Rules change debate “absurd”, says Wolff

F1 Fanatic Round-up

In the round-up: Mercedes director Toto Wolff believes the debate over whether to change some of this season’s new regulations is “absurd”.
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Mercedes boss says F1 rules change talk is ‘absurd’ (Autosport)

Wolff: “Well, sorry they didn’t do their job in the way we have done. I find this whole discussion absurd. If this is the agenda then we should not talk the sport down as a total. We should say, hold on a minute. Mercedes has done a better job.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2014

Valtteri Bottas says Williams can finally make good on their potential in Bahrain (Sky)

Bottas: “I think it’s a possibility. I mean, you never know what’s going to happen in the race but we have the pace to fight for the podium. I think it’s a fact Mercedes is too quick but we have a good chance to be best of the rest.”

Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Rosberg pole no surprise (F1.com)

Hamilton: “I am happy for Nico, as he has worked hard all weekend long, and he just did a better job today. It seems that he has felt more and more comfortable in the car as we have gone through the weekend, and maybe it has been a little bit of the opposite for me.”

Car feeling better than ever – Raikkonen (ESPN)

Raikkonen: “I think we made the right changes to the car for today so I expect that it should be pretty okay, but I don’t know whether it is fast enough to be fighting with those [other cars for third] and obviously we have to get through the first corner and the first lap.”

Lewis Hamilton warned by Sir Jackie Stewart that team-mate Nico Rosberg is becoming ”the new Prost” (Mirror)

Stewart: “His future is moving in that direction. He’s not yet in that category, he’s got to win more Grands Prix, more championships but he has all the potential. The methodical manner in which he goes about his business points to it.”

Bahrain Grand Prix to remain a night Formula 1 race (Autosport)

“As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations this year, Bahrain decided to hold its first race under floodlights, with a 6pm start time for the grand prix on Sunday. With the lighting having proved a success, and ticket sales appearing to have been lifted by the more convenient time for spectators, Bahrain has confirmed that its night race slot will become a permanent fixture.”

Has Bahrain’s human rights situation really improved? (Channel 4)

“Security measures have been relatively relaxed and the opposition seems to have been rather disjointed in its activities. So for most Bahrainis and the tens of thousands of visitors, this has the feeling of a regular sporting event. Politics and human rights concerns have taken a back seat.”

Is grand prix a lose-lose race for Bahrain’s royal family? (Channel 4)

“All this week, protests have taken place in the country calling for a boycott of “Formula Blood”, particularly following the death of a 21-year-old protester, Hussain Sharaf, who died in a fire which, according to the family, local fireman refused to put out.”

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Comment of the day

After Mercedes made it three poles out of three to start the season yesterday, Ben Needham is awaiting tomorrow’s race with anticipation.

In response to everyone saying it was boring and predictable, I actually quite enjoyed it. Accepting that the Mercedes’ were going to lock out the front row, it was still an intriguing battle between the two drivers and ultimately Nico starting in front is a good outcome for the race. Generally both he and Hamilton get good starts so we should get a good battle with Lewis pressing up behind him.

Equally the battle for third place is unbelievable – pick any of the Force India, Williams, McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari drivers and you could feasibly see them on the podium tomorrow. That will certainly keep me interested.

Then there is the battles between team-mates as well, which are close at the nearly every team – now Raikkonen and Perez have taken their first blow to their respective team-mates.

I think it has the potential to be a very interesting race tomorrow.
Ben Needham

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Twenty years ago today Eddie Irvine had a bad day in front of the FIA Review Board. Having been handed a one-race ban for causing a four-car crash in the Brazilian Grand Prix Irvine’s suspension was extended to three races.

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66 comments on Rules change debate “absurd”, says Wolff

  1. maybet said on 6th April 2014, 2:29

    As absurd as pirelli tire change last year??

  2. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 6th April 2014, 2:40

    I think this article sums up how I feel about all the hot air in f1 right now:

    http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/top-of-the-flops/

  3. reiter (@reiter) said on 6th April 2014, 2:55

    Toto Wolff for president of the world! It would be an absolute tragedy if Ferrari or some other team/person managed to get the set of rules for this year changed. Removing the fuel flow restriction but keeping double points would be the epitome of ignorance and apathy towards the fans, but I don’t see it happening.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 6th April 2014, 10:15

      Ferrari have to be a terrible example to use. They have been absolutely passive compared to RBR.

      • Eric (@) said on 6th April 2014, 10:27

        @joshua-mesh

        So, years on years of lobbying for a formula that rely’s on engines instead of aero is passive…
        But I do love the irony of F1 being engine centric now and Ferrari still coming up short. What excuse will Di Montezemolo use now I wonder.

