Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014

Mercedes prepared to impose orders if necessary

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff says he may have to impose team orders on his drivers if they come under threat from their rivals.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Mercedes may review team orders policy (BBC)

Toto Wolff: “Our rule is that the competition is enemy number one, not your team-mate, so there might be situations in the race where you have to consider that, but we will see what happens.”

New push to make F1 more spectacular (Autosport)

“[The proposals] include standing starts after safety cars, a potential reduction in race length, and the green light for higher technology to be used in pit stops to cut the time even further.”

Bernie Ecclestone launches defence against bribery charges (The Guardian)

“In a statement to court, he said: ‘The alleged bribery never happened. The prosecution’s claims are based on statements by Dr [Gerhard] Gribkowsky which are wrong, misleading and inconclusive.'”

Ecclestone rejects bribery charges in German court (The Telegraph)

“Before his lawyers spoke, the prosecution outlined their case, reading out the 24-page charge sheet while Ecclestone followed an English translation. The alleged bribes were made between July 2006 and December 2007.”

Graeme Lowdon concedes Formula One is on the brink of being seen as a failure if cost measures aren’t introduced (Daily Mail)

“If Formula One cannot achieve [cost controls], when other sports can, it would be seen as some kind of failure. Why should this be a step beyond its ability? For me it makes no sense.”

Long Beach City Council approves three-year contract extension for Grand Prix (Press-Telegram)

“IndyCars will continue to zoom along Shoreline Drive each spring until at least 2018. The City Council voted 8-0 Tuesday to approve a three-year contract extension for the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, which runs the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.”


Comment of the day

Some thoughts on applications for F1’s new technology beyond road cars:

I think it’s important to see F1 technology trickle down into real world applications as it is a venue to showcase automotive and technological innovation. I think a prime example is the new lot of super cars using hybrid power. Love it or hate it, given increased pressure on governments to regulate emissions and fleet economy figures – high performance hybrid technology is the future. Manufacturers should be drawn to this.

But reading the above, it is also fascinating to see that governments are encouraging this technology in heavy industry. I can see hybrid technology paired with turbo diesel engine being increasingly valuable in heavy industry.

Perhaps the naysayers concerned about the new hybrid f1 cars should look at the bigger picture. F1 is on the cutting edge with these new regulations – the formula needs to continue to evolve so as to stay in touch and shape the automotive current.


Carlos Sainz Jnr, Alex Lynn, Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Ring, 2014

Red Bull have trimmed back their Junior Team squad from six to three this year.

Antonio Felix da Costa has moved on to the DTM and Daniil Kvyat arrived in F1 with Toro Rosso. Tom Blomqvist, Callan O’Keefe and Beitske Visser all lost their places on the squad.

With Carlos Sainz Jnr the only driver remaining from this time 12 months ago he has been joined by Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion Pierre Gasly and last year’s Formula Three Macau Grand Prix winner Alex Lynn.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Andrewf1!

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

Today’s a good day to be born if you’re an aspiring racing driver: Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne and Giedo van der Garde were all born on this day. They are 33, 24 and 29 respectively.

Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Samo Vidic

103 comments on “Mercedes prepared to impose orders if necessary”

    1. Autosport are really good at reporting everything, and by doing so, they usually get the drop on alot of news stories. Sometimes though, Autosport reports on unsubstantiated rumours, or in this case, taking a snippet of a “meeting to discuss the state of Formula 1″ and wildly speculating on some of the outlandish claims being made.
      On the other hand, Bernie still does run the sport, so who knows. lol

    2. They really are awful. Why on Earth would a standing start be fair or reasonable? Drivers already lose out by having to bunch up and sometimes lose a strategy advantage (Hamilton in Bahrain). Why compound it by making passes even more likely, incidents far more likely, and essentially give the race a restart with reduced number of laps when there’s no need for it? May as well enforce that every 10 laps and not even wait for the safety car if you’re determined to arbitrarily add spectacle anyway.

