Mercedes prepared to impose orders if necessary

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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

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103 comments on Mercedes prepared to impose orders if necessary

  1. mc4ren (@mc4ren) said on 25th April 2014, 8:05

    That McLaren has to be the MP4/9 in the hands of Philipe Alliot, powered by Peugeot in 1994. Can’t guess the circuit, though.

  2. Steve Webb (@s-w-webb1) said on 25th April 2014, 10:00

    I’ve only just spotted this on Autosport

    “It was normal race contact.”

    Normal race contact in a non contact sport? Pastor Maldonado really is a moron. He needs the boot, or else someone else to make his car do a somersault and see how he likes it…

  3. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 25th April 2014, 12:18

    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.

  4. Dangarcia said on 25th April 2014, 17:10

    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!

  5. 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.

  6. woogl said on 25th April 2014, 22:42

    If i leave my email will someone let me know when f1 sorts its self out

  7. CarlD said on 29th April 2014, 23:24

    To make races more interesting, it might be interesting to place drivers on the grid according to a lottery.
    Qualification would be run solely to weed slow cars.

    At least the first ten laps would be very interesting. By lap twenty, only those with very close performances would still be fighting.

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