Join Paul, Mark (Fake Charlie Whiting) and me as we unpack the season’s most exciting grand prix so far…what a show it was! We discuss each team as they finished, share some of the Delphic wisdom of Mark Hughes, consider the Pastorization of F1, why Max Chilton is worth cheering for, What happens when your president leaves the race, how Lewis drove a brilliant race and why Nico should have passed him and how and a lot, lot more. We hand out our race review awards too.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • I enjoy your current dynamic; the racing driver, technical/sporting reg enthusiast, and a “typical fan” perspective (meant honorably). Three differing viewpoints; do you guys ever nitty-gritty your differing opinions?

    Time constraints on the podcast and all w/ the format, but I’d be fascinated hearing, for example:

    *Todd v. Mark’s opinion of the Ferrari survey, how reliable an indicator it is for F1’s audience. I thought some fireworks to be had there based on Mark’s words and Todd’s post.

    *Paul and Mark on penalties and how they’re enforced.

    *Where each of you stands on the current regulations, how it positively/negatively impacts F1 as an entity, the show for fans.

    *Todd and Paul on importance of sound to each his experiences. Not right/wrong, but in detail what the sound means to each.

    There’s such a great confluence of minds here; expanding on your personal views, and inviting commentary from the other podcasters would add much texture to the community IMO.

    Podcast-Induced comments/questions:

    *Paul-Mr. Brundle shared your view about Rosberg in the closing stages, that he failed to hook Hamilton after the prior lap’s attempt, further stating that Nico lost the race. I would have missed it if not for commentary. What can you discern from Tv footage about a racing driver? I mentioned in JPR’s Op-Ed about Lewis vs Rosberg that I felt Rosberg lacked overtaking skills, that he was more pattern-oriented than creative and seemed to be ragged when “on the edge.” That of course is anecdotal crap from a non-pro who doesn’t fully understand/have 1st-hand knowledge of instance-based track conditions/car behavior and setup/etc. Do you take environment/mechanics into consideration when you analyze the drivers, and how much can you discern?

    *Mark/Paul-I thought Ham/Rosberg’s post Safety Car battle was mostly fair; when Lewis would shove Rosberg off the track, he was ahead and entitled to the line. The one glaring exception was right at the restart, I think T4. Rosberg’s wing was at least at Ham’s front tires into the