    3. The situation is serious, instead of sniping from the sidelines you should be trying to help. I have an idea that works well and is inexpensive, a piece of plastic or cardboard is attached to the suspension in a location where it will be hit by the wheel spokes as the wheel turns generating the sound of a powerful engine, more ideas like this could transform F1.

      1. That would certainly evoke some memories for me – I used to think that was a fantastic sound! Spent hours tuning via the thickness of the cardboard too……….

  1. The proposals to make F1 more spectacular are like double points the answer to a question that nobody is asking & does nothing about the other issues F1 needs to sort out.

    How about focusing on what actually needs fixing? Making the cars more able to race closely (Without needing gimmicks), Better distribution of the vast amounts of cash which F1 rakes in, Ensuring larger/heavier drivers are not penalized & having to starve themselfs to meet the weight limits to name a few.

    The main focus should be on the racing, Thats why people watch & why people keep watching. A good race won’t be made better by adding visual spectacle & its certainly not going to make a bad race more interesting.

    I’m not really against any of these things been a part of F1, If the cars spark & brake discs glow then fine but I think spending time thinking about how to do these things in these ‘strategy meetings’ is a complete waste of time & takes the focus away from the more important areas which these people should be focusing on. These things should be the afterthought not the main ideas.

    As to the other things,
    A standing SC restart is a ridiculous idea. You may as well just ditch the SC & bring out the red flag like the old days.
    Likewise shorter races, Whats the point of that? Its something which most fans have said repeatedly in the past that they are against.
    More technology in the pit stops, Again why is that been put forward as a main focus?

    1. “[The proposals] include standing starts after safety cars, a potential reduction in race length, and the green light for higher technology to be used in pit stops to cut the time even further.”

      I don’t like the reduction in race length but the two others make sense.
      Robots doing the pit stops instead of regular people: why not? It’s a crazy idea, but it may be safer than the situation we have right now with loose wheels being dangerous for the pit crews.
      Standing starts after safety cars is bit trickier, but if I had to choose between double points and this, I would go for this. It’s spectacular (starts are the most thrilling IMO) and less artificial than double points.

    2. Agreed. And sparks, wing vorticies, and fake sounds for the sake of making it look flashy cheapens the sport. The very thought shows the show is being run by people who don’t watch the show.

  2. I sometimes impose team orders on my wife when she tries to beat me into the bathroom in the morning, or to the remote control after work to watch some awful TV program. It’s a sign of a healthy organizational structure.

    1. @chaddy I’ve tried that too, but my wife just blatantly ignores the orders. Last week she told me “tough luck”. I’m thinking of replacing her with Felipe Massa, although I’ve heard he is less compliant than he used to be I’m pretty confident I could beat him to the bathroom anyway.

  3. “[The proposals] include standing starts after safety cars, a potential reduction in race length, and the green light for higher technology to be used in pit stops to cut the time even further.”

    To be honest, I don’t think that would be such a bad idea, actually.

    Standing starts are usually the most exciting part of the race.

    1. Ditch the rest of it then. Have a standing start every other lap. All drivers cross the line at the end of lap 1 and have to maintain that order during lap 2, circulating in formation as at the start. They then take their grid slots at the end of lap 2. A normal start takes places again and they commence on lap 3. Repeat throughout the race. There you have ‘excitement’, up to 40 times over.

    2. What is it going to solve? If they want to do a standing start, they could just dump the whole SC thing and have the cars stop on the grid in the first place (i.e. throw a red flag). That would make recovery of whatever is dangerous on track far easier, and solves things like pitstops during SC.

      But it does not make this a good idea at all. The SC was invented for a purpose – having the cars go round instead of stopping the race – and that will only be hurt by this idea.

      Making races shorter is going the wrong way around too. And speeding up pitstops even more? How far under 2 seconds do we want to go? Will we then have to get a slowed down replay of each pitstop to actually see what went on? Instead they should slow them down, use less crew and make them do one side or one axle at a time. Would be safer (bit more time means a tad less risk of driving away before everything’s in place), could save cost because of lowering the amount of people a team brings and does nothing to hurt racing or make it just for show.

      1. I think the one thing they should do is develop ways of creating artificial noise. An electric car went past me the other week and it was like a ghost. I could easily have stepped backwards into it’s path. Electric cars need to make a noise otherwise many will be injured or killed.