    • Eric (@) said on 6th April 2014, 10:24

      @reiter

      IMO (and I know there are many who will agree with me), the fuel flow restriction is just as ridiculous as the double points rule.

      The 100 kg max fuel rule is enough. Let them race with it.

      • fractal (@fractal) said on 6th April 2014, 10:44

        I fully agree with Toto. Merc did a better job than everyone else. Its totally unfair to discount their hard work by any kind of rule change if that affect them hardly or give unfair advantage to any of their competitors. I do not know if fuel flow rule is an advantage to RBR or not. Moreover, it is ridiculous to ask for rule change after the season began, unless there are very sensible reasons, which I presume there is not. RBR and others should have lobbied for these changes pre-season. However, at this moment any child can understand what they are playing for. They should be really ashamed of themselves for tampering with rules for their own advantage and such WCCs won are/will be a total disgrace to sportsmanship.
        I have seen a statement from rule makers (FIA) in the beginning of the year that unlimited fuel flow rate may cause some extremely aggressive approach from drivers and that could potentially impose threat to other drivers on the track momentarily, especially when the change between two cars is apparently too high. FIA statement is based on evidence from other series like Le Mans, etc. So there is a reason behind making these rules. I believe it from their explanation that removal of this rule may help to show some incredible action on the field. And if a change is imminent, FIA should postpone it at least until next season so as not to give some teams any unfair advantage.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 6th April 2014, 15:29

        the fuel flow restriction is just as ridiculous as the double points rule.

        How!? One is a technical regulation, the other is just a farce. I don’t see how you could even vaguely compare them.

  4. AlonsoSpeed said on 6th April 2014, 3:27

    Toto Wolff the word to describe his outrage “rule changes ” can be summed up as CHUTZPAH!

    He must be suffering from Amnesia, as last season when the Merc was fastest on Saturday, but chewed through it’s tire so much that till the “testgate” scandal for 3 days of private testing with pirelli tire right after Spain …..allowed them to spring board over everyone except Redbull.

    Then when Pirelli switch back to previous version of the tires, where you could get away with 1 tire change per race; I rather enjoyed watching teams who were soft on their tires advance and those who ate them like snacks.

    BUT oh no if someone else says we should change the rules mid-season “how dare they”

    Okay . Let them rev up to 18,000 RPMs give 8 engines and scrap the fuel flow hourly amount
    -still force them to use no more than 100kg of fuel per race , to use how/when they please.

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 6th April 2014, 9:35

      Engines will need a massive restructuring to allow an 18k rev ceiling, but moreover, hardly any teams are touching the 15k rev-limit at the moment, so increasing to 18k is just hot air.

      And please get over the tire debate; that was obviously not the cause for the tires.

    • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 6th April 2014, 13:21

      BUT oh no if someone else says we should change the rules mid-season “how dare they”

      While I tend to agree that there is a lot of hypocrisy in F1, with all teams wanting changes which will benefit them, in this instance I cannot agree with him more.

      The rules should not be changed mid season unless there are clear safety reasons for doing so. It undermines the entire sport. As he said, Merc have done the best job with the new rules: Why should they be punished for this? Why should Renault & Ferrari be able to lobby their way up the pecking order?

      To be honest I thought the same about last year’s (?) tyre changes mid season. The only reason it could be justified was on safety grounds, after several blowouts with (apparently) no warning. This presented a clear danger to the drivers, although the change definitely brought about a change in competitive order. Could the tyres have been kept, and the struggling teams just been told “you need to be careful”? I don’t know. But they needed to do something to remove a very dangerous situation.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th April 2014, 14:35

        There is no question that it is absurd that after 2 races of a brand new chapter in F1 some teams are already talking about tweaking the rules/regs. There is no safety issue of concern.

        At a minimum teams should be more patient to see how the racing is after half a season…isn’t that what they would ask the fans to do?

        I suppose it is possible (F1 being it’s own unique entity and all) that aside from a safety issue the rules could be tweaked if viewership has had or is about to have a major fallout, but again, to judge that after 2 races when we had it grilled into us that the teams would be struggling to adapt to such drastic new regs, seems absurd.

        RBR with their appeal may reveal something serious that needs to be addressed regarding the fuel flow sensors, or not, but other than that Ferrari just look like whiners and manipulators with their unproven survey, and are obviously so fickle that they will, at the drop of a hat, dump on the very entity that has made them so wealthy and successful and has even provided them extra weight in the boardroom and extra hundreds of millions of dollars to help them succeed. I’m just glad all that special treatment still hasn’t guaranteed them anything, and maybe that is what sticks in LdM’s craw the most.

