Paul Ricard edges closer to race-share deal with Spa

F1 Fanatic round-up

Carlos Reutemann, Williams, Paul Ricard, 1980In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says financial terms have been agreed for the French Grand Prix to return to the F1 calendar.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ecclestone says French GP deal is done (Autosport)

“Despite long-running rumours of a race-share deal with Belgian Grand Prix venue Spa-Francorchamps, there has been no firm decision about which venue will take the slot in France’s ‘off’ years.”

Drivers’ meeting ‘promises to be very interesting’ (BBC)

“You might think – as Alonso did – that Rosberg’s driving was unfair, overly aggressive, even dangerous, but the rules contain nothing the stewards could use to penalise him.”

Reflections on Bahrain (Sky)

Martin Brundle: “On the journey home I was talking with two F1 drivers, a world champion and a multiple race winner, and they had very similar concerns to Michael in that they can’t push the cars anywhere near their limits. ‘Physically my granny could drive the race’ quipped one to underline how far away from the limits they are.”

Friends of Formula 1 Austin Texas’s photos (Facebook)

“Check this out. Here’s Tavo [Hellmund]‘s five-year-old COTA layout sketch and planning notes. Very cool.”

Bahrain hardliners in driving seat after F1 fiasco (Reuters)

“‘I suspect now that those in the ruling family who argued that this is more trouble than it’s worth will be saying ‘I told you so’,’ said Justin Gengler, a Qatar-based researcher on Bahrain, singling out the royal court and defence ministers.”

Mark Gallagher’s thoughts on Bahrain ?ǣ Original post at GoCar.gr (F1Enigma’s Insider Notebbok)

“With news organisations not allowed into Bahrain, it was left to sports journalists to report on the protests from the Shia villages. This was a huge error, for sports journalists are not used to seeing riots and the sense of horror in their reports was therefore all the greater.”

As F1 takes a battering, where is the silver lining? (The Independent)

“What did Bahrain gain from the grand prix? And that doesn’t mean just the Sunni leadership, who were so insistent on it going ahead, or the vocal Shia protesters upon whose every word so many media outlets hung during the weekend. It also means the silent majority of law abiding Bahrainis.”

Fears of rising violence as circus heads out of Bahrain (The Times, subscription required)

“F1?s travelling circus missed the next part of the show, the Formula One Funeral, as radicals in Bahrain were calling the burial of Salah Abbas Habib last night.”

Not all publicity is good publicity (ESPN)

“The world got denial and lectures, while journalists who dared to show Formula One in anything other than a glowing light were sought out publicly and privately for browbeating.”

Ferrari fever at Mugello (Ferrari)

“Scuderia Ferrari will run Fernando Alonso on the Tuesday and Thursday, with Felipe Massa at the wheel on Wednesday.”

Mark Webber via Twitter

“Come on Ten Sport and One HD I hear [our] great Australian motor sport fans are not happy with rescheduling of timings of the GPs.”

Expanding… (Joe Saward)

“From what I am hearing the plan is to increase the basic number of races to 20 and allow for another possible four. This will mean higher travel costs for the teams but more paydays.”

F1 2012 boasts a revamped physics system (Videogamer)

Codemasters’ Steve Hood: “Previously you might have been bouncing over the kerbs or driving along and the tyres weren’t always in contact with the ground, they didn’t come back down quick enough. But now when you update the suspension, it sounds a bit weird, but it’s almost more compliant. The wheels are in contact with the ground a lot more and you suddenly get a lot more feedback.”

The Inside Line – on Force India?s Nico Hulkenberg (F1)

“Q: What tastes like home?
NH: A good German breakfast. With proper bread! Not that kind of wishy-washy bread that you get in most of the countries we go to.”

Comment of the day

McLarenFanJamm thinks Lewis Hamilton should change his plans not to appear at next week’s Mugello test:

I?m with Lewis. He needs to be in the car at Mugello. Not for the whole test, mind, I still think Paffet and Turvey deserve track time (otherwise, what’s the point of having test drivers?) but if McLaren and/or Lewis want to improve their tyre wear then it makes sense for him to be in the car.