    3. It’s only exciting at the beginning of the race. Reintroducing standing start after a safety car is asking for trouble. Cold, worn tyres, and everybody will become a Maldonado.

  4. I hope Mercedes hold their nerve and let their drivers race, even if the competition does catch up. I can understand team orders in situations where one driver comes out of the pits just behind the other on old tyres, but even then you cannot expect a driver to wave his main title rival by so that he can go out and score some more points. As soon as one of its drivers is mathematically out of the title fight, then team orders are fine, but my (terribly naive?) opinion is that team orders should not interfere with the title fight between its two drivers (even if other driver are also in the title fight).

    1. @adrianmorse This particular fight might be helped by a prolonged period of Mercedes dominance. If Mercedes can pull so far ahead that the risk of their drivers taking each other out still won’t dent their chances of winning both championships anyway then they may have a low enough risk to let them get on with their own battle. If the gap is fragile then they may be inclined to take the cautious approach which we often see even when there is early season dominance.

    2. @adrianmorse Pragmatically team orders are almost always okay in my eyes. It’s easy to sit at home each season, spend no more than a couple hundred pounds on F1 and then dispute team orders. However, the key to resolving any issue is to fully understand both sides’ perspectives, hence my agreement with team orders.
      The cars are worth hundreds of thousands of Pounds, each top 10 constructor spot literally worth $40m or something ridiculous. I know if I was a team boss, or company CEO I’d rather have the money than a ‘fight’ for the fans which in real terms might cost me north of $50million…
      One coin, two sides.

      1. @timi, money is important, of course (though not as important to Mercedes as it is to, say, Sauber), but I think having both drivers in the championship fight is a crucial difference. Last year during the German GP, Hamilton came out of the pits behind Rosberg who was on older tyres. Hamilton was not able to pass on his own, and (eventually) the call came from the pit wall to let Lewis through. Last year, I thought that call was fine; Rosberg was not in the championship fight, and Lewis barely.

        This year, though, I think if the same situation would arise again it should be “tough luck” for the driver behind ;-) Btw, on grandprix247.com Lauda was said to disagree with “Toto and Paddy”, and was quoted as saying “They (Hamilton and Rosberg) are racing drivers. Leave them alone, unless they hit. Which they won’t.”

        PS, I don’t have Sky Sports so I spend a lot less than a few hundred pounds on F1 :-)

      2. @timi Without the paying fans you refer to F1 would not exist as sponsors would not have any return on their investment of being involved in the sport. It should all be about the show for the fans and anything else, extreme case being Austria 02, is an insult to the viewers who are the reason these teams and drivers get to do what they love and become filthy rich at the same time.

        I understand that team orders are necessary at times, but for me that should be only when everyone, the fans, the team, including the very driver who is affected negatively by the order, understands that it is simply mathematically the sensible thing to do. So because it should be about the math I will always struggle with team orders that come early in the season. Ideally for me team orders should never be needed. They certainly, imho, shouldn’t be applied early in the season when there is so much math yet to be revealed, and once the math makes sense that one driver has the better WDC shot, it should be common sense out of sportsmanship and teamwork that the driver that does not have the shot not interfere with his teammate who does.

        1. @robbie, but you must take into account the huge penalty the marshmallow tyres impose on any driver actually racing, teams have to organise neat and tidy passing between their drivers in order for both drivers to be able to continue to circulate at their delta speed. & @adrianmorse to explain my earlier comment.

          1. @hohum Hmmm…I think that comment would have made more sense to me last year, not this year. Didn’t seem like NR and LH had any trouble racing each other without ruining their tires. And if you were to actually take it as far as no pit stops, my goodness those would have to be some pretty tough and slippery tires.

            Anyway….feels like we are going off on a tangent. Team orders are not going to go away for most teams most of the time, as long as it is a two-car-per-team format, and so while we are going off on tangents, imho the only true way to get rid of team orders would be to go to single-car team’s and every man for himself out on the track.