        And if he thinks he is garnering support by sounding like he sides with the majority of fans via a skewed survey, he should think again. I haven’t been this turned off from Ferrari since the skewed MS days. Not FA, not KR…I like them both…but I cannot wish Ferrari success at this point.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th April 2014, 3:45

    Any midseason change the absolute opposite of fair. And so is, to some extent, changing the rules that were supposed to last for many years. Specially regarding engines now the development is frozen.

    I mantain that they should’ve allowed development during the first season and then seal it off. Because if this is going to be the way to go for the next 4 years, everything not powered by a Mercedes is just doomed… specially Renaults. But that’s a decision that should’ve been made in the past.

    In the end, whatever was decided, needs to be carried on. So what? How many times have we seen a team dominate?

    The “I don’t complain when I’m winning and rightfully earning their glory, but don’t you dare doing a better job than me, because I’ll shout until either people hate me or I get away with what I want. Or both” is getting quite old now…

    • Paul (@coreblimey) said on 6th April 2014, 4:29

      If the rules did get changed mid season would not blame merc, if they just went sod it, and left the sport

    • anon said on 6th April 2014, 7:52

      The FIA’s regulations allow for the engines to be homologated again every year until 2019 with the number of changes that can be made per season being gradually tapered off year by year.

      Ahead of the 2015 season, the teams are free to change almost anything on the engines that would still otherwise fit within the regulations, with the exception of the crankshaft and part of the crankcase. There are still some restrictions, but overall development of the engines is a lot more relaxed at the moment than you think – it’s only really in 2019 that development would be heavily restricted.

  6. trotter said on 6th April 2014, 5:20

    Race at 5PM is not a bad time for a race, considering you can get most of the day if you are planning to be outside.
    When you think about it, 2PM is really in the middle of your day and is not really convenient if you’d like to do something else during the day.

    • curmudgeon (@curmudgeon) said on 6th April 2014, 8:50

      Good for you but for us in Asia it means a very late night. I liked the 2PM races when I lived in Europe as my kids were usually out and about and we could have Sunday dinner an hour or two after the race. Races in the Americas require early to sleep and an early morning wake-up. Such is the nature of following this sport.

    • Toro Stevo (@toro-stevo) said on 6th April 2014, 9:05

      I’d love to be able to watch a race at 2pm again, it’s been years since I’ve had the opportunity to living in eastern Australia. As much as I can’t deny it makes sense to run Bahrain at night (if it has to be run at all), it means a 4am monday morning start, so I’ll likely pass.

    • Psychotext (@textuality) said on 6th April 2014, 9:28

      I think I’d prefer 8 or 9am most of the time. That, or 6pm / later.

      But then I can’t have everything I want!

  7. TMF (@tmf42) said on 6th April 2014, 5:59

    I tend to agree with Wolff. Like 2011 it would be an absolute travesty if they change things just because 1 team did a better job and dominates everything.
    But F1 is also no longer a development platform with an open competition – with frozen engine designs and other restrictive rules F1 regulated itself in this position, where the others don’t really have a way to catch up quickly. So I understand why they are now talking about changes, but I’d rather have them address the question how to save costs without sacrificing competition.

  8. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 6th April 2014, 6:49

    Lewis Hamilton warned by Sir Jackie Stewart that team-mate Nico Rosberg is becoming ”the new Prost” (Mirror)

    Why do Lewis’s teammates always have to be Prost? Alonso was Prost, Button was Prost, and now Rosberg is Prost.

    • Dr. Jekyll (@dr-jekyll) said on 6th April 2014, 7:02

      HAHA comment of the day for me!

      People are so overly eager to call Ham, Senna that they forget all of the Prosts that have been announced.

      • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 6th April 2014, 8:17

        Even though I like ham a lot. Calling him even “like senna” would be the definition of an overstatement . As far as Button is concerned , I believe Prost had a lot of pace even though he was a bit conservative . Watching one of the videos of Prost in Zandvoort gave me goosebumps . He was damn quick and never trundled around the track like Button does sometimes .

        Nico is super quick and technical . Why do I get the feeling that the pressure is on Hamilton this race ? I don’t know . I saw an interview where he says the team and nico learnt a lot of new things from his race in Malaysia . So maybe the edge is gone , Nico is on pole . So yeah . Pressure back on Lewis . This battle is going to be interesting to watch .

