Brawn “comfortable with our current position”

F1 Fanatic round-up

Ross Brawn says he’s “comfortable” with Mercedes’ position despite their apparent lack of pace in testing.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ross Brawn Q&A (Mercedes)

“Our intention was always to launch the car in a fairly basic specification to allow more time to focus on the upgrade package. This inevitably means that we look further off the pace than people might expect. Knowing all of the facts, I am comfortable with our current position and the developments that we have to come.”

Sir Jackie Stewart: want more overtaking in F1? Make circuits punish drivers for their mistakes (The Daily Telegraph)

[Fernando] Alonso ran wide at the Yas Marina track on four separate occasions as he tried to best the Renault. And yet incredibly the car behind him, driven by Mark Webber, was still not able to pass. The run-off area was so well manicured and without obstacles that Alonso was effectively able to make fairly big mistakes and still maintain his position. That is plainly wrong.”

Williams stays in the driving seat despite shares sell-off (The Daily Mail)

“Adam Parr, who became chairman of Williams last year, said: ‘There’s no chance of Frank slowing down. His name’s above the door, he’s the team principal, the team’s inspiration.'”

Q & A: Key on Sauber’s progress (Autosport)

“In Barcelona, we found that sectors one and two were reasonable and sector three was a weak point. We haven’t 100 per cent nailed the slow stuff yet, but some of that we think is balance and also because the high-speed sections are reasonable we were eating the tyres fairly quickly if we nailed it on the first lap. From what we can see, we need to work on the low-speed. We’re not too bad, but not 100 per cent.”

Headhunters? hunt for heads is on (FT)

“Mr Ecclestone and the top F1 team bosses and drivers, who had initially accepted their invites, ended up as no-shows as the F1 boss claimed Mr Bower had broken a condition of not writing about his family. However, Mr Ecclestone could not stop Max Mosley, now retired from the sport, from turning up.”

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Comment of the day

Now that the Bahrain Grand Prix has been cancelled some of the teams feel sufficiently emboldened to say what they should have said to begin with. I’m with PeriSoft on this one:

Of course, it?s easy to say now.

Site updates

A slight change to the top of the site – the log-in button and a switch to toggle between the regular and mobile versions of the site can now be found above the menu. More changes to come here soon…

Happy birthday!

Three birthdays today – best wishes to Verstappen, Hedgey and Kolon!

On this day in F1

Jackie Stewart won the Tasman series race in Sandown Park on this day 45 years ago.

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109 comments on Brawn “comfortable with our current position”

  1. Hamish said on 27th February 2011, 0:04

    Thats a comment I thought I’d never hear from the mouth of Jackie Stewart.

    • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 27th February 2011, 0:10

      I know!
      What does he want, the tracks to be safe or the racks to punish every mistake?

        • mcmercslr (@mcmercslr) said on 27th February 2011, 0:33

          A balance between both. Maybe a strip of grass or gravel a couple of metres wide around the edge of the circuit. Then have Tarmac run offs but not too big and with good safe barriers

          • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 27th February 2011, 1:02

            I completely agree. I’ve been saying for a while there really ought to be something that punishes offs. I don’t find racing in parking lots particularly exciting…

          • You can’t compromise safety, but drivers need a reason to hold back on the more difficult corners and allow other drivers to take on the risk and either close the gap or attempt a pass.

            Similar to the debate about corner cutting, my suggestion would be a GPS system that recongises when a car leaves the track.

            Run a two or three strike system followed a drive though penalty. Drivers might not attack every corner without hesitation if it could potentially result in an overall loss of 20-25 seconds?

            Thinking back to some of last year’s races, some drivers could have easily hit three strikes over the full race distance.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th February 2011, 1:59

            One thought I had was some sort of gravel only an inch or two deep, over concrete or tarmac that’s slightly recessed. That would punish drivers who had an off, but still be relatively safe if a car rolled on it. It might even allow drivers to get back on track in a situation like Hamilton beaching himself in China, as there would be less gravel to sink into.

          • Skett said on 27th February 2011, 2:39

            I’ve thought about that in the past too. I came to the conclusion that they should put a meter or so of some kind of low friction material along the edges of the track before the runoff. No idea what that material could be though tbh! I just think it seems like a better idea than gravel or grass as a solid material could sit flush with the road. Problem is, what is low friction when in contact with a hot tyre?

            Haha, or maybe they could put heating elements around the track so if you over them it damages the tyres!

          • Toro Stevo said on 27th February 2011, 3:02

            Call me old fashioned, but I’d like to see some real grass on the tracks. Gravel is good for accident hot spots, but it’s the one throw back for me, seeing bits of dirt and grass fly everywhere when there’s an off. As long as it’s safe of course. Tiny fake grass strips at Valencia do nothing for me.