          2. @robbie, you mean LH and NR at Bahrain I presume, but that racing took place after a safety car with less than 10 laps to race and both on new tyres, to my mind that is pro my argument, not anti. China ? Vettel and Alonso, I’ll say no more.

          3. @hohum That’s a fair enough observation, but I’m still not sure where this is going, other than a conversation about tires lasting long enough to eliminate pit stops which would eliminate team orders in your opinion.

            I think so much would change going this way, and the issue as to how that would affect team orders goes much deeper too.

    1. That’s a good idea for most “new” circuits as there are few fans attending any way. Bring back good old tracks as Kyalami, Long Beach, Donington…. I wouldn’t mind that Jersy track as a matter of fact.

  5. I’m actually all for the improvements listed on that Autosport article. Only one I hate is the idea of reducing the race length.

    What on earth is that going to achieve?

    I always liked the sparks, so I see zero wrong with reintroducing them.

    The vapour trails also look pretty cool in the damp weather, and might help new fans understand some of the difficulties in overtaking (which, y’know, is a problem in itself, to be fair).

    And I look the standing starts after safety car periods, but it begs the question – why not just a red flag?!

    We’d lose less laps, get rid of the lapped cars, and we can crack on!

    1. The vapour trails also look pretty cool in the damp weather, and might help new fans understand some of the difficulties in overtaking.

      So how are they going to create vapour trails if their existence depends on the weather?? Also this means even more drag which will make cars more inefficient and fuel thirsty, completely against the current F1 philosophy.

      I also think the sparks are cool but if that means they will shorten races and lengthen the restart of a race even more than what they do now, then I’m not interested.

    2. Seriously? Maybe each car could drop little bombs out the back too, like Mario Karts or something.

      The kind of people who get a kick out of sparks are most likely the same people who have turned away from F1 because ‘it’s not loud enough anymore’. Surely a car throwing out sparks from underneath is a sign that it’s not performing at optimum.
      Vapour trails are nice but they’re like a great sunrise – a natural occurrence – trying to make them happen cheapens it.

      1. “Vapour trails are nice but they’re like a great sunrise – a natural occurrence – trying to make them happen cheapens it.”

        Cheapening it seems to be the object of all these “meetings”. Fox Sports about 15 years ago used to overlay graphics over the pucks during hockey games. When the puck would get shot it would turn into this long streaking comet. Would be easy to lay some vapor trails on the cars as well as flames erupting from the exhaust.

    3. Sparks, glowing brakes and vapour trails are all fine and cool, as long as they occur naturally based on the best engineering design. Reintroducing them artificially would just make me sigh every time i see them. If they decide to lower the ride height and that produces more sparks, that’s ok (as long as ride height reduction also improved the racing), but if teams are forced to have a sticky-outy-bit just to cause sparks then it’s not for me anyway. I have the same feeling towards artificially enhancing the engine sounds.

      Standing starts after a safety car completely negates the need for a safety car in the first place, just red flag and start again. That will mean a longish break period, mechanics back on the grid, and is just a further lottery element which is already introduced to some extent when the safety car comes out. If they’re going to change something with the SC rules i’d rather they did something about the backmarkers, maybe let them fall to the back of the queue rather than lapping back round to get there. I appreciate that gives them some benefit with fuel saving but if there is going to be a minimum of 5 laps behind the safety car anyway then the chances are fuel saving will not be an issue.

  6. And oh yeah.

    Toto. I really don’t know what to make of this guy.

    One minute he talks sense, the next he comes out with a load of PR tosh that I heavily disagree with.

    He was loving it when he was being stroked on the head for allowing his cars to race. Now suddenly he has completely retreated and gone against what the team had bullishly stated in regards to team orders.

    Looks a little silly, to me.

    1. He was only saying that they might consider it if they’re under threat from their rivals. What’s not to understand? No team would risk their drivers colliding with each other when rivals are breathing down their neck.

    2. As JackJ said, it comes down to the advantage they have at a given track; if Mercedes is able to run away from the pack at 2 seconds/lap as in Bahrain after the SC, then there’s no problem, since the drivers can race each other without fear that the 3rd place driver will catch up and overtake.

