Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Nurburgring, 2011

More problems for Nurburgring

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Nurburgring, 2011In the round-up: The European Commission is examining the legality of state aid granted to the struggling Nurburgring.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

EU regulators widen aid probe into Nurburgring racetrack (Reuters)

“At this stage, the Commission has doubts that the measures were granted on market terms and that the companies are viable without continued state support.”

Frank Williams says Senna ??came of age? as an F1 driver in Hungary (James Allen on F1)

Frank Williams enthused about Bruno Senna’s drive in Hungary but also had this to say about Valtteri Bottas: “I can?t make any prediction as and when he will get into one of our two cars ?ǣ three into two don?t go. But he is very highly regarded within the team. He seems to be a naturally gifted driver who doesn?t have too much to say for himself ?ǣ so he?s in with a very good chance!”

Auspuff-Entwicklung in der Formel 1 (Auto Motor und Sport)

Gallery showing changes in exhaust configuration on different cars during the season.

Marussia F1 Team grows up (Russia Beyond the Headlines)

“Marussia identifies with Russia not only because its name is an old Russian name for a pretty girl. The team competes under the Russian flag and its engineering director is popular TV presenter Nikolai Fomenko. CEO [Andy] Webb said that Fomenko inspires the entire team. ‘I know that he is very talented; wants to be a millionaire and his enthusiasm is unshakable.’??

Economic downturn blamed for Harrogate restaurant’s demise (The Northern Echo)

“A restaurant belonging to Formula One driver Jenson Button that was threatened with legal action from another food chain has closed.”

Formula 1 Alphabet (Ferrari)

Ferrari’s video A-Z (with a few omissions) guide to F1.

2012 Mid-Season Review (McLaren)

McLaren’s highlights of the year so far.

Anti-Corruption Bureau notices to three liquor manufacturers (The Times of India)

“The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) probing the liquor syndicate scam has issued notices to three distillers including United Spirits Limited (USL), owned by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, asking them to explain why they offered cash discounts to the syndicates in order to promote their brands through illegal means.”

Comment of the day

@AndrewTanner on the varying form of the teams this year:

It?s weird, as the season progresses you start to get a feeling of the order, or lack of and you can start to piece certaint things together, hazard a guess who has the upper hand and which drivers are performing the best. When you then see data like this it vindicates your ideas and feelings and validates your understanding of the sport and all its intricacies. It?s a pretty satisfying feeling!

Honestly, I don?t think anyone has the fastest car at the moment but I believe McLaren are the best placed moving forward, Good results in Germany and Hungary seemed to just erode any previous doubt I had about them being able to perform. I don?t think there is any other team in the sport capable of developing at such a rapid pace. Having a good car from the off is one thing, adapting to your surroundings is another. We saw it in 2009 with them.

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

On this day 25 years ago Nelson Piquet won the Hungarian Grand Prix, repeating the victory he had scored in the inaugural race one year earlier.

Team mate Nigel Mansell led from the start until lap 70 when, for the second race running, his car failed, handing victory to his team mate.

Continuing the symmetry from 1986, Ayrton Senna claimed second place. The only difference on the podium was Alain Prost in third.

Here’s Senna lapping the circuit that year in a Lotus-Honda 99T:

Image ?? Renault/LAT

34 comments on “More problems for Nurburgring”

  1. Frank Williams will have the hardest choice a team principal will have to make this year: who to turf out and who to keep between Maldonado, Senna and Bottas.
    All three have arguable reasons for continued employment. Maldonado has fantastic pace (married to less than fantastic overtaking and defending) a race win and big sponsorship, Senna seems to becoming on song and could be a valuable, consistent points scorer a la Rosberg while Bottas has the allure of being a young fresh talent – he could be the next flying Finn, or a disaster.

    Is there any chance the status quo will be kept for another season? I’d say Bottas must be impatient to start his career in earnest.

    1. Senna seems to becoming on song and could be a valuable, consistent points scorer a la Rosberg

      And it’s taken him half a season to get to the point where he might be able to do it on a regular basis.

      It’s too little, too late.

      1. How is it too late? The decision isn’t going to be made until the end of the season. He still has time.

    2. I don’t think it’s a difficult choice at all. Senna has had a pretty bad season so far to say the least, and Bottas already seems to be quicker than him. The team gets enough sponsorship money from Maldonado. If anything, they don’t need more money to develop the car (all things considered), but a driver that can use it properly. Williams’ pace is not reflected in the standings, primarily due to the drivers either throwing points away or not being quick enough to begin with. Needless to say that will cost them money from TV rights in the long run.