          • Best thing is sand, completely safe but very hard to get out.

          • mateuss said on 27th February 2011, 8:55

            As much as we would want it we wont go back to grass and gravel, so my solution is more appropriate for this Mario kart age.

            Magnetic field – pit lane speed limiter!

            I think the fact that Jackie is raising this issue says a lot!

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th February 2011, 11:15

            I am with Steward (and you guys/girls here) on this.
            Gettin on the runoff should mean losing out. At least slowing the car down, probably ruin the tyres a bit so making mistakes is punished a bit more.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 27th February 2011, 15:31

            As much as we would want it we wont go back to grass and gravel, so my solution is more appropriate for this Mario kart age.

            Maybe they should race with road cars on the track? :P

      • Pinball said on 27th February 2011, 3:59

        You don’t have to make the tracks unsafe in order to punish a driver for making a mistake. Some sort of surface that effectively trashed a car’s tyres would do the job, and be just as safe. They have such a surface at in the red zones at very outer edge of Paul Riccard High Tech Test Track runoff areas.

        • Madman (@madman) said on 27th February 2011, 11:34

          I am all for seeing punishment for offs! But to make punishing safe maybe harder than you think!

          For example some of you were suggesting a strip of different material that makes you lose traction/grip or destroys your tires before the run off area. These ideas seem good at first glance and are some of the things I have thought about in the past, however if you think about it a bit more you realise that this wouldn’t really work, especially from a safety point of view, as if a driver only goes slightly wide and only puts one or two wheels onto the slippery surface then they are going to go straight into a spin as one side of the car has more traction. Yes spinning is a good punshiment as it makes you lose time, but it could also mean you spin back onto the track into the path of another car and cause an accident (or possibly into a wall at potentially high speed).

          My solution? Not too sure, but I am leaning towards what Jay said. In Formula 2005 for PS2 if you cut corners the game reduces your rev limit for a certain amount of time depending on how bad a cut it was. I don’t see why this couldn’t be implemented, or a three strike drive through system as Jay suggested.

          My favourite qualifying to watch is Monaco. To see the drivers push the cars to the very limit and come within millimeters of touching the wall or even just stroking it excites me no end and distinguishes the men from the boys. I even like the race for this reason and don’t mind that there is not much overtaking as the sheer skill and focus the driver must need to do this for over 70 laps is more than amazing enough to keep me interested and my heart pounding! However we all know Monaco would never pass the current track safety standards so this can’t really be implemented everywhere, and plus it would make some circuits slower. I have often wondered how much faster Monaco would be if it had a couple of meters of run off area around the outside like most other tracks? If it did I am sure it would lose the reason that makes me like it so much though! (Sorry to go off topic slightly in that last paragraph)

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th February 2011, 20:44

            I totally agree about Monaco. Whenever people moan about it being boring for lack of overtaking I have to wonder if they wouldn’t be better off watching NASCAR. Watching the best drivers fly around Monaco, almost as if they’re feeling the barriers with their whiskers like a cat, is about as exciting as motorsport gets.

          • David A said on 28th February 2011, 11:32

            An automatic rev-limiter doesn’t even work in a video game, so it definiely shouldn’t be in real F1.

      • Jackie’s not saying tracks should be less safe to punish errors, or implying that it should be less difficult to crash. He’s saying they should be less forgiving with regards to the amount of time a driver loses for leaving the road. Replace a huge tarmac run-off with a huge gravel trap, nobody’s going to hit the wall but mistakes will cost a lot more time and maybe even a DNF. Tracks like Abu Dhabi are basically a huge car park with the outline of a circuit painted on- leaving the track often saves time.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 27th February 2011, 2:06

      I was reading an article on the Austin circuit in the February issue of F1 Racing, and Tavo Hellmund was saying that their version of Istanbul’s Turn 8 will be faster, but with terrible camber and going downhill, and that if he had his way, there would be a wall on the outside and no room for margin, but that can’t be done. The same article says that Tilke GmbH also employs a full-time soil expert and chemical engineer, who formulates the exact composition of the tarmac and can pretty much make the surface as grippy as a fresh set of soft tyres, or as slippery as a frozen pond. Would it really be so difficult to mix up some tarmac for the run-off that is either a) very, very slippery, b) with carve your tyres to ribbons, or c) both?

      • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 27th February 2011, 2:17

        Tavo Hellmund really talks the talk. So did Simon Gilett (remember him?!). Marking out the layout and clearing a few bushes is all well and good, but I’ll remain sceptical until they start laying the track

      • Hamish said on 27th February 2011, 2:18

        Interesting things mentioned there. I think the problem is with this “big business” with other companies the best interests of the sport are not being served.

