F1 Fanatic round-up: 4/2/2010

Only one team is doing any testing today – Virgin Racing, who are shaking down their striking new VR-01 at Silverstone. Pictures are expected later on today.

There’s some murmurs of discontent about the FOTA F1 Fans Survey and suggestions we should create a better one of our own. What do you think?

Read on for today’s F1 Fanatic round-up:

Links

Q & A with Jenson Button (Autosport)

“We have done a lot of work today and it has been really useful. In a way it would have been nice to get some more testing done, set-up work, but this test was always to get used to the environment inside the cockpit, get used to working with the team and to run through all the checks that you always do at the first test. So it has been very useful, this morning was tough though. We have had to change a lot within the car, but I fit well now which is good. I feel comfortable and have a good height in the car and that is always important for your confidence.”

Four kilometres of traffic jam for Alonso (Ferrari)

“30,000 fans came to see Fernando on the track, creating a traffic jam at the exit of the Valencia-Madrid highway. This is quite unusual for a Formula 1 test, but it shows how much Fernando is adored in Spain and the great expectations the fans have regarding his arrival in Ferrari.” Apparently a fair few were chanting for Jaime Alguersuari as well, and Pedro de la Rosa was there too. But we all know who the main event is when F1 goes to Spain.

Comment of the day

This one from Salty was a popular choice – and I agree with everyword:

What a great entree for the 2010 season. Knew there was going to be a lot of interest, what with the return of Schumacher, the new teams and Alonso moving to Ferrari, but can anyone really believe there were 36,400 fans at Valencia for todays test! Incredible.

Many F1 sites have been seriously brake tested over these last three days. We don’t yet know the cause of the Virgin virtual launch failing to take place, but once it became apparent it wasn’t going to happen, Autosport’s website collapsed under the weight of traffic.

And Twitter? How awesome was Twitter these last 3 days. Brilliant. Twitter really grew up this week.

The cars? Who can say. Certainly Ferrari don’t appear to have too many problems right now, contrary to the whispers coming from the Italian press last week. Good to have them back. Surprised about Sauber’s relative performance, but then there is quite a lot of empty advertising space on the car, so perhaps fuel loads have been overly flattering. McLaren and Mercedes seem to be fairly evenly matched, but again, not even the teams know yet. Oh, and love the Renault paint job.

Notable for their lack of assistance in all this? FOM and the FiA, naturally. Would it really have been so difficult for them to provide a free fixed stream looking down pit straight? Or even just turn on the Live Timing for us? Gee, thanks for nothing guys!

Site updates

I’ve just done a quick final update of yesterday’s testing review adding several more pictures including, by popular demand, some of Jenson Button driving the McLaren for the first time.

Check them and out – and read the round-up of the last three days’ testing – here: F1 testing review: Valencia (Pictures)

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

F1 hasn’t held many races in the month of February – only three world championship events, as far as I can see. On this day in 1979 the teams assembled at Interlagos for the second round of the 1979 season.

Jacques Laffite for Ligier repeated his trick from the first race of winning from pole position and setting fastest lap – and this time he led every lap as well. Surprisingly, after this dominant start to the season, he only managed four more points finishes from the remaining 13 races, leaving him fourth overall at the end of the year.

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63 comments on F1 Fanatic round-up: 4/2/2010

  1. Ned Flanders said on 4th February 2010, 1:29

    Hmm… a F1 Fanatic survey might be interesting. But I think the pragmatic way of looking at it is that the FIA/ FOM/ FOTA don’t give a caged monkey’s about the minority that is us F1 geeks. Let’s be honest, we’re going to watch F1 no matter how boring it gets, or whatever they do to change things.

    No, the three F’s want to know the opinion of John Smith, the man on the street who watches F1 occasionally but finds it a bit dull. He thinks the cars are way more important than the drivers. He wants more crashes, more overtaking, shorter races, championships that go down to the wire. He doesn’t care where races are held, as long as he doesn’t have to get up too early to watch them. He’s only heard of a few drivers. But he is the man that F1 is targeting, because there are far more John Smith’s than there are F1 Fanatics.

    My point is, unless we can convert the general public into becoming as crazy about racing as we are, I don’t think we could ever really influence the future of F1.