      1. @victor

        Agreed. I think Senna is overrated, his name props him up more than anything. To be honest, I was never really impressed by him, even in GP2, although he was runner up. The Williams is a quick car this year, but he has not shown enough to realize its full potential. Pastor on the other hand, when he has shown pace, he has looked like a top driver, but he is insane and needs to sat down and whacked across the head. You can draw parallels with Pastor and Montoya, the only difference being the latter had a lot more class as a person.

        From what little we have seen of Bottas, he had looked well on it. It would be nice of Frank Williams to give him race toward the end of the season so we can really gauge how well he goes on a Sunday. If it wasnt for the mega bucks that Bruno brings from Embratel, would Bottas already have the seat?

        Pastor is worth keeping on. From a fiscal standpoint the reasoning is obvious, and as I have said, he isnt too shabby, albeit not consistent. He just needs to get his head on straight. Being relatively young, Im sure he can learn. I think this is where drivers and teams can benefit from a “driver coach”….food for thought.

        Does anybody know how much of an influence ex-drivers who run management companies, i.e. Martin Brundle, David Coulthard, Mika Hakinnen etc. have on the drivers they currently manage?

        1. How can you say ‘he isn’t too shabby’ when he hasn’t brought a single point to the team since his win in Barcelona?

          Meanwhile, Senna is only 5 points behind him and seems to be coming on-song now Williams have developed a solution to his tyre-temperature problem.

          1. As much as I dislike Pastor, I think it is clear as day that there is more potential in him than there is in Senna. Afterall, he is already a race winner.

        2. thatscienceguy
          9th August 2012, 9:45

          Alex Wurz already acts as driver coach to the Williams drivers.

        3. Agreed. I think Senna is overrated, his name props him up more than anything. To be honest, I was never really impressed by him, even in GP2, although he was runner up.

          I really have to agree on this. I bet Frank Williams will have a hard choice to make soon. Both of them bring good money in but both drivers are a pain to have. Maldonado´s “block-headed” style just doesn´t seem to improve and Senna just doesn´t seem to stand out. Of course he has brought points consistently but i thinks that´s all he´s ever going to accomplish.
          Personally, I would sack Senna and I would have a VERY strong chat with Maldonado. I wouldn´t take up Bottas just yet. I would shop around for somebody else.
          Just my 2 cents.

    3. I think Pastor needs to be told he has to score points consistently between now and the end of the season and clean up his act to keep his seat. If he hadn’t won the race in Barcelona, everyone would be calling for him to be sacked by now. if he does i think both deserve to be retained for one more year and then Bottas replace whoever is weaker at the end of 2013.

    4. Hard will be too choose long term versus short term. Choosing long term sponsoring money for short term survival, or perhaps choosing long term talent from Bottas while lacking the money from Senna or Maldonado.

    5. Saying 3 into 2 don’t go, to me, sounds like Sir Williams already made his mind up about ditching Senna.
      Senna might be a likeable guy but he hasn’t been really impressing on the track so far. The other two have.

  2. never knew the Hungaroring used that extra tight bit after the 3rd or 4th corner. It was a lot tighter back then.

    1. Yes, I think the track was originally routed around to miss a water spring (!) there, with another pair of low-speed bends. The spring was re-routed or capped or ‘dealt-with’ in about ’89 and the chicane was removed, making the track a lot faster. I think that’s also when the start/finish straight was lengthened too, or maybe that was a few years later.

      1. “A few years later” indeed, the start straight and T1 and the third last corner were modified in 2003 :P

        1. I bow to your superior knowledge.
          What were the mods to the third last corner? I’m guessing that would be Turn 11, right?

  3. Of both German circuits, it has to be the Nürburgring that goes bust.. it is so much better than Hockenheim in every matter

    1. it’s a shame hockenheim has become so dull. it used to be a highlight. when the new nurburgring returned in 1995, everyone panned it for being boring, but now it’s seen as something of a gem.

      i suppose, as the cars change (ie. they improve in cornering ability), certain tracks change in characteristics. for example, the fast chicane after the hairpin is now awesome, whereas it may have been less so in the past. similarly, copse corner at silverstone is now nearly flat which would have been utterly unthinkable in the 90s

      by the same token, eau rouge – easily flat is qualifying – is not what it was, but we have corners like pouhon and stavelot to make up for it.

  4. I’d like to see Bottas in a Williams next year. If he doesn’t make the step up and retains 3rd driver duties, perhaps he could dovetail that with a season in FR 3.5. You can’t imagine a promising young driver spending two consecutive seasons out of full time racing.