      I’d want the same thing as well (as a team principal or whatever management role he has). The racing fan in me wants the opposite, but it’s just the reality of F1.

  7. I’m chiming in on the notion which compares the battle of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg this year to those of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988 and 1989.

    Assuming Hamilton will continue to get the better of Rosberg on a regular basis is kid of a frightening idea at first, but then I became curious and looked at how many times Senna has beaten Prost in a McLaren 1-2 during those two years (and vice versa, of course).

    The outcome is shattering as Senna led home Prost an astonishing 11 times when they were teammates, compared to a rather meager 3 times when Prost got the upper hand in a 1-2 finish. (And one of them even came after the championship was already decided.)

    Technical failures, driver errors or pure bad luck struck a lot of times for Senna and who knows, it might still be tight between Hamilton and Rosberg this year, even if Hamilton remains out-and-out quicker for a long time.

    1. Right now it’s starting to look like 2004, with Barrichello up there thanks to the car, but lconstantly slower than his champion teammates.

      In Australia, Hamilton took pole and his engine broke down. In Malasya, Hamilton beat Rosberg by quite a bit. In Bahrain, Rosberg had DRS and faster tyres, and couldnt make any pass stick. In China, he was out qualified by both Red Bulls and lost 3 positions by the time he got through T1.

      1. I think you couldn’t be more wrong. NR handled MS just fine. Barrichello did not. This is the first time NR has had this level of car. The season is so young. You are not giving the man a chance. You make it sound like he should be lagging LH by 30 points.

        1. You are the one who is wrong. I’m not comparing NR-MS, young talent vs old retired champion. I’m comparing MS-RB and LH-NR. So far LH has shown to be out of NR’s league, just like MS was out of RB’s. The only reason LH is 4 points behind NR in the standings is because of Australia, where he could easily have finished 2nd.

          1. I know what comparison you are trying to make, and I disagree with it in that I think NR is way closer to LH than you are giving him credit for and than RB ever was to MS. And one of the hints of that is how NR was able to deal both psychologically and physically with having MS as a teammate.

            As you say, SO FAR LH has been the stronger of the two and if it weren’t for Australia LH would appear even more dominant. Yet NR is sitting just fine points wise and for the first time in his career he has the car to answer to LH, and the team and cars are evolving, so all I’m saying is give the lad and his side of the garage time and I’m also saying he is way way better vs LH than RB ever was to MS and there is no comparison.

        2. I think you couldn’t be more wrong. NR handled MS just fine. Barrichello did not.

          Oh Please.

          Nico Rosberg “handled” a geriatric Michael Schumacher who’d returned to F1 in his 40s, after several YEARS out of the cockpit (during which time the sport evolved relentlessly – while MS did not).

          NR didn’t defeat MS on parity, to the degree that he defeated/”handled” him at all.

          OP’s point stands: Nico Rosberg is the equivalent of Rubens Barrichello in 2004 vis-a-vis their respective team leaders.

    2. Getting back to second was important for Rosberg. If he can just keep himself in the right place at the right time like Prost he will have a good chance at it. Never underestimate the effect the post Monaco breakup will have on Hamilton.

      1. Really, what are you talking about? The last time that LH and his girlfriend broke up, Hamilton totally dominated the Hungarian GP, from pole. Maybe you should buy less into what the ‘Mirror’ tells you to think?

          1. yeah, I remember it, because there were various comments saying he would now not be able to focus, etc. Then, he won from pole. it stuck in my mind that many ‘truths’ are actually just invented by the media, and it is often, if not always better, to deal with actual facts.

    3. @atticus-2 – You make 88-9 sound more one-sided than it was. Alain Prost was a truly great racing driver, and although he was normally unable to answer Ayrton in qualifying, in the race his speed, consistency and intelligence saw him beat Senna comprehensively on a number of ocassions. Yes, Senna would have won both the titles during their partnership had reliablity and FISA been kinder on his side of the garage, but you must remember that Ayrton was Honda’s unofficially preferred driver…

      In terms of the Hamilton-Rosberg dynamic, yes it is very similar to the Senna-Prost dynamic, although obviously neither Hamilton and Rosberg are as good as their legendary forebears. Personally, if Hamilton is Senna, then, on the evidence of the past three races, I’m not sure Rosberg is good enough to be Prost. Alain was seldom beaten on his strongest tracks, he also made very few mistakes, Ayrton probably made more driving errors than Prost during their partnership, but Hamilton’s very few errors this year have not cost him any points.

