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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


*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

A follow-up letter to ESPN Star Sports re F1 coverage in Korea and the switch to Chinese commentary

Having received no reply after writing to the email address they plug on their show (, maybe the following will achieve some sort of resolution.

I emailed and following a google search that turned up this little ditty of a press release.

Here’s that email:


I’m writing to enquire as to why, after the resumption of F1 after the summer break, the commentary of your broadcast in Korea has reverted back to Chinese?

The last time I recall that being done was in 2002, and it basically ruined the season for most F1 fans who work in Korea.

What is particularly puzzling are three things:

  • Why change the language of the commentary mid-season?
  • Why is the pre-race show in English, the race in Chinese, and then the post-race show reverts to English again?

“SINGAPORE, July 26 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ — ESPN STAR Sports, Asia’s number one sports broadcaster has once again captured pole position winning a five-year deal to broadcast the FIA Formula One(TM)(F1) World Championships across all its major territories in Asia excluding China, in addition to full and exclusive TV rights for India.

Of particular note is that the deal excludes China.

I live and work in Korea. I can tell you most foreigners, in particular F1 fans, are English as a Second Language teachers and foreign engineers – including many Indians – who either speak English as a first or second language.

The largest demographic of Chinese in Korea is arguably the bought Chinese wives of Korean farmers – hardly Korea’s largest group of F1 fans one would think.

Please put the commentary of the races back into English.

As a fan also of rugby and cricket, I am already starved of decent sports content to watch on your channel.

The saving grace was the F1, and now you’ve taken that away again, too.

Angry and disappointed,

James Board

An open Letter to Star Sports Asia (esp. Korea)

JFTR, F1 driver and Aussie Mark Webber, who qualified in 3rd, stuffed up his start as per usual, dropping back to 8th before Aussie-grittinging it back to 2nd, behind that Vettel guy.

And well done, Jenson (13th to 3rd!) And Schumi (last…24th…to 5th… on the 43 year old’s 20th anniversary of F1 racing).

And a happy birthday to Aussie Mark Webber who turned 35 on Saturday.

But what’s a post without a beef?

Here’s what Star Sports (ESPN) was emailed minutes ago…


Who’s the idiot who decided to put the Star Sports Korea commentary into Chinese???? I am so absolutely LIVID! at you guys. It’s so hard to be polite, but what kind of broadcast is one that has a pre-race show in English, the bloody race in Chinese, and then the post race show in English?

What the hell were you guys thinking?!?!?!?

You did this (even worse) back in 2002. Essentially, you ruined the season!

Most of your letters are from fans in India. What do you think their main second language is?????? Hint: IT”S NOT CHINESE!

How about where you broadcast from? Hong Kong, too!

And as for foreign workers in Korea???

They are English teachers.

They are also engineers etc. from all over the world who use ENGLISH as a first or second language!!!!!!!

What’s even more of an utterly stupid decision, the races before the summer break had English commentary (volume not sufficient to get above the engine noise, by the way).

And suddenly you switch to Chinese???

English is the language of international business!

Most foreign workers in Korea AND Koreans use English as either their first or second language!

I understand your coverage pales in comparison to the BBC, but I blame that more on resources ($$$) provided… that is: YOU HAVE GOOD COMMENTATORS but who’d know since you have decided again to hush them up?

So utterly angry, disappointed, and wondering why you pulled such a ridiculous stunt!

I want to use every swear word I know against you – and you deserve all of them plus more – but I won’t.


If you vomit Monza on us in Chinese, I will officially hate you forever!!!

You fucked up so bad!


James Board

Just chilling until the F1

Just over seven hours and Aussie Mark Webber’s best chance at a win this season.

Webber on pole: go Mark!

Something more positive to consider this weekend is that Aussie F1 driver Mark Webber is on pole position for tonight’s (10pm Aussie time) German Grand Prix.

It was brilliant watching him clinch it from Vettel last night, and also well done McClaren’s Lewis Hamilton making 2nd.

Vettel’s lead in the championship is pretty much unassailable, but who doesn’t want to see Mark win a race this year regardless? It would certainly help him to at least better secure his tenure of 2nd place in the championship (and no, 2nd ain’t first but it’s better than 3rd which Mark got last year).

Just get that start right this time, Mark!

When a step backwards is called a step forwards

The FIA seems to think F1 fans will love already puny 2.4L engines being replaced by 1.6L engines; V8 engines being replaced by V6 engines; 18.000RPM reduced to 15,000RPM.

The only possible way this 2014 engine swap could be considered a “step forwards” is when considering the FIA originally pushed for 1.6L, straight four, 12,000RPM engines… to have been introduced in 2013.

It’s a step forward from that dud asshat proposal.

In real terms, it’s still a step backwards.

This is Formula One. If I wanted efficiency, I’d watch the Prius Grand Prix.

What? There isn’t one?

The former Ferrari  – FERRARI! – team manager Jean Todt, now head of the FIA, for pushing what is essentially the antithesis to F1, is beyond disappointing.

F1 supremo, Bernie Eccleston, is at least making inroads.

Hang in there, Bernie.The AGW debate from the warmist side is becoming ever more base.*

*Check those comments.

It’s a step…

Via Tim Blair, the F1 “baby formula” 1.6L 4 cylinder engines – set to have been introduced in 2013 – have been scrapped with a proposal for 1.6L V6s to be introduced in 2014.

Getting there…

Related. The F1 boss hates what the FIA  – the sport’s governing body – is trying to do.

To Bahrain or not to Bahrain

First to not (riots), then to, and now on their own decision, to not.

Looks like the Yellowstone of International Politics, the Middle East, is continuing to experience elevated seismic activity.

And as with Yellowstone, is there anything much more that we can do but watch?

Rewriting history [updated]

They’ve done with WWII victor, Winston Churchill, and now they’ve done it with Alain Prost.

Back in 1985, the four-time world champion drove a Marlboro sponsored Honda McLaren.

Here it is.

And here’s the current picture on Wikipedia, and in many a google image search pic.

OK. So cigarette advertising has been banned on F1 cars since about 2007/2008.

But one just has to wonder, if history is re-written on something so frivolous as a F1 car – and unannounced, mind you – just what else are the powers, the Leftist powers that be, re-writing history on?


Just for the record…


Are you shitting me a 1985 race in Germany disallowed Marlboro?

My Bad.

And then this: consider the BS engine’s being introduced in 2013…

A 1.6 litre four cylinder… on an F1 car…?

Arguments over the commercial structure and regulations in the sport re-started in the mid-2000s with McLaren and their part owner Mercedes again amongst teams threatening to start a rival series until 2009 when another Concorde Agreement that is effective until the end of 2012 was settled upon.

And that’s a good considering that engine crap.

A four cylinder on an F1 car????

That Concord agreement breaks in 2013, the same year FIA wants F1 cars to have four cylinder engines. Mclaren ain’t happy. You can bet your bottom dollar Ferrari is pissed. None of the drivers or fans want it.

Yet the FIA has pushed ahead its agenda for its beloved baby formula.

Make sense?

Of course not.

And give us a break. I was too young in 1985 to actually REMEMBER Prost’s car.

Any corrections in comments are most welcome.


Tim Blair emails:

Easy mistake for young players. Germany was ahead of everyone when it came
to banning cig ads.

Some teams found better ways to get around it than McLaren’s simple
block-out technique. The
Zakspeed team of the mid-80s was sponsored by cigarette maker West, so in
Germany they just
changed the signage to East. Problem solved.



So there you go


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