    1. Dimitris 1395 (@)
      9th August 2012, 9:32

      He can try GP2 as well. I doubt he won’t find a team there. But I would like to see him racing at F1 in the near future…

  5. I am curious about that article about the liquor scam in India. Anyone who can explain how the local market works?
    From the article I understand that its a regulated market where a state company is the only one allowed to buy and sell wholesale at more or less fixed prices and with a fixed margin allowed for retailers? And the scam is about the major distilleries and beer producers trying to circumvent this to be able to better market their products and have more influence on pricing?

  6. That Ferrari A-Z of formula one is nice for learning English! Its a nice idea, but don’t expect them to say anything deeply interesting about the subjects anyone. They are the style “The exhaust is a set of tubing that brings the exhaust gases from the engine to the exit of the car”

    1. @BasCB They’re somewhat stating the obvious with that!

  7. It must be frustrating for Frank Williams that his best driver has the temperament of a chimpanzee on fire.

  8. DK (@seijakessen)
    9th August 2012, 12:31

    See this is what is absolutely ludicrous.

    Senna has consistently outperformed Maldonado in the majority of races this season.

    Maldonado has no points since Barcelona. Yes he would have had some since had he not done the idiotic things he has done.

    But, I still believe Barcelona was a gift of a win, not any real indication of anything. That was when the headlines were still filled with the “how many different winners will we have before a repeat winner” stuff.

    Maldonado at both Hockenheim, and at the Hungaroring has gone backwards once the green light has gone off.

    He had a terrible launch at Hungary off the grid, but even had he had a better launch, I’m not convinced he would have held position at all. He dropped back and was never in any real contention to at least get P10.

    I would love to know who has been more instrumental in feedback when it comes to improving the FW34. I have a feeling based on what I have heard that it is definitely not Maldonado. The Williams mechanics have said working with Bruno reminds them a lot of his Uncle Ayrton in the technical feedback he gives.

    It’s all relative to what you want out of a driver. Sure Maldonado can be fast, but it is without question being proven consistently that he has no clue how to drive smart. I have nothing against driving aggressively, but there is a line to what is acceptable. Running into guys is over the line. Going wheel-to-wheel without contact is acceptable. I have no problem with squeezing a guy out so long as it isn’t done where the end result is the guy finds himself wrecked. Bruno on the other hand isn’t a great qualifier, but he has shown to be more than capable of running a smart race. He had 25 laps on the medium compounds and defended against Button superbly the entire time. If he can get into Q3 multiple times in the 2nd half of the season, I would expect him to score more points than Maldonado does. I prefer drivers who drive with a brain in their head.

    Also the other thing too people forget, Bruno is the only driver who has lost his seat in FP1 as much as he has to Bottas. Bottas hasn’t even raced in GP2 and I think he has no business having that FP1 seat. That’s ridiculous to no end, and it’s disappointing Frank Williams has allowed this. I would say in spite of the disadvantage Bruno faces every race weekend, he’s handled himself remarkably well, and done more than you might expect out of a driver in that situation. He has had several poor races, but in most of them, it wasn’t as if Maldonado was doing anything either.

    1. I don’t agree with you at all about Maldonado not having a clue how to drive smart. He showed both speed and exactly that skill when he was keeping Alonso behind. Its just that he seems to have forgotten about that skill a bit like Hamilton was all over the place last year.
      I think Maldonado is fast, and can be a top notch driver, if he gets back to driving cleverer. A bit like Montoya who was amazing, but often lost control of himself.

      As for Bruno, I think its fair to say that he is finally getting into it now, and when Frank Williams says it, I am willing to give him the chance to prove it. But i had not really seen enough up to the last race or two to think he can really cut it in F1, whatever the reasons.

      1. I would’ve called Senna’s drives in Malaysia, China, Silverstone and Hungary all worth noting, but it seems most have already forgotten about the beginning of this season.

  9. Another COTD, thanks @keithcollantine :D

    I don’t know if it’s too soon to say whether or not Senna has ‘come of age’. Remember when he qualified well in Spa last year but didn’t really capitalise on it? Sure, on this occasion he did manage to honour his qualifying lap but I don’t think one good result is indicative of a driver turning the corner (excuse the pun). However, let’s see how the rest of his season pans out. I wouldn’t think it appropriate to elevate Bottas immediately, or even at the end of this season based on Maldonado and Senna so far. Senna has had a rather tortured F1 career thus far, give the guy at least a full season driving a car and you might be in a position to draw conclusions on him.