People say that Lewis doesn?t lead the team enough, this is a positive step for him. Taking the initiative and trying to pull the team in the direction he wants to go. To me, he seems to be maturing and understanding what exactly is expected of him. Good for him.
McLarenFanJamm

From the forum

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

A controversial San Marino Grand Prix was won by Didier Pironi 30 years ago today. Look out for an article on the race here later today.

It’s also Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne’s birthdays – they turn 31 and 22 respectively.

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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86 comments on Paul Ricard edges closer to race-share deal with Spa

  1. q85 said on 25th April 2012, 0:18

    now to guess who brundle was talking to.

    button and webber?

    • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 25th April 2012, 0:31

      The only multiple race winners who aren’t also world champions are Massa and Webber, and Massa wouldn’t have been going home to the same place as Brundle (whereas Webber lives in the UK), so yeah, I’d say Webber is a definite. The identity of the world champion is a bit more up in the air, could have been almost anyone. Button seems to get on better with the Pirellis than most, though, so I’d doubt it was him. I’d wonder about maybe Raikkonen.

  2. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 25th April 2012, 0:24

    I’ve never seen a race at Paul Ricard, I’m too young to remember it being on the calendar. For this reason I’m happy to see it return to the F1 calendar, at least it’s got some history!
    On the other hand, losing Spa every second year is not something I enjoy. I’ve only ever been to one F1 race, and that was at Spa. It’s an incredible track and there’s really nothing like it. Unfortunately money wins out in the end, and Spa just isn’t making enough of it to satisfy Bernie. I’m praying it does end up being kept and Paul Ricard can alternate with something else…Valencia anyone?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 2:19

      @colossal-squid – It’s all well and good to say “Spa should stay, and Paul Ricard could alternate with Valencia”, but it’s just not possible. There are only three circuits with contracts up for renewal this year, and Valencia isn’t one of them. Those three are Spa, Suzuka and Singapore.

      And it is believed that, as of 2013, Valencia and Barcelona will share the Spanish Grand Prix (the way the German Grand Prix alternates between the Nurburgring and Hockenheim), and the European Grand Prix will be discontinued.

  3. Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 25th April 2012, 0:27

    “On the journey home I was talking with two F1 drivers, a world champion and a multiple race winner, and they had very similar concerns to Michael in that they can’t push the cars anywhere near their limits. ‘Physically my granny could drive the race’ quipped one to underline how far away from the limits they are.”

    With a bit of guesswork I think I can tell who Brundle is talking about… the multiple race winner must be Webber, as there are only 2 drivers on the grid that have won multiple races but not world championships. That is Massa and Webber. Massa has no need to return to the UK on the same flight as Brundle, and so that probably means it was Webber that he was talking to. The granny quote sounds like something he would say as well.

    As for the world champion, well on that logic it could be Hamilton, Button, Vettel or Raikkonen. I doubt it will be Alonso for the above reason, Button I doubt would moan about looking after tyres as he’s good at it, Raikkonen would be too drunk to talk to Brundle and therefore its either Vettel or Hamilton. On the assumption that Vettel goes back to Germany for the break, it probably means that Brundle was talking to Webber and Hamilton.

    So there we go – Webber and Hamilton are the 2 most likely candidates for also not liking the tyres. Now… that’s enough procrastination for me!!

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 25th April 2012, 3:40

      I think it could be Kimi too. I don’t think he’d really be enjoying himself if he was told over the radio: “look out for your tyres! look out for your tyres! we need you out for 1 more lap!”.

      I’m not sure I agree with Schumacher and those two, though…

  4. MylesW (@mpw1985) said on 25th April 2012, 0:48

    So glad to see some of the other drivers besides Schumacher complaining. As I’ve been saying, these tires have gone too far. I don’t think this problem is getting enough attention.