      1. you are correct it was not that one side, especially at the start of 1988. You point out that Senna was favoured by Honda, Senna was new to McLaren whereas Prost was the default McLaren preferred driver as he had been there since 1984 and had won 2 titles there, one could say it was his team. One could also say the Prost was Balestre’s unofficial favourite :) Prost was hindered also by the fact only the 11 best results counted for the championship which suited Senna’s ‘win or bust’ style and whereas Prost was more famed for his managing of his races and his ability to score points by nursing home a car with a mechanical problem

        1. You make an excellent point in that the number of drop scores did not suit Prost’s methodical style, but I doubt it would have overturned the numerous flashes of driving magic we saw from Ayrton in 1988-9; and as we learnt in Brazil ’91, Senna is not bad at nursing a poorly car home either. But have you not heard of Honda’s preferential treatment to Senna? Senna was hugely popular in Japan, a megastar by all accounts, and many McLaren engineers, including even Ramirez, admitted that Ayrton was often given special prototype engine components, which surely had their effect in some of the qualifying sessions where Senna was a second or more faster than a driver as good as Prost. That said, because the components weren’t rolled out onto both cars, they were prototypes, and surely had an effect on Senna’s poor reliability record versus his teammate…

          1. @william-brierty: Ayrton was often given special prototype engine components, which surely had their effect in some of the qualifying sessions where Senna was a second or more faster than a driver as good as Prost.

            Please provide citations to reliable sources that document this and confirm what you claim – otherwise this is fantastical speculation w/o evidence, just to make apologies for Prost whilst slandering Senna!

  8. Alex Lynn doesn’t deserve to be a red bull driver and Sainz junior has been cradled by Red Bull, gone are the times the programme was about charity the only real opportunity for talented people, now people seem to pay more interest in being in the company of red bull rather than having someone that believes in you.

    1. It think it’s more important that Red Bull found a way to gather an army of future champions under it wings. Ferrari haven’t done that (Kimi, Alonso, Michael, Massa….) and I just hope that Bianchi would end up at scuderia in descent time. And we all know what happened to Perez. I wasn’t refering to you Mister @sergio-perez :)

    2. @peartree – Even though I completely disagree about Lynn, he has excellent next generation potential (as you can see from the Macau clip that @sergio-perez posted), I can’t help but agree about the Red Bull Young Driver Programme. Apart from Gasly and Lynn, they are currently supporting the wrong drivers, and have been for some years now (Buemi, Blomqvist and now Mardenborough come to mind). I particularly hate the way they are playing trial and error with people’s careers in the hope of randomly finding another Vettel or Ricciardo, instead of more selectively picking out the megastars, like McLaren did with Vandoorne and Magnussen, or Ferrari with Marciello. And it is a programme littered with knee-jerk decisions. Sainz is gauranteed the 2014 FR3.5 title because he is a second year driver with a DAMS car with little real competition, thus putting him in an excellent position to take Vergne’s place if his pace does not improve, whereas Da Costa, who is quite obviously more talented than Carlos, is destined for DTM/testing obscurity, simply because Arden failed to get their head round the FR3.5 car in 2013. It is clear to all, but clearly not to the Programme in question, that Da Costa is more deserving of Vergne’s seat than Sainz, and yet guess what will happen…

      It is this blind focus on results and not circumstance that have ruined the career of not only Da Costa, but also of Algersuari through blatantly premature promotion. If the Red Bull Young Driver Programme wasn’t handing out money and F1 drives, you could reasonably say that it is the Iago to any successful junior career’s Othello…

        1. …and his name, it certainly helped Bruno Senna, Nelson Piquet Jnr and above all Michael Andretti. I didn’t about the Spanish sponsor, so thank you, although you’d like to imagine that a multi-billion pound corporation like Red Bull wouldn’t need pay drivers in it programme, although Toro Rosso and series’ entry fees don’t pay for themselves… @deej92

  9. “[The proposals] include standing starts after safety cars, a potential reduction in race length, and the green light for higher technology to be used in pit stops to cut the time even further.”