    • Good points, even though I did once have a bit of personal correspondence with FOM, just from the perspective of a concerned fan. Never heard from the same parties at FOM again, but I do still send them a Christmas card each season :)

    • GeeMac said on 4th February 2010, 7:54

      Agreed Ned, the purpose of that survey was clearly to guage “John Smith’s” views on F1. My only worry is that in trying to get John Smith on board, they will implement all manner of silly policies like shortcuts, or shorter races, or A1GP style sprint races and feature races.

      So with that in mind, an F1F survey would be brilliant, because it would show the powers that be what the die hard F1F’s think about the current state of the sport.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th February 2010, 8:58

      Depends how many answers we get. And it depends if they publish the full results breakdown from their survey. A few choice lines in F1 Racing about the things they like most won’t cut it.

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th February 2010, 9:20

        I’d be interested, but on the condition that the answers were qualitative, not quantitative like the LG survey. While it’s easier to represent quantitative data as results, it doesn’t really offer the flexibility that qualitative data does.

        And I now owe my Organisational Research Methodologies lecturer a twenty. I once told him that I’ve never fid a real-world applciation for our work. Turns out we I did. Peter, if you’re reading this, I’m going to have to owe you.

        • Ned Flanders said on 4th February 2010, 10:22

          Prisoner Monkeys- I don’t want to come across as a data expert (because I’m not!), but from what they tell us at uni, qualitiative data is difficult to draw conclusions from and time consuming to analyse. If 100,000 people responded to this survey and there were 5 qualitative questions, that’s half a million responses for them to read.

          (for those not in the know, qualititave questions would mean written answers to questions)

      • Accidental Mick said on 4th February 2010, 13:20

        I havr tried 3 times (on different days and at different times) pretending to be an occaisional viewer who could be persuaded to watch more if things (HD) were changed.

        Each time I tried, I got a “Server timed out” message (at different points in the survey). I.ve given up.

    • “He thinks the cars are way more important than the drivers.”

      It’s F1, of course they are.

      The cars do have more influence on performance than the drivers do, otherwise Alonso would maybe have won in a Minardi.

      It’s not really that surprising that the ‘man in the street’ think the fastest car is always going to win regardless of who is driving it.

    • Peter said on 4th February 2010, 21:26

      I did the survey. It was fun. First time anyone asked my opinion of F1. And I am following F1 since 1970. I would love longer races, like the 100 laps races in the 50-s. I think we should skip Monaco because F1 simply doesn’t fit anymore, and would love to see a race in USA.
      The only mistake of the survey was that I could not check Netherlands as the most important country to have an F1 race.

  2. I was happy that the LG survey allowed fans to express where races should be held, and that the available options included the USA :) But the way they did it- making participants pick the top 5 places and least 5 places they would like to see a race- was not the best way to go for me.

    I would have much rather seen a question that allowed users to place in order the five current races (using the 2010 calendar) that they valued most, or even allow them to rank them all in order of favorites. Then, allow users to enter their top five choices for new races, meaning nations that aren’t currently hosting a race. Seeing that they used a similar set-up for the question about sponsor visibility (and got quite a variety of answers!) I cannot see why this would not work on the question of who gets to host a GP.

  3. luigismen said on 4th February 2010, 1:42

    The spanish paper Marca is saying that Adrian Valles will be the second USF1 driver, anyone knows something about this?
    http://www.marca.com/2010/02/03/motor/formula1/1265186365.html

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th February 2010, 3:29

      Yeah, I know the Spanish will do or say anything to try and get another Spanish driver on the grid.

    • Who?

      I think that pretty much says all I need to say about the second USF1 driver. I still love the concept of the team, but not at least one experienced guy…?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th February 2010, 8:57

      I asked US F1 about this yesterday, they say they aren’t confirming anything yet.

      Valles used to be a test driver at Midland/Spyker, he won Stupid Football Thing last year.

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th February 2010, 9:17

        Heheh, Stupid Footall Thing. I have no idea who it was that woke up one morning and thought “You know what the sporting world needs to combine? Football and Formula 1!”, but they need to be taken into a dark room and be beaten.

        Beer is good. Milkshakes are good. But that doesn’t mean I go combining them. I learned that one the hard way.