    Judging by the comments on the round up two days ago, I’d say about 75 percent of commentators seem to agree with Schumacher and Brundle/Driver X. 20% more people agreed with Schumacher than those who didn’t on James Allen’s pole. I think Pirelli need to understand how the fans are feeling, and turn F1 back into F1, not Le Mans.

    • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 25th April 2012, 0:57

      @mpw1985 My thoughts exactly (see below). The balance in F1 is not right at the moment. Pirelli have done a good job mixing things up, but with DRS and KERS I think we need to re-think the situation.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th April 2012, 2:07

      You compare it with LeMans to me it is more like a Bicycle race where the group goes on and on forever until the finish is in sight at which time the team leaders sprint the finish.

  5. Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 25th April 2012, 0:56

    I for one am very happy that there are questions being asked about the role of tyres in modern F1.
    Yes we used to have extensive periods with very little overtaking, and the response of Pirelli to supply tyres that degrade far easily is understandable and laudable. But the fact is that we now have a situation that even the teams are unable to accurately predict how to get the tyres in the much talked about ‘sweet spot’. Mercedes, Lotus and now RBR seem to have lucked into this sweet spot so far in the first 4 races. But contrast that with Mercedes in Malaysia, Mclaren in Bahrain. Add to that the comments coming out from the driver like Schumacher, and anonymously to Martin Brundle above…something is not right at the moment.
    F1 should be about the best drivers in the world, pushing the finest cars in the world to the absolute limit. That’s what made me love F1 in the first place. Constantly having to listen to people talk about ‘conserving tyres’ and the ridiculous situation where some drivers don’t even run in Q3 anymore is starting to really disappoint me.

    • MylesW (@mpw1985) said on 25th April 2012, 1:06

      Precisely. I equated the tire situation with the international governing body of track and field (hypothetically) banning running shoes, a situation that would allow those who are inherently very gentle on their feet (but not necessarily the best or fastest) to look like stars because their feet wouldn’t blister. The whole story of F1 has become completely dictated by the tires. Every time I see Lewis in the dirty air of another car trying to pass it, all I’m thinking is “careful! Don’t be too agressive and try to overtake him! You’ll kill your tires and ruin your race!”. I feel like I’m not alone in this sentiment, and to be frank, it’s becoming detrimental to my F1 viewing pleasure. The tires are slowly killing racing in the name of cheap entertainment.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th April 2012, 2:15

        I agree, my preference would allow a hard tyre no-stop option, but that would not suit Bernies 3-ring circus plan, I think the compromise solution would be to move the selection available up the scale ie. option=medium, prime=Hard. Makes me wonder, have they ever raced on the hard tyre ?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 2:24

      I still think the tyre problems in Bahrain can be written off as being down to a combination of high heat, a lack of data on the circuit, and the circuit surface being sandy. It’s also possible that Pirelli made a mistake in their tyre choices; they offered the same compounds in Bahrain as they did in China, but the Bahrain Grand Prix was twice as hot as the Chinese, and nobody really complained about it until Bahrain. The harder, more-durable compounds might have been a better choice.

      • necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 25th April 2012, 8:47

        Exactly what I think.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 8:54

          I think we’ll know more for certain after Barcelona and Monaco. They’re typically “hot” races, with high heat and low humidity. Canada will probably be the real test, because it’s a lot like Melbourne, but the surface is very unique – it’s non-porous to prevent water seeping in and then freezing over the winter (which damages the surface as water expands when frozen), and consequently, it’s really quite low-grip and low-downforce.

      • John H (@john-h) said on 25th April 2012, 11:36

        But these comments are not just about Bahrain. This has been brewing for the last year or so. @MylesW has it right in my opinion: “The tires are slowly killing racing in the name of cheap entertainment.”

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 11:46

          That’s funny, because I seem to remember everyone complaining about it when the drivers could do a whole race on one set of tyres without losing any pace back in 2010.

          The is beginning to sound like DRS round two: everyone demands changes to help the drivers race one another, but then complain loudly when they think the changes (which do exactly what they wanted them to do) are introduced.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th April 2012, 11:58

            which do exactly what they wanted them to do

            No they don’t. No-one ever said they wanted races full of easy slam-dunk passes.