    To be honest, if they really want excitement on the restart, they would go for a double-file rolling restart. It was trialled last year in the V8 Supercars, for the restart after ‘half-time’ in the 60/60 format (they raced 60km, then everyone came into the pit for 15 minutes, then they resumed with a double-file rolling start). I think it was quite successful for the races they tried it at, and they were originally going to implement it for all safety car restarts but canned this idea due to carnage concerns…

    I think it would be quite a spectacle in F1 and a lot less hassle than having everyone form up on the grid again. But by the same token I would still prefer to see F1 remain as is, because I (as do many here) believe there is no need to ‘add excitement’ to the restarts anyway…

  10. I’d love to meet the man (or men) that are pushing for shorter races. Just to analyse their logic. It must really be one of a kind, because for the love of god I cannot even start to understand it.

    How would 30 laps races be better than 60? I’m not saying 60 is better, but why shorter races MUST be better? If the sport isn’t spectacular enough (be it cars not overtaking each other, or a team marching ahead of the pack with ease), a shorter race brings absolutely NO SOLUTION to any kind of problem the sport might have.

    Seriously. The only thing shorter races do is make the same product, but small. Like a can of Coke instead of a bottle. It’s just Coke, but you can drink less. And I don’t know, but I doubt publicity is rated the same if it’s shown for shorter times…

    1. The idea is that a shorter race under the current fuel-flow rules will allow them to run richer mixes and push harder. It won’t work, but that’s the logic – the idea has only ever been persistently pedalled by Ferrari who’ve consistently had thirstier engines that the opposition.

      1. @optimaximal

        You’re right, it wouldn’t work at all. The fuel saving issues of this year have been overblown so far, and it appears most teams won’t even use the full 100kg of fuel at the majority of races. So if race distances were halved, teams would just use 40 or 45kg of fuel if that was the best strategy for them.

        Not to mention how grossly unfair it would be to make such a huge chance now that the engines and cars have been designed. This is a change that would have to be planned years in advance.

  11. I definitely now think that, when a Toro Rosso driver gets axed, it will be Carlos Sainz Jr. taking the seat, not Antonio Felix da Costa. I wouldn’t say that AFC has absolutely no chance but… having gone to the DTM, F1 is a little bit farther away than it was before. My opinion.

    1. JPQ, the fact that AFC joined DTM doesn’t hurt his chances of joining F1 in the future.
      DTM races won’t clash with F1 weekends. He will be available for the FP sessions and to replace any first driver from RBR whenever one of them can’t drive.
      At least that’s my view, fingers crossed.
      AFC is immensely talented, lets trust his judgement!

  12. I don’t think that the strategy group ideas are all completely nonsense. For those saying about the standing start meaning that they may as well red flag the race, there are a couple of issues with that – firstly obviously being what would you do if the track obstruction was on the start/finish straight; obviously it’d be impossible to stop the cars on the grid. In fact, even if it wasn’t you still need the safety car to lead the cars round through the safe line where the obstruction sits, if it’s on the track. The second, and much bigger issue, is that if you stop an F1 car for a number of minutes then things start to go wrong. Engines need to be switched off, tryes get cold, brakes get cold (or cause heatsoak and burst into flames) – having the cars behind the safety car keeps them running and allows them to be ready to go when the track is clear again. In principle this works well – you’d have the cars behind the safety car until the track is clear, then have the safety car peel off to allow the cars a single warm-up lap, after which they form up on the grid and wait for the lights. I can see that working pretty well. Only issue being that you’re a lot more likely to see another incident immediately following the restart. It would be a bit ridiculous if you saw multiple safety car incidents because cars kept crashing on the restart. The rolling start is the safer restart procedure. Though the standing start is definitely more exciting.