      • Ned Flanders said on 4th February 2010, 10:31

        Haha, ‘Stupid Football Thing’! But I read in Autosport recently that the series is actually doing quite well, they have more races on the calender, and they’re oncourse to make a profit soon.

        OK, so it’s a daft idea, but if even 0.1% of football supporters take an interest they’ve gained a lot of fans.

    • Steve_P83 said on 4th February 2010, 14:18

      It’s being reported in American media also. It’s probably true!

      http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-valles-close-to-usf1-deal/

  4. wasiF1 said on 4th February 2010, 1:52

    I too agree with Salty, & hope the excitement continues in the next 3 test in Jerez & Bercelona. I want to see some F1 fans go to Silverstone today to see the Virgin-Cosworth shakedown.It’s good for the F1.

  5. I have a couple of thoughts on testing. This is just my personal reasoning and I’m not claiming any special insider knowledge.

    1) I think that this year there’ll be a bigger difference between race pace and qualifying. After all quali will be low fuel – not race fuel, and the fuel load differences will be much higher. Also, precisely because of that there will be greater scope to optimise cars differently between qualifying pace and race pace – eg a super fuel efficient car could have great race pace, but poor qualifying.

    2) Following up from (1) – looking only at the fastest lap times for each car might be the only data we fans reliably get, but it’s certainly not the most useful figure we could get. I’d much rather see average times over long runs, even if we didn’t know the fuel loads.

    3) Practice sessions are not qualifying. Test sessions are even further from being represented of qualifying. Due to (1) I expect this to be even more so this year.

    4) Last year, the field spread was very small by historical standards. That magnified the difference between how well certain cars suited the various circuits. I’d expect the field spread to be even smaller this year (ignoring the new teams). Circuit suitability could be either masking or magnifying relative performance between teams.

    5) Teams are still sorting out basic things like seat position, and doing basic diagnostics. Some will have gotten things right first time, and some have been a bit off the mark. Some will have very highly developed and complete cars with little scope for improvement and some will have cars that are a “work in progress”, whether deliberately or not. Teams won’t have identical approaches either – if they did they’d all have launched cars already. With more testing, the true underlying pace will start to become clearer but also all teams will likely have significant upgrades and tweaks in the pipeline for the first race.

    6) Other things being equal, faster cars will run faster in testing. A full in-depth analysis of all the data should give some indication of the approximate order, but with the rapid pace of development and point (4) old data might become out of date quite quickly. But certainly, you shouldn’t expect to see real performance being the opposite of what’s seen in testing.

    7) If we didn’t pour over the data like parents with newborn children we wouldn’t be F1 fanatics :p

    • Peter said on 4th February 2010, 21:19

      Every driver did 100+ laps.
      My guess is that every driver did at least four or five stints on low fuel to test the outright pace of the car.
      So, I think the testing times are very important.
      But I agree that having a full laptimes table would be great.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th February 2010, 3:32

    I disagree with the idea of televising test sessions. Doing so will only turn the session into an event, and when you turn the session into an event, the teams will start trying to be the fastest, and that’s not what testing is for. It is far more important that the teams learn the ins and outs of their new cars than it is to be quick, but making it a event will only really make it another race on the calendar.

  7. scunnyman said on 4th February 2010, 4:20

    I agree with the F1FANATIC survey idea. Whomever thought of it is a genius. lol

  8. Great testing review from Salty.. Interesting points CPR, it would be interesting to see how the cars manage their fuel and who is going to get the optimal balance of being able to be light enough during Quali but have good pace during the race..

    Although I’d love to be able to watch testing on TV, I see PM’s point, but this brings us again to the “show” argument, they shouldn’t think of it as an event in the 1st place.. F1 has become so obsessed with making it look good, it’s going to be good as long as they don’t fiddle with it too much..

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th February 2010, 7:01

      Although I’d love to be able to watch testing on TV, I see PM’s point, but this brings us again to the “show” argument, they shouldn’t think of it as an event in the 1st place.