        Its the same situation with Bridgestone. Do you produce a product whichs contributes beneficially to the sport, or do you produce an impeccable product which serves a good image for that specific company?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th February 2011, 11:19

        One thing is the customer demanding more variability (and Bernie allowing for that as well) the other is a bit of competition in the circuit building.

        Steward has a fair point, about all Tilke tracks being more of the same. It is only starting to change for the last couple of tracks.

    • Dipak T said on 27th February 2011, 3:17

      Jesus, thats surpirising. That said, ideally you would have a couple of metres of grass on all but the most critically dangerous corners before the tarmac, so you punish small errors, but at the same time the large errors result in a race ending but safe and survivable incident, at the worst.

    • Steve said on 27th February 2011, 9:38

      Gaining a place because some one is off the track is not what I call an overtake.

  2. F199player said on 27th February 2011, 0:13

    I agree with Sir Jackie that today’s driver can run wide and maybe even gain time. If the FIA and track owners say that they need Tarmac run off areas for safety, then have a gravel trap at the start of a run off area to punish the driver and then have the Tarmac to prevent crashes. I know that maybe a few corner in f1 will need Tarmac run offs due to lack of space between track and barriers, but most corners don’t even need them.

  3. hey (@hey) said on 27th February 2011, 0:31

    About that FT article: turning up where???? I need to know now you mentioned it.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 27th February 2011, 2:09

      I’d say the article is referring to the launch of No Angel, the biography of Ecclestone that was launched this week. It appears he was unhappy with the way the book detailed elements of his private life – namely his family – that he had asked remain private.

      • kowalsky said on 27th February 2011, 7:53

        i can imagine how bernie felt. He is looking like a nobody, and his ex like a nut case.
        Don’t worry bernie, the f1 fans still have respect for you, but i can imagine in the paddock you would have that feeling when people stop talking as they see you coming.

        • Maciek said on 27th February 2011, 13:34

          f1 fans still have respect for you

          Which ones would that be?! And I don’t really see Bernie being red-faced around the paddock – or anywhere. The guy’s pretty shameless, which is exactly why the majority of fans – as far as I can tell – rather wish he’d go away.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th February 2011, 11:23

      It is a short writeups column. The one for F1 interest is about the book presentation.

      Another nice quote from Brower:

      In his speech, Mr Bower recalled the time when he met Lakshmi Mittal at the Monaco Grand Prix with Mr Ecclestone, and the steel tycoon asked Mr Bower to promise never to write about him. He refused to make such an undertaking, “just as I never made any undertaking about [Mr Ecclestone’s] family”, he told gathered friends.

  4. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 27th February 2011, 0:37

    I have an extremely random question, which I believe entered my mind when someone suggested t’other day that F1 circuits should cross national borders: Which F1 circuits are located nearest to a foreign country/ border?

    Off the top of my head Monaco springs to mind, as it’s right next to both France and Italy. Montreal too is practically in America, and Singapore I believe is very near Malaysia and even Indonesia. A historical example would be Avus which was in the West Berlin enclave surrounded by East Germany

    Obviously distance can be illusory too- North Korea is geographically close to Yeongam and Suzuka, but politically it may as well be on the other side of the world. Same goes for Afghanistan/ Pakistan and the new Indian circuit

    Off the top of my head Monaco springs to mind, as it’s right next to both France and Italy. Montreal too is practically in America, and Singapore I believe is very near Malaysia and even Indonesia. A historical example would be Avus which was in the West Berlin enclave surrounded by East Germany

    Obviously distance can be illusory too- North Korea is geographically close to Yeongam and Suzuka, but politically it may as well be on the other side of the world. Same goes for Afghanistan/ Pakistan and the new Indian circuit

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 27th February 2011, 0:51

    I’ve said it too many times. What was wrong with grass and gravel?

    it’s a safety thing, because cars stop quicker on tarmac? fair enough. But why not having like 5 meters of grass alongside the track and THEN tarmac for safety reasons.

    then, if a driver goes off, it’ll be a costly mistake.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 27th February 2011, 0:58

      Yeah, that would be a nice compromise. Although I suppose grass itself can cause problems, as Pedro Diniz showed when he rolled his Sauber at that crazy race at the Nurburgring 99, and his rollcage dug right into the grass. According to Jaques Villeneuve he would’ve broken his neck had he been wearing a HANS device, as is mandatory now

    • Hamish said on 27th February 2011, 1:02

      I think the FIA does it so that that the cars have the best chance of staying on all 4 wheels.

      Crashes where a car goes into the gravel, tyres dig in and it rolls seem to be a thing of the past.

      Its interesting as they can’t really downgrade on safety now. When the next fatality occurs (and in reality it will happen one day) it is very important that it is known to all that the FIA has eliminated all potential hazards.