      • Nigel1 said on 25th April 2012, 14:55

        I’ve been saying since the second race that it’s not worth running twice in Q3, as the chance of pole is as unpredictable as the sweet spot of the Pirellis, and if you miss pole you’re better off with an extra set of new options than a couple of places on the grid.

        Bahrain, of course, was more extreme in that it really wasn’t worth running at all in Q3 unless you were the pole sitter.

        Sure, some of the racing can be quite exciting – but so can a lottery be.

  6. The problem isn’t with degrading tyres, its with tyres that can only be pushed hard for one lap and are essentially qualifying tyres in all but name. Drivers shouldn’t have to cruise 3-4 seconds off the pace to a delta time just to preserve the tyres, they should be able to push 90-100% for 10-15 laps before the tyres go off.
    While the Bridegestones were way too durable, the Pirelli’s have gone to the opposite side of the spectrum. It doesn’t take a Godilocks to reason out that maybe somewhere in the middle would be the best option

    • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 25th April 2012, 1:33

      @kvothe Yeah thats the thing, as Schumacher said he’s driving to a delta time, as if behind the safety car! That is not what F1 should be about in my opinion.
      Yes we want tyres that degrade and possibly offer different pit strategies, but the situation at the moment is too much.
      I can imagine their will be plenty of F1F’s that will disagree though. I’ve seen plenty of comments around this issue, like “conserving your tyres whilst maintaining as quick a pace as possible is part of being a racing driver”. Which is true to an extent, but is totally wrong when the drivers are holding back as much as they seem to be doing at the moment.

      • Arijit (@arijitmaniac) said on 25th April 2012, 6:34

        Agree with you. Also agree with the fact that ability to conserve tyres is an essential skill of a racing driver. But nowadays its ONLY about conserving tyres. We dont see drivers really battling it out anymore. Even if they do its only momentarily as they have to save their tyres. Guess we wont see any move like Nelson Piquet Sr vs Ayrton Senna in Hungary 1986 anymore :(

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 25th April 2012, 6:44

      @kvothe,

      they should be able to push 90-100% for 10-15 laps before the tyres go off.

      This would have my preference, too. I wonder if that’s easy to implement, though. In other words, if a tyre can last 10-15 laps while pushing hard, might it last 30 if you are saving your tyres? Nevertheless, the Bridgestone options usually allowed this reasonably well. Drivers could (I think) push for the first 10-15 laps of the race, before coming in for new tyres. It’s just that the primes they subsequently put on were too durable.

      I don’t think it will happen any time soon, but I hope this is what would happen: first drop silly tyres rules: no more starting on the set you qualified on (I’ve only seen Vettel this year qualify on the hards in Malaysia, otherwise driver just choose the options), and no more mandatory pit stops; second, make tyres that are similar to the soft range of the Bridgestone spectrum: tyres that can be pushed, but soft enough for one (or two) pitstops to be advantageous.

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 25th April 2012, 7:57

      I think that the tyres shouldn’t degrade; instead, they wear, so the grip comes back

  7. ivz (@ivz) said on 25th April 2012, 1:39

    Give us a tyre that can be pushed hard for 10 laps and one that can be pushed hard for 20 laps, with a lap difference of 1.5 seconds! Or is that too much to ask? :)

    • timi (@timi) said on 25th April 2012, 1:53

      @ivz That still wouldn’t work. It would force almost every team to 3 stop since most races have more than 50 laps.
      After the out lap, in lap and flying lap in q3, the top 10 would only be able to push for maybe 8 or 9 laps for the first stint. then the next two stints at 20 laps each, only givs us 49 laps. Plus a 1.5 second gap is just ridiculous. We pretty much had that last year.

      • ivz (@ivz) said on 25th April 2012, 2:11

        @timi true, maybe one compound that would last between 15 to 20 laps, and one 25 to 30 laps. But most importantly, the tyres should be able to be pushed, at the moment the cars are no where near their limits. Although I guess this is why Alonso can still keep in the hunt in the race. If everyone was pushing hard, he would end up being lapped.