      Of course they shouldn’t, but as soon as one of them does, all of them have to. What if Campos made it to one of the test sessions and – knowing full well that the cameras were rolling and audiences watching – proceeded to drive like stink to set the fastest lap time instead of breaking in their drivers and their car? You know perfectly well what would have happened yesterday: Ferrari would have sent Fernando Alonso out with the sole purpose of setting a fast lap to appease the crowds. As soon as one team does that, everyone would do it. Not because they particularly want to, but because they have to. You’re right in saying they shouldn’t think of it as an event, but you know that deep down, at least one of them well. Probably a minor team looking for an attention grab, and when that happens, testing would lose all meaning and it would just be a race to look good. A de facto championship event, but wih no points on offer and no purpose other than to satisfy the pathological need for instant gratification thatI was talkng about the other night. It might be “improving theshow” but it would be doing it in the wrong way.

      Keep the racing and the spectacle in the actual races. If I were the FIA, I’d make all of the tests closed to everyone except teams and the media.

      • Maciek said on 4th February 2010, 8:18

        You really are an argumentative @#!*(?@#%, PM. Though you are right.

        Thing is, this just brings me to one of my recurrent rants: F1 finances. The only reason they would have to one-up each other if testing was broadcast would be to placate sponsors – who have always(?) been a big part of F1, but now that the finances are beyond anything like sane, the sport is more dependent than ever on sponsorship.

        If Max Mosely had one good idea, it was to limit budgets, and I really didn’t understand the negative reaction from fans to that proposal.

        Speaking of pathological needs for instant gratification, we all love the innovation and gadgetry of F1, but it all costs obscene amounts of money. I would rather have cars that are less precisely developed and less electronically-dependent, if it meant having a sport that was less hostage to TV revenues, sponsorships, and track fees.

        I’m getting somewhat lost in my argument here, I guess my point is that I think you’re right about the likely chain reaction that would ensue from televising testing, it’s just that I’m questioning the underlying structure that makes it so.

        • Prisoner Monkeys said on 4th February 2010, 8:35

          The only reason they would have to one-up each other if testing was broadcast would be to placate sponsors – who have always(?) been a big part of F1, but now that the finances are beyond anything like sane, the sport is more dependent than ever on sponsorship.

          They’ve done alright for themselves in the past. Sauber are the only ones who really need sponsorship; going by what Gerard Lopez has said, Renault woud like sponsors, but they’re not essential. I think Sauber thought it was more important to waste time building a car before finding sponsors than to waste time finding sponsors before building a car. After all, a car with no sponsors is better than sponsors with no car.

          Speaking of pathological needs for instant gratification, we all love the innovation and gadgetry of F1, but it all costs obscene amounts of money. I would rather have cars that are less precisely developed and less electronically-dependent, if it meant having a sport that was less hostage to TV revenues, sponsorships, and track fees.

          I’m afraid I don’t see how these two are connected. You know that as soon as it became apparent that testing could be an event in its own right, Bernie Ecclestone would be all over it.

          • Maciek said on 4th February 2010, 10:50

            Well perhaps individual teams can do without sponsors for a while – but not for long, not even the big boys, I don’t think. But if what you say is true about televised tests turning into fast lap contests – teams would get into that, what, just for pride, not because of publicity?

            How I went from testing to the connection between technology and funding structure? Umm, don’t really have a clear answer there – it’s just an ongoing idea that’s been rolling around in my head for a good while that many of the ills that the sport has been through in recent years stem from the ridiculous budgets, which are made necessary by the technology, and which make the funding structure indispensable thereby making the sport dependent on giant corporate funds… maybe some day I’ll get around to putting all that in clear arguments.

            As for Bernie’s business sense – it’s greedy, but not necessarily rational. Live pay per view streaming seems like a low-cost, potentially high return investment, and yet… .

      • Icthyes said on 4th February 2010, 13:48

        What if Campos made it to one of the test sessions and – knowing full well that the cameras were rolling and audiences watching – proceeded to drive like stink to set the fastest lap time instead of breaking in their drivers and their car?

        Then they would pay the price for inevitably being poorer come the first race then they should/would habe been.

        Televising tests would be a bad idea, but I don’t see why they can’t have an internet stream. Except that it makes them no money.

  9. Owen G said on 4th February 2010, 8:08

    Hi Keith

    It is generally accepted that early season testing isn’t to be taken too seriously when it comes to who’s setting the pace.

    But I was wondering if you’d be able to gather some data on who has set the fastest times at the first session each year and how their season turned out?

    It’d be interesting to see how the early front runners went on to do.