    It must be disappoining to Button to have to close his restaurant. Only the other day was a lengthy article shared on this site that went into detail about his career beyond F1 and he mentioned his restaurant. Poor guy!

  10. Maldonado seems to have the attitude that if you can’t win it bin it. Every time his position is under threat from a rival driver he hits them and then calls it a legitimate defence or an honest mistake. Well, if those excuses are to be taken at face value then he simply isn’t good enough in my opinion.

    Senna has taken time to get up to speed which is hardly surprising given the nature of his previous F1 experience. Another thing that has hindered his progress is the FP1 Bottas situation. Senna is unfairly a step behind Maldonado every Saturday afternoon but he has kept his head down and worked with what he’s got. As such it is fair to say that he has been able to find improvements which have enabled him to improve both qualifying and race performances to the extent that he is now a pretty safe bet to score on a Sunday afternoon.

    Maldonado has had all season to address his crash happy tendancy but has not made any effort to improve this aspect of his game. It’s always either someone else’s fault or he didn’t see him or blah blah blah. The only safe bet with this guy is that he will aggressively defend himself out of contention and/or the race.

    So in summary we have seen an ability to learn and improve from Senna whereas with Maldonado I feel we have seen all he is capable of.

    Oh and the win, a convenient 70th birthday present for Frank perhaps? The car hasn’t looked anything like threatening the podium since. Seems odd.

  11. I was actually talking to some guys from Williams over the weekend & asked them specifically about Bruno Senna, How they rate him & if they would like to see him remain in the team.

    Both guys came back that they see potential in Bruno & a lot of it. They said that its easy to look at his struggles this year & use it to say he’s just not good enough, However they understand why he’s had the problems he’s had, Especially in qualifying.
    They said that his biggest problem has been getting the front tyres to work, The Williams is very easy on its tyres & Bruno has struggled to get the front’s upto temprature for qualifying, Pastor is more aggressive which helps him get the temps up. They made some changes to the car for Hungary which helped solve that problem & saw him have a much better weekend overall.

    They told me that they have been impressed with his race pace, His consistency over a race distance & the way he’s able to hit whatever delta figures he’s asked to do in order to preserve the tyres. He’s apparently much better that Pastor in terms of race consistency & tyre preservation.

    Both told me that personally they would prefer to see Senna & Bottas in the team as race drivers next year as they see that as the stronger long-term line-up.

    When asked about Pastor they both said they like him & Think he’s good but havn’t seen a lot of improvement since last year & can’t see him getting much better while they can still see a lot of potential for improvement in both Bottas & Bruno which is why they think they would be the stronger longer-term line-up.

    They also said that on a personnel level they think Bruno has brought a really good atmosphere into the team, Everyone in the team loves him, He gets on great with everyone & does a great job in getting everyone motivated & that they can see what Renault/Lotus meant when they said something similar when Bruno came in to replace Heidfeld at Spa last year.

    1. Interesting @GT_Racer, I think we can read the same view of Bruno Senna in Williams.

  12. One solution to Frank’s Pastor/Bruno dilemma: Stop giving Bottas Senna’s drive on fridays.

    Bottas hasn’t even raced in GP2 yet, and we all know what it is like when you rush drivers into F1 too soon (romain grosjean in 2009?). You can’t possibly judge Senna when you won’t even give the guy a fair chance. We all know how difficult it is this year to understand the tyres and have a good setup that suits the drivers. I think we all agree Jenson is a great driver and we have seen over this season that how much he struggled when he doesn’t have a setup that he likes. So when you take an important friday setup session away from a driver, he is already starting on his back foot. This just isn’t fair. Plus, despite Pastor’s win in Spain, Senna is just a few points behind him in the standing. Senna has been out-performing Pastor all season except qualifying and Spain. People always say Senna is overrated because of his last name, but look past all that, all I see is a potential driver that has never given a proper shot at F1. When he tested for Honda, even Ross Brawn said he has great potential. So give Senna some proper treatment and let him fight Pastor.

  13. I’m not gonna lie that Senna has left me underwhelmed over the course of this season. And this is coming from someone who really, really wants to see him succeed. However, I will definitely agree with everyone’s assessment that his lack of pace is tempered by his consistency (compared to Maldonado) and as someone who relates to that Button-esque driving style, it’s encouraging. If you ask me, in the end, it’s a matter of who’s got more points. If Pastor keeps this up, it’s not looking good for him.

    Besides, I have a feeling they’ll save money simply on fewer replacement parts simply by replacing Pastor ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.