    • Paul Ogbeiwi (@pauldstar) said on 6th April 2014, 8:44

      +1 Not one for conspiracies; but the way these “Prost” labels keep popping up with all of lewis’ team mates shows that no one is willing to admit or even consider lewis being an intelligent driver. If Hamilton teams up with Hulkenburg/Vettel/Raikkonen/Magnussen/Ricciardo, I would not be surprised if they are called “Prost” at some point. What’s also sad is, if Lewis convincingly beats Nico this year, will he be called prost? For sure, I won’t hold my breathe.

      • DD42 said on 6th April 2014, 9:12

        If Mercedes are to dominate like mclaren did in 88 it would be great for the fans if Ham and Nico developed a rivalry like Senna and Prosts.

        I’d like to see more rivalry between the top guys, there doesn’t seem to have been any real hatered since maybe Massa and Hamilton in 2011 and that was settled by the end of the year anyway. Obviously they can’t all hate each other it would be rediculously dangerous but if there were a few major rivalries it could make things interesting

    • Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo) said on 6th April 2014, 10:44

      Jackie does do a tremendous job of lending his opinion on every single up coming subject.

      Why can’t these drivers forge their own legacy instead of being partnered with the ‘old greats’. I have every respect for past drivers and their daring achievements but just let these guys create their own reputation, everyone’s skill set is different.

      I couldn’t imagine pairing Alonso with any one of the past, he’s the definition of his own man. Many a driver comes across in the same way. Just because Hamilton idolises Senna doesn’t mean he’s like him…

  9. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 6th April 2014, 7:16

    Wolff is completely correct. As Hamilton said in one of the articles linked in yesterday’s round up, Luca di Monte didn’t complain when Schumacher waltzed his way to 5 titles in a row. Horner wasn’t complaining as Vettel sailed serenely to 4 titles on the bounce. If Ferrari and Red Bull are really are what they say they are (the best teams in the sport), they should be focusing on turning their form round on track. Mercedes played the long game, targeting a major gain when the rules where reset at the end of last season, and it paid off. They deserve their wins and plaudits this year as much as Red Bull did over the last four years or Ferrari did in their early naughties zenith.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 6th April 2014, 9:07

      Luca was complaining a lot during those years. Difference was that at the time they had their veto and influence on the decisions in other ways. They way they bullied the FIA to go against their own stewards to declare the Michelins illegal mid season was one of the lowest points of F1 history. Glad that whole Fiarari era ended when they tried to pull their veto card on the budget cap.

    • Psychotext (@textuality) said on 6th April 2014, 9:29

      That’s not technically true. Horner has complained about loads of things over the last four years.

      He’s a lot louder this year… though that might be because more people are poking him for a response on why Red Bull are struggling.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 6th April 2014, 10:20

        He did, you are right, but he only complained when his team was at threat (or so he felt). The Double Decker Diffuser saga, the blown diffuser rows and the tyre debate being the ones that spring to mind.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th April 2014, 11:43

      I must say i liked a certain Joe’s view on it @geemac.

      True enough, @textuality, Horner was complaining about the tyres when they were not winning on them, he was complaining about being investigated for dodgy fuel maps and flexi wings before, because that could hurt his team etc.

  10. LAK (@lak) said on 6th April 2014, 9:00

    Thaaanks @keithcollantine and @willwood for the Birthday shout out! ;) I’m extra lucky this year because I get to attend a race on my Birthday! #thankful ;)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th April 2014, 11:45

      Happy birthday, and I hope you have a great day. Sure enough your favorite driver has a good shot of winning if he beats his teammate to it today. But most importantly, have a great time watching a race that promises to be as exciting as last year’s Bahrain GP @lak

  11. Sam (@) said on 6th April 2014, 10:10

    There are ALWAYS going to be teams complaining and some that are happy. Saying that makes them sore losers is just sad because when the rules are no longer in the winner his favour also he would join the moaners. Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren they all want to win and WILL moan if they don’t. Don’t act like any team is any different about it.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th April 2014, 11:47

      Well, but it DOES make them sore losers @ardenflo. Just no different sore losers than Ferrari (for the last decade almost), Mercedes (at times last year), and all the others who lost their advantage through either rule changes or other teams getting the better of them at their own game.

  12. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 6th April 2014, 10:34

    I kind of agree with Stewart. Lewis seems to be on one of his mercurial rolls, but Rosberg is just relentlessly diligent and yesterday digged and digged until he found the means to counter Lewis’ one-lap pace advantage from the free practices.

