Posts Tagged ‘ Vettel ’

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.

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Mark fails (5th) in qualifying; Alonso set to take championship


Quali (as Mark calls it) results.* Overtaking is extremely difficult in F1 due to the aerodynamic turbulence the cars produce out the back, the aerodynamics they utilise coming from the front (i.e. “clean” air is a big factor), and the fact they’re open wheel cars (nudge nudge, no thanks).

Man, this is going to be a ripper. Well, it was going to be a ripper.

Had qualifying ended up like final practice…

If the race were to have finished like final practice (Vettel 1st, Webber 2nd) coupled with Alonso 6th or lower (but he qualified in 3rd!), Vettel and Webber would have had the same number of points, but Vettel would have taken the title based on his (he? him?) winning one more race.

If Mark had achieved 2nd or maybe even 3rd in qualifying, we may have had a situation as follows…

But! If Alonso gets 5th, they will all be

    tied

and Vettel and Alonso will have the same number of race wins (with Mark one less)!!! Who gets the championship then? Vettel or Alonso?

Now, if Webber can just squeeze past Vettel or Vettel concede at some point to Mark, and Vettel in turn hold off Alonso in 3rd (but not 2nd!), then my faceless and non-faceless friends, we have Mark taking the world drivers’ championship!

But we don’t have that situation.

Mark has to go from 5th to first, with somehow Alonso staying in third, no higher.

Go here to convert the race to your local time. Seriously, even if you don’t regularly watch Formula One, watch this race.

Hi, Mum!

PS If they all crash out and Lewis Hamilton, currently qualified in 4th2nd!, moves up to 1st, then Hamilton will take the title by one point!

Howzat?

With a Vettel/Webber 1-2 quali, I’d say this…

The best bet is for Vettel to look at the odds, let Mark past at sometime, be a good team mate by holding up the field, and secure not just Mark Webber, but Red Bull, their first drivers’ championship. That’d be the smart thing to do, but hey, this is racing!

Well that ain’t the case now… er, the result.

Sorry, guys. This post has been drastically edited because, in possibly the stupidest blogger error ever, I read final practice as final qualifying.

Fuck, if only.

Mark can still win it, but geez. It’d take Mark… shit, the numbers just get crazy.

Whichever way this year’s ship goes down, it’s been the most rip-roaring season this youngish blogger has ever witnessed. This season’s racing has been iF1 2.0 unparalleled.

That said…

GO WEBBER!

Get on it!

* this post was drastically changed coz i misread final practice as final quali.

Facepalm.

But call in the greyhounds and run them under a bus. If Mark had just qualified like in practice.

Oh gosh darn it, dear fellows, but may a gentleman add…

Fuck.

Webber leads F1 championship


It wasn’t a good result, but it was good enough… for now.

As is all too often, Mark had a disastrous start, going from 4th to 9th but he managed to claw back a few spots eventually finishing in 6th. That coupled with previous championship leader, Lewis Hamilton’s, exit on the first lap, puts Mark in the championship lead, albeit by a mere 5 points. Lewis might do well to not drive into a Ferrari at Monza next time.

The story of the day is, of course, Ferrari bringing home 1st place in Italy, but plenty of others will surely cover that.

Bad day for Lewis. Good day for everyone else. Nico Hulkenberg’s stock went waaaay down, however. Three times he ran into the run-off area because he couldn’t make the chicane. This was due to pressure from Webber, but the so-called Hulk still kept his position. Tsk tsk stewards. He pulled off one more nasty move but eventually Mark got past, but lost enough time to keep I-have-a-magnet-front-end Vettel in fourth.

Meh.

What we have here, is five blokes, with five races remaining, all in contention for the championship. Webber. Hamilton. Alonso. Button. Vettel. With 24 points between them, and at 25 points a pop for each win, it is definitely on.

Singapore under lights in two weeks will be a blast. Red Bull should have the advantage but it’s a bit of a worry Mark’s never finished a race there whereas Alonso and Lewis have each had a victory.

Luckily for lady bingbing, the race starts at 7pm Korean time (I think), so she’ll be able to watch the lot live, and just in time to catch the last train home… might be a taxi ride to the station, though. One doubts, almost ironically, one’s driving ability will be that crash hot by the end of the race.

Moving on, the championship could well be decided (although that’s a stretch) in Korea. It all depends how Singapore and Japan go, but these – and Korea – should be circuits well-suited to the Red Bulls.

One quip, though. Why the heck isn’t the F1 being promoted in Korea much? Local media isn’t exactly on to it although that’s understandable. Many Koreans I talk to haven’t ever heard on F1 (???), and many of those who have heard of it have merely some vague notion of Schumacher. Here’s hoping Bernie steps up his game since it’d be a real shame if Korea only hosted one or a few races (just tell Korea Japan does it better and that should fire them up).

My future kids may well go hungry but hopefully they will go hungry watching Formula One in Korea for many years to come.

Oh, and by the way, she chose a ring… yes, that one. Just gotta find the right moment…

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