        • timi (@timi) said on 25th April 2012, 10:57

          @ivz Yeah, I agree with you.

          I just think a lot of people’s thinking of how we should change F1 is flawed. We’re poking holes in the tyres, where it is actually all due to fundamental F1 regulations that we even need these tyres and DRS. Here is one of my comments from the other day;

          In my opinion there are 3 (maybe 4) key elements to exciting racing with overtakes;
          the track
          the regulations regarding car aerodynamics
          the tyres
          (and possibly engines, but there’s no way a limit on hp will be lifted especially with the 4cylinder turbos coming in)

          In my view the pirellis are just a tad extreme, add 5 or 6 laps to each compound, else every race will just be a standard 3 stopper. It’s pretty clear now that only a fool would do a 2 stopper, the tyres have gone off at the end of all 4 races now! It’s sort of like watching an adult take candy from a baby,- note Raikonnen at the end of the Chinese GP. Sure, there are increased overtakes but they’re pretty boring, with little defending. Same with DRS. The fundamentals of today’s age of F1 are flawed with regards to excitement and overtaking.

          So many tracks are just plain bad for a race to be held on, such as Bahrain. Change the tracks, simple. Monza always produces great races, as does silverstone. Tilke shouldn’t have a monopoly over the tracks being designed and used in F1.
          The other solution,- change the aero rules. I personally suggest any set of aero rules from 2000-2008. Obviously with tweaks to allow for the new longer chassis due to no refuelling. The problem with the current regs is the turbulent air left in the wake of a car, thus the following car has to be either very grippy or just substantially faster to get close enough to pass. That way we can eliminate DRS as well.

          So basically, my plan is to re-write the regs, get rid of tracks such as both Spanish GPs, Bahrain, Monaco, maybe Singapore. Add 5 or 6 laps to each tyre, and then boom get rid of DRS, plus we won’t have people “driving to the delta” as Schumacher put it.

          • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 26th April 2012, 11:11

            @timi You want to improve the spectacle of F1 by getting rid of 2 of the more challenging tracks? Monaco and Singapore are incredibly challenging tracks, and I can’t remember any of the last few races being held at either track being dull at all…

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th April 2012, 11:15

            The first two Singapore races were pretty poor (even before we found out what had gone on at the first one).

          • timi (@timi) said on 26th April 2012, 11:45

            @keeleyobsessed Sorry but a challenging track has little to do with spectacle for the fans. Monaco has been boring for years, it’s pretty much a procession apart from the odd pass here or there. Last year’s would have been unbelievably boring had it not been for Hamilton going crazy and crashing every few laps. Oh, and Vettel’s tyres going off, but that would be rectified if my changes are put in place ;).
            And like Keith said, Singapore held a couple of boring GPs as well.

            My point has nothing to do with a challenging track, that’s for the drivers but makes little difference to the casual F1 fan who just wants to see fast cars overtaking eachother. Which is why I really have a gripe with Monaco.

    • artificial racer said on 25th April 2012, 3:29

      It’s more than just being capable of pushing hard. It’s also about being less rewarding to conserve them. Otherwise the optimal strategy might still end up being to drive like a granny for 30 laps.

      I don’t know if, technically, you can design tire performance to be more of a “use it or lose it” deal. Obviously you could do something like force teams to make multiple stops.

      • artificial racer said on 25th April 2012, 3:30

        I also hate the idea of saving tires in qualifying. They should have dedicated qualifying tires and then fresh race tires.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 5:38

          Pirelli suggested it for 2012, but the teams opposed it.

          • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 25th April 2012, 6:46

            Did they? Or did they just suggest even softer tyres, on which you would have to start the race?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 6:51

            No, they suggested qualifying tyres. They came up with several ideas for 2012, including qualifying tyres and supplying one prime compound with two options, but with the catch being that the teams could only use one option and so had to pick which one they wanted to use.