  13. Coco (@coco46) said on 6th April 2014, 11:31

    First of all I want to say hi to everyone. I read this forum a lot and must say I enjoy the technical and intelligent discussions where people’s opinion are respected unlike in skysports forum for example, where you are being blindly attacked should one criticize Hamilton. I must admit I am not a fan of his, as through inheritance I am a ferrari and Schumacher fan. Now kimi fan. But I believe I can look past my prejudice. I think this discussion here is a good place for me to express my ideas. While I understand toto and he is right, no team should be penalized for doing a good job and fair play to them. However I want to raise an issue. How many of you will not like to change a single thing about f1 today? I am particularly worried about this endurance way which the sport has taken. It is particularly ironic given that it is relatively short race so we end up with an oxymoron of a short term endurance championship. My other pickle is with the engines. And I don’t mean sound (although I am not very happy about that). I mean this branding of the engines as revolutionary etc. what is so revolutionary about hybrid technology? It has been on the marker for decades.
    Plus given that there is a freeze there is little room for development. My worry is that f1 has isolated itself from real world relevance due to these restrictions. There hasn’t been a revolutionary development that has found its place in real world since traction control in 2005. My idea is therefore if f1 and FIA want to peruse this greener racing they should do by giving engineers more freedom. Limit fuel (not fuel flow) and say use this to get to the end in any way you wish. V6 v8 v12 anything. This will produce more efficient and relevant technologies as for me at the moment the new engines are just a marketing trick and brand image exercise. Thanks for your time.

    • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 7th April 2014, 12:37

      Hi Coco.

      I am particularly worried about this endurance way which the sport has taken.

      Personally, I don’t think it really has. F1 has always had a strong strategic element to it. A driver/team which could get around the same performance from the car using less fuel didn’t have to carry as much weight. Drivers/teams needed to manage their tyres, and look after their engines, etc. I think that, although their importance has increased over the last few years (and it is the last few, not just this season), the main change is people’s perceptions. People are now much more aware of it, and it seems to be all people talk about when it comes to F1 now.

      My other pickle is with the engines… I mean this branding of the engines as revolutionary etc. what is so revolutionary about hybrid technology?

      It is not hybrid technology which is revolutionary. It is the extent and performance of this hybrid technology. If you consider a few facts: These power units produce approximately the same amount of power as last year’s engines. However, over 20% of that comes from the electric parts. The cars are at very close to the same performance as last year (slower, but much of this comes from tyres and downforce), which using a third less fuel. The engines are turbo-charges, but clever electronics has all but elliminated one of the main problems with turbo engines: turbo lag. All in, the engines power units are revolutionary, pushing the boundaries of “hybrid technology”, just as F1 has done with petrol engines in the past, and this technology will trickle down into road cars, improving things for us all (eventually).

      My idea is therefore if f1 and FIA want to peruse this greener racing they should do by giving engineers more freedom

      While this would be my dream formula, it will not happen, for one main reason: Cost.

      Let’s take the current engines as an example. If FIA had set the limit to just 1.6l, but you could use any configuration you wanted, we could have had I4s, V6s, V8s… just about anything. One (or maybe 2) would turn out to be the best configuration(s). Therefore, anyone who had invested in a different configuration would have thrown money down the drain. In a sport where so many teams are on the brink of bankruptcy, this would likely have destroyed some of them.

      As I said, I would fully support a much more open formula. I am an engineer, and would love to see them be able to push technology to it’s very limits. Unfortunately, the expense involved makes this unsuitable (at present) for F1.

  14. JohnBt (@johnbt) said on 6th April 2014, 12:04

    The only change we will get will be the fuel saving if anything. Just need to watch racers go flat out as much as possible. Tyres have already improved so it’s fine. Remove double points too. The two areas I’d love to see changed, is that asking too much.

    Cars are too slow this year, especially on the turns and that’s really not F1.
    Engine change is totally out as Renault says there is nothing you can do.

    And please don’t remind us F1 is going green when it’s not at all.

  15. Thanks for the Comment of the Day – nice surprise!

    I agree with those above who are fed up with the constant Senna and Prost comparisons with Hamilton and [insert current team-mate]. Hamilton is his own person, he is not Senna. It basically seems that if a driver is quick, ragged and prone to incident he is classified as a ‘Senna’, whereas if a driver is methodical, they become a ‘Prost’.

    There were great drivers before Senna and Prost of a similar mindset, so why do we always end up comparing to these two!? Hamilton is a World Champion in his own right and Rosberg a race winner, they shouldn’t have another driver’s personality thrust upon them to satisfy the media. (I’m aware that Lewis has sometimes himself noted comparisons with Senna!)

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