  10. Reports are coming in that Stefan has bought the Dallara chassis IP from Dallara and Campos have no car!

    • Well, if he bought the Dallara chassis’ rights, it would indeed leave Campos Meta 1 without a car. However, it doesn’t guarantee a grid slot for Stefan GP at all: it’s the FIA’s job to do that.

      • Don’t worry, Bernie will fix that!

        More reports coming in now.

        • Dam hope this is not true was so keen for a Dallara chassis in f1

          Where is prodrive & lola on the short list

          surly prodrive/aston martin is on the short list before stefanGP

          Pink Floyd Comfortably Numb Lyrics come to mind right now

          need a little information first

          • Even if Stefan GP aren’t at the top of an FIA reserve team list, if such a list even exists in the first place, they will be the only team ready with a car for the start of the 2010 season.

            If it is true that even though Stefan GP have bought the rights to the Dallara chassis they don’t intend to use it, then the tactic seems to be to make sure that they are the only people available with a car to fill a vacancy on the grid should one arise.

          • Lola and Prodrive etc are not anywhere near ready to take part in the up coming season.

            Stefan GP now have two 2010 F1 chassis. No other team can boast that!

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th February 2010, 12:01

            Interestingly, Prodrive are running an F1 simulator in their factory at the moment.

          • Now thát’s an interesting bit of info…

    • Nice catch on that report, VXR !

      The second I heard Stefan GP were shipping equipment to Bahrain, amidst the rumblings of Campos’ financial troubles, I figured something similar to this would happen.

      “Yesterday afternoon, Bernie Ecclestone himself confirmed that he will personally push for Stefan GP’s inclusion in the 2010 F1 entry list, either via an additional 14th entry, or as a replacement to another team.” autorevolution.com report

      Bernie E and Stefan Z are long-time buddies. You can take it to the bank, now–Stefan GP will be on the grid at Bahrain.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th February 2010, 14:46

      From Autosport:

      Although there have been rumours in recent days that Campos’ deal with Italian racing car constructor Dallara was in jeopardy because F1 hopeful Stefan GP had reached an agreement with the company too, Autosport understands that the two projects are not related.

      While Dallara is producing an entire car for Campos, the deal with Stefan GP is believed to revolve around the development and evolution of the Toyota 2010 chassis that the Serbian-based team has acquired.

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/81275

  11. Macca said on 4th February 2010, 10:35

    I would like to see our own F1 Fanatic survey. It would be really interesting.

  12. UneedAFinn2Win said on 4th February 2010, 11:29

    Heikki Kovalainen revealed some stuff about the new Lotus contender, basically he says the car they’ll bring to the grid is designed under Mike Casgoyne with Toyota’s old staff in Cologne, Germany.

    They will have a new car/updates designed in-house in Norfolk at around Barcelona, and from then on also parts are getting manufactured in-house.

    The first version should roll-out on Friday, with the classic colorscheme from Lotus 1958.

    Personally , i was hoping for the JPS black/gold trim, but hey, green/yellow works too

    article here (in original Finnish) http://www.mtv3.fi/urheilu/f1/uutiset.shtml/arkistot/f1/2010/02/1049163

  13. MondoL said on 4th February 2010, 11:58

    You know, this reminds me a lot of last year; You must not trust testing because:

    - BMW-Sauber (BrawnGP) is running low on fuel to attract Sponsors
    - McLaren is sandbaging ( and using green sprays)
    - the new w-wing from Renault will provide .5 sec x lap….

    Testing must be taken with a bit of salt, but all in all WYSIWYG: Ferrari has a good car, Sauber has a quite good car (albeit no money for 2010 evolution), Mercedes & Toro Roso a decent car and McLaren a better dog than last year, but will need lots of money ( and time) to be top tier.

    In my opinion the really important thing now is differences in behavior ( not just speed) with tanks fully loaded. And we will not see it in testing days. Let the racing season begin!

  14. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th February 2010, 12:22

    Those of you on Twitter might want to join in our efforts to find the best title for an F1 romance novel – see here:

    http://twitter.com/f1fanatic_co_uk/statuses/8629588630

    Best suggestion so far is “Taking pole in the wet”:

    http://twitter.com/willbuxton/statuses/8629712011

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