            In the end, the teams shot down all the ideas, and asked Pirelli to make the speed differential between the primes and options closer. Where there was about 1.5 seconds per lap difference in 2011, it’s now about half that. The idea was that if the tyres were closer together, the teams would explore different strategies instead of 2011′s trend of “stay off the slow tyre until you absolutely have to”.

  8. MattW said on 25th April 2012, 2:08

    I agree with what people are saying about the tyres but remember Pirelli are just providing what they were asked to provide. The finger pointing needs to go further up the F1 management tree

  9. Julian (@julian) said on 25th April 2012, 2:11

    “Come on Ten Sport and One HD I hear [our] great Australian motor sport fans are not happy with rescheduling of timings of the GPs.”

    Indeed. I was quite peeved that One HD favoured a movie and netball over the F1.

    • MattW said on 25th April 2012, 2:17

      Don’t forget about going from high def One to standard def Ten. And they still have the three clowns hosting

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 5:37

        Hey, it could be worse – we could be going back to the days of delayed broadcasts with those three morons commentating the entire thing.

      • t3x (@t3x) said on 25th April 2012, 6:12

        Rusty is actually getting better and better, but the other guys are hopeless, really hopeless. I can’t believe they haven’t got anyone better.

        • t3x (@t3x) said on 25th April 2012, 6:20

          Actually do you remember during the Malaysian round i think when the commentary was down for the start and no one was saying a thing, just the occasional word, i couldn’t believe it !!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 6:42

            I remember it. That episode served to highlight the flaws within the “commentary” team – namely, that they only ever call what they are looking at on the screen at any given time. They offer no insight, no analysis and no interest. You’ll notice it the most when they show the onboard laps before the race; it’s just a case of “Down the long front straight … braking into Turn 1 and then left into Turn 2 … now he’s accelerating again” and so on. Whereas when Brundle and Croft do it, you’ll get something like “And he’s on the front straight; the racing line cuts across the grid here, so everyone will have plenty of rubber at the start, which means plenty of grip, so no-one is really at a disadvantage … at Turn 1, you turn in much earlier than you think is necessary so that you can cut across to the apex at Turn 2; it might not seem like the fastest way through the corner, but getting into the best position for the exit of Turn 2 is the key to a quick sector time because of the heavy traction coming onto the next straight”.

            It’s worlds apart.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 6:23

          @t3x

          I can’t believe they haven’t got anyone better.

          I can’t understand why they don’t just use the Sky coverage for everything. It’s a thousand percent better. It’s pretty pathetic that the commentators presented as “experts” – McConville, Baird and Beattie – have never actually raced a Formula 1 car before. Why should we care what a former motorcycle racer thinks of the race? He was a motorcycle racer! That’s about as far away as you can get from Formula 1 and still be in motorsport.

          • MattW said on 25th April 2012, 8:16

            Spot on, just give us the feed as it comes

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 8:36

            To be fair to Ten, they do need someone to host the coverage. No matter how good Sky’s broadcast it, it is aimed squarely at the British viewers first and foremost. Ten’s problem is that the people they have chosen for the job are unlikeable, have no real knowledge of the sport beyond the headlines they repeat in the pre-race show and generally misrepresent things to faovur Webber (and to a lesser extent, Ricciardo). For example, if Webber is fastest in FP1, then they’ll hold that up as evidence that he is a genuine contender for victory in the race, even though half the grid have beaten his time by the end of FP2, and half of the remainder will beat it by the end of FP3.

        • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 25th April 2012, 10:51

          Is that you Mrs Rusty.

          • ivz (@ivz) said on 25th April 2012, 12:45

            Speaking of Croft, anyone notice how he made about 5 incorrect calls of drivers names within the first 6 laps?

