement and uncertainty was important for the fans. And teams only receive a limited number of tyres for the weekend. End result? Drivers have to nurse their cars more than they can race them, especially in the latter stages of a GP.

Fuel:

Fill that gas guzzling fucker up! No refueling stops. Obvious reasoning was safety in the pit lane… and people have been badly burned by invisible F1 high octane fuel in the past, so it was difficult to mount a decent counter argument. The trade off? Cars are now much harder on the tyres thanks to all the extra weight, the tyres suck even more on top of that, and the number of tyres you can use per weekend is limited. Again, we’re looking at nurses as much as we’re looking at drivers. This means it’s all so much more up to the team to strategise and tell a driver that he has to cool it.

Engines:

F1 was at the point whereby teams like Ferrari were able to pour essentially unlimited amounts of money into their car, and other teams simply could not compete. This was the time of Michael Schumacher’s five in a row world championships. Even Michael was getting bored and the FIA governing body saw a need to shake it up. Hence teams are allowed a mere eight engines a year, less than one for every two races. This means cars have to be managed very carefully throughout the year. You can’t drive it like you stole it anymore. A general rule of thumb has evolved whereby after the last pit stop, it’s not about racing, but rather about preservation. This is why Mark Webber was “slow” in the latter stages. It had nothing to do with his driving ability, and everything to do with nursing that car home… under strict team orders no less.

Gearboxes: As with the engines, teams are severely limited. Nurse!

Money: Rightly or wrongly, the money-pit teams were getting to dominate to a point whereby there was no point for anyone else. According to F1, something had to be done. So they capped team budgets, limited the numbers of engines and gearboxes, scrapped the fuel thing which ended up burning the less resourceful teams, and made sure the tyres would have to be changed around three times per race… all in an effort to even things out a bit, give a leg up to the struggling teams.

Plus, on top of that, it’s the constructor’s championship where all the money is made, not the driver’s championship. So whilst us fans will cheer for our favourite driver, the fact of the matter is the team has to concentrate on… the team. And a huge part of that is maintaining a car that will last the entire season.

So what does that all translate, too?

It means drivers cannot drive flat out, anymore.

Races are so much more based on strategy by the team rather that the vroom of the driver.

It’s about managing the car rather than driving it, particularly when you get to the final stages of a race and massive points – for the team – are up for grabs.

And though Vettel is indeed a dog, considering the parameters he’s working within, there are factors… not least driver instinct which is so severely curtailed in modern F1.

Not least that Mark was told to turn down his engine… because of fuel, tyres and all that crap, and then got dogged by a bloke….

When querying the teams decision to turn his engine down, Mark was assured twice that he’d be safe from an attack from his teammate.

Had Mark not trusted his team, he would have kept his engine on high and raced to a victory.

But he he trusted his team, and he trusted his teammate… He did what was right for the team, and what is right for the car over such a long season.

But his teammate is a young arrogant punk from Germany…

Who shows no  respect.

From NJ to NY at 305km/h? That’s how you do it!


The 2.4 km Lincoln Tunnel was done in under a minute.

Aussie Mark Webber wins the British F1 GP


*He’s not called AussieGrit for nothing.

Having qualified second, the Australian had himself an afternoon and a half if he were going to entain the possibility of pipping the formidable Spaniard, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Check the twitter feed, and you’ll see at least one punter hoping Mark would do it by the first corner… the, er, easy way.

And there was half a chance, however the prancing horse veered right, right in front of the red bull, and closed down any further discussion on that one.

Thus, it was down to a race of attrition, and by “attrition” in 2012, we mean tyres.

Give or take, Webber and Alonso were in a class of their own Sunday afternoon, but for Mark to hold up a chunk of sweet looking gold rather than a casting of a bank’s logo, either “something” had to happen or AussieGrit had to apply the old elbow grease.

Nothing happened, and thus it became a case of quietly chipping away; a fastest lap here, half a second there.

It was a case of drive that beast until that six second gap became two cars in one frame, the Spaniard on the soft option tyres, and the Australian on the “slower” but more durable primes.

In the end, or more precisely with about five laps to go, it wasn’t even close. Mark had the tyres, and therefore the traction.

The Red Bull cruised past.

No, there wasn’t any jumping on the sofa this time, like there was in Monaco.

And Webber’s reaction was similarly understated.

Winning the British GP for the second time in three years was, frankly, job done.

*Re-written because it deserved it

UPDATE

Webber celebrates… not for himself, but rather for the fans.

“It’s taking a while to sink in this one. I think it was the circumstances of the race – for most of it I was marking off second place. Fernando was not quite out of touch and after the last stop, my engineer Ciaron came on the radio saying that Fernando was not doing much on the option tyres. But I know Fernando is a wily old fox, I thought he was looking after the tyres and just waiting to pull the pin and go a little bit. But when I got within two seconds I thought maybe he’s in a little bit of trouble and it was real. It was completely game on when I knew the DRS was available, I made the move stick and our hard work paid off for the win. It was a cracking grand prix today; the spectators got to see a good race and I’m pleased for them.”

So, how does an F1 car work, anyway?


Well, the mechanics at Team Sauber decided to, in their free time, cut one in half. As you do. The bit that really got me was precisely how the driver sits. I knew his butt was only a centimetre off the tarmac, but I’d never realised quite how much their legs are lifted.

Via Jalopnik

Meanwhile, seven races in, Aussie Mark Webber is in a reasonably comfortable fourth after a slightly disappointing seventh place finish in yesterday’s Canadian GP. Seven different winners out of seven different races which, if you’re not familiar with F1, is unprecedented. The cars this year are within tenths, hundreds, even thousandths of a second from each other.

Tell ya what but, with the race starting at 3am local time over here, my eyes are about to fall out of their skull.

Oh I know we all got a little sick of it, but howzat a little more Schumi again?


Too right.

Michael Schumacher pushed Mercedes to the head of the timesheets during Practice Two here in China on Friday afternoon.

Finally. The F1 is back


And lady bingbing couldn’t be happier. Nothing but F1 until the end of November.

Actually, LBB isn’t lamenting too much this weekend as she gets to see her beloved Melbourne again.

I tells ya, the track looks absolutely picturesque. The organisers in Korea could learn a thing or two, and here’s a start. Maybe this, too.

The only decent looking car out there, the McLaren, is in pole and second.

The fugliest car out there, the Ferrari, ended up in the kitty litter yesterday.

Do the math. Those duck bill stepped noses may be safer, but the Mona Lisa of car design they ain’t.

Anyway, off to the couch. Feel free to use this an an open forum.

So I’m just gonna do this…


Just from a personal perspective, but it’s a bit hard blogging* about a lame duck PM and the most idiotic, lamest protests ever devised in the history of mankind…

So here’s a pic.

It’s a side-on shot taken of Massa’s Ferrari going at 320km/h on the back straight at the 2011 Korean Formula One Grand Prix.

click

*Even being bothered to blog about such FAIL.

I dunno, but when you come back from a weekend like that, and read so much FAIL in the papers on Monday, you kinda stop giving a crap.

Go Stoner!

RIP Wheldon

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