    With regards to making the cars more visually spectacular, I think it’s a fine idea really. You can create vortices from the back of wings pretty easily, it’s simply the current designs which prevent it. There’s nothing specifically inefficient about it, but you would run the risk of creating more turbulent air in doing so. Placing titanum skids in line with the plank would be the work of a moment and would provide sparks – the cars already hit the floor all the time anyway. You’d just have to find a way of ensuring that it doesn’t prevent the plank from wearing through when the car is running too low.

    By far the most interesting idea is the return of active hydraulic suspension, which I think is another brilliant idea. It’ll be significantly cheaper and less technically complex than the current hydraulic FRIC setups being used by most teams, and could be a standard homologated part mandated alongside the SECU, to eliminate an ‘invisible’ area of costly development. It’d also allow for more accurate airflow control underneath the car, meaning we could go back to more useful ground effect. Something which generally allows cars to run more closely together as it causes (and is less sensitive to) less turbulent air. It’s one of the reasons why Le Mans prototypes can run nose to tail despite having just as much (more in some cases) downforce as F1 cars.

    I don’t think there’s really much to be said negatively about most of the things being proposed. F1 does need to make massive changes, and the hybrid engines they’re using this year are just the start.

  13. Is it me or does the guy to the right of the red bull car look like he is about 3 ft tall? No wonder Hulkenberg can’t get a drive in a top car if the junior programmes are full of these guys!

  14. I’m fine with titanium skid blocks, I’m fine with glowing brakes (provided it doesn’t hamper adversely development in that area), and I’m fine with vapour trails (provided it doesn’t significantly reduce aerodynamic efficiency – that would be a backward step in creating more turbulent cars).

    The shorter races make sense provided they do not therefore decrease the durability of the tyres further also.

    But standing starts after safety cars is stupid – that just wastes even more time along with the unlapping rule. They should be more concerned about scrapping it, or devising a way of them simply dropping to the back of the field instead of having to do at least a whole other tour of the track. Pit stop technology I’m not too sure of either, as I think that may remove the human element or cause more instances of human error because of the decreased times, which I don’t want to see from a safety aspect and because of the incredibly harsh penalties which ruin the races.

    So, essentially, I am all for active suspension and titanium skid blocks in tandem. But, aerodynamic grip needs to be reduced in order for that to work (I suggest removal of front wings completely/single plane wings and more onus on underfloor aerodynamics).

    I’m all for glowing brakes, as long as we don’t end up with them being overly simplistic.

    I’m all for vapour trails, as long as they do not drastically affect aerodynamic efficiency and cause an even greater problem with turbulence.

    Shortening the races to a minimum of 200km would be fine, provided they do not go to extremes with tyres to balance that.

    Standing starts after safety cars is stupid. It wastes too much time, is yet another unfair handicap on the justly leading drivers on alternative strategies and I don’t imagine will contribute too much to the spectacle over a normal safety car re-start.

    Pit stop technology could lead to mesmerisingly fast pit-stops, but I do quite like the “man and his gun” philosophy and if it comes with the consequence of more costly errors occurring I do not support it. They are good enough as they are anyway.

    Though if I may, I am going to suggest more changes:

    Remove DRS: it’s not necessary now with reduced drag and more powerful ERS, so ditch it.

    Ground effect: as I glossed in before, remove front wings and add ground effect. It is obstructed less by turbulent air and is potentially less costly, provided the exhausts stay firmly rooted in their current positions. Though it would need to be regulated – I want to see the cars remaining difficult to drive.

    Change the tyre regulations: the qualifying starting rule induces conservatism in qualifying, for the sake of alternative strategies which rarely happen in the first place. It’s pointless – remove it, simply. Also, I don’t feel you should be obliged to use both compounds. Though enough of a disparity should exist between them in terms of durability vs performance that you may feel it would be a good option anyway.

    Greater tyre durability: I don’t tend to like absolutely solid tyres as then it becomes a void element of the races, but equally over-conservation does ruin the entertainment of defensive driving. It should always be the target for no more than two stop races I believe.

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