  10. HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th April 2012, 2:34

    Re. Paul Ricard circuit ( named after a major alcoholic drinks company ): I have read references to Bernie having a large share if not complete ownership of this circuit, is this true? If true then surely there is a huge conflict of interest in Bernie negotiating on behalf of the F1 teams with Bernie negotiating for his own interest, regardless of whether he convinces the French government to subsidise the circuit or not.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 2:48

      Yes, Bernie owns the circuit. But as far as I can tell, he does not own the company organising the Grand Prix. And I very much doubt that either he or the French would be stupid enough to enter into an agreement where he has such a blatant conflict of interests. For one, Bernie didn’t get where he is today by making that kind of decision. And the French elections are widely expected to vote Sarkozy and Fillon out of office. The incoming government would take one look at such an obviously-flawed arrangement and use that conflict of interests to break the contract without penalty. Bernie would not gain anything from it – race sanctioning fees are not paid until after each race (usually the day after), and the new goverment would come into power before the race took place.

      The obvious answer here is that while Bernie does own the Paul Ricard circuit, he has distanced himself from the organisation of the event.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th April 2012, 3:52

        From the quoted announcement he doesn’t sound to distant to me, maybe the family trust is doing the negotiating or could it be that German banker.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 4:43

          Yes, Bernie is doing the negotiating. That’s because he controls FOM, and FOM is the only organisation that can introduce a new round of the championship. But you’re missing the point: it is only a conflict of interests if Bernie owns the company that is organising and promoting the event, because they are the ones that pay FOM.

          As for “that German banker”, he won’t be doing any negotiating. His name is Gerhard Gribkowsky, and his current address is Stadelheim Prison in Munich. Even if he was a free man, he wouldn’t be doing any negotiating because Ecclestone testified that Gribkowsky was extorting money out of him. The judge in the case ruled that the money constituted a bribe under the law, but he was willing to acknowledge that Ecclestone felt threatened when he made the payments to Gribkowsky.

  11. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 3:25

    From what I am hearing the plan is to increase the basic number of races to 20 and allow for another possible four.

    Who says Bernie kicks older events off the calendar for the sake of introducing new ones?

  12. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th April 2012, 3:42

    “Check this out. Here’s Tavo [Hellmund]‘s five-year-old COTA layout sketch and planning notes. Very cool.”

    Something even cooler: the first tarmac has been laid. True, it’s the run-off area at Turn 1, but it’s a start.

  13. sumedh said on 25th April 2012, 4:02

    I don’t agree with Michael and the other two drivers. We had that in 2010 and it was downright boring. Pirellis are doing exactly what is asked of them.

    I have a rather controversial solution to solve this complaint. Right now, the rule says that there is one mandatory pit-stop and both tyres must be used. If we change that to TWO or THREE mandatory pit stops, then all drivers will push more as they know they need not conserve the tyres so much.

    Another non-controversial solution is to increase the pitlane speed limit and increase the tyres available to a driver every race. Typically, a driver loses 15-20 seconds for a pitstop, if we were to increase the pitlane speed limit, we can reduce this 15-20 seconds to 10-15 seconds and hence encourage the driver to push more since he won’t be losing much lesser time in pit stops and hence he can afford to do an extra pit stop.

    Whatever you do, do not change the Pirellis, rather change the rules so that we can alleviate Michael’s and Driver X’s and Driver Y’s concerns.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th April 2012, 4:50

      @sumedh, I’m afraid your plan, interesting as it is, will fail on safety grounds, if no other.

    • OOliver said on 25th April 2012, 6:11

      In theory it make sense, but there are limited tyres, and some of them get beat up real bad during qualifying that they have very short race life span.
      The fact the teams cant mix up the tyres, such as replacing individual tyres from their collection furthe compounds the problem.
      If a driver exiting the pits with fresh tyres, locks up and damages just one tyre, even if the other 3 tyres are effectively brand new, he is forced to condemn all 4.
      So a driver could have 9 brand new tyres, yet be unable to make use them.

  14. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 25th April 2012, 7:02

    And Felipe Massa’s Birthday – he turns 31.

  15. Girts (@girts) said on 25th April 2012, 7:17

    A surprisingly lively interview with Hulkenberg. And I share his opinion on the German breakfast & bread.

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