    • MattW said on 1st March 2011, 8:55

      Or how about some kind of “obstacle” like small plastic bollards that stop the drivers from coming straight back onto the track if they outbrake themselves into slow corner.

      Instead of just running wide and slinging back around onto the track, they have to do a slower zig-zag between the bollards before getting back onto the track. If they don’t and go over the bollards – bingo! broken front wing

      If someone does have some kind of failure and ploughs straight over them it doesn’t really matter

  6. Wondering if they could put sensors in the run off areas and get then to automatically slow the offending car down.

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 27th February 2011, 1:29

    Lets have some sharp stuff at some runoff area so when drivers goes out there his tyres are destroy.

  8. Rob Wilson said on 27th February 2011, 1:44

    Yeah i agree with Jackie, Alonso’s desperate moves on Petrov wern’t even punished, he just carried on, and even sometimes gained time – running wide at the final couple of corners was actually an advantage! crazy.

    But at the same time, the slightest error and you pay style like Monaco is what makes it epic, theres nothing like it.

    Maybe a middle ground is an astro turf runoff area? slow you down without a massive accident, or just good old gravel.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 27th February 2011, 1:58

      You could argue the fact that the run off area gave Alonso more incentive to pass as if he failed he wouldn’t crash into a wall and retire.

      However, we saw in Abu Dhabi that even when the championship is on the line people still don’t try and make the overtaking moves. It must just be too hard.

      • oh he was trying lol, just the track is appalling and designed by a dim wit. the one corner u might be able to overtake the track pinches before the corner. making overtaking near impossible.

        and petrov for once was driving pretty well.

  9. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 27th February 2011, 1:45

    Whats up with the Mobile version being available on my Computer. The mobile version looks strange on a tv, all stretched out and such. Is it for testing stuff?

  10. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th February 2011, 1:55

    In regards to the updates, with a pretty standard screen resolution and text size, I’m getting the header bar wrapping so the Donation button is just below F1 Video. Resizing my browser window has no effect on it either. To get it back up on the proper bar I have to shrink my text to a micro size.

  11. Becken said on 27th February 2011, 4:37

    Hi, Keith.

    Could you turn this in a post too?

    Book reveals Alonso tried to sabotage Hamilton’s car

    A new book reveals how the spiteful Spaniard actually asked the pair’s McLaren team boss Ron Dennis to sabotage Hamilton’s car to ensure it ran out of fuel.

    And it confirms Alonso also tried to ‘blackmail’ Dennis into making him their No. 1 driver as he and Hamilton bitterly fought each other for the Formula One world title.

    The shocking claims come in Tom Bowers’ just-published biography “No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone.”

    The book reveals Alonso gave his boss an ultimatum just hours ahead of the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix.

    It says he warned Dennis he would hand over incriminating emails to the sport’s governing body the FIA if he was not given preferential treatment over his rival.


  12. My suggestion is to ask the driver to do a lap 10% slower than his fastest lap or maybe a drive through penalty…safety shouldn’t be compromised to enable more overtaking.

  13. Icthyes said on 27th February 2011, 7:23

    Why not those polystyrene (well they look like it to me!) boards you see at the Rettifilo in Monza, where the drivers have to snake around them? you could make a “tunnel” on the exit of the course that they have to navigate and lose a second in. On a side note, it annoys me that they’re allowed to go wide on the exit of Ascari, they keep saying it’s not an advantage, then why do the cars do it?

    • On a side note, it annoys me that they’re allowed to go wide on the exit of Ascari, they keep saying it’s not an advantage, then why do the cars do it?

      Lol, exactly. Their times get thrown in the bin now when they do it so it doesn’t really matter what excuses they make :P

  14. Oliver said on 27th February 2011, 9:52

    Stewart’s comment is an indictment on the current F1 fascination with parking lot style racing circuits.

    A driver need not suffer car damage if he has an off circuit moment, however he must be sufficently delayed b suc an excursion. It becomes even more ridiculous when such a driver even makes up time as Kimi showed us several times in China.

    Be that as it may, what is more heart wrenching is to hav e such a new and modern circuit to be designed in such a way as that it is all but impossible to go past a driver who is travelling over a second slower.
    Petrov wasn’t a second slower than Alonso, but the backmarkers quite often had to come to a stand still in order to be lapped and these are cars several seconds per lap slower than the leading cars.

    A poor choice of corner combinations and high speed sections were mated together. Even the very long straight has a miserable sector leading up to it thus making it all pointless.

  15. Paul Ricard has some kind of system on the runoff areas which destroys the tyres quite badly so driver has to pit as a result. Maybe something similar could be introduced to other circuits as well.

    • Hamish said on 27th February 2011, 12:11

      Ironically Paul Ricard is owned by Bernie. I’m not for it, it gives them the excuse to basically make a huge carpark of tarmac, paint some lines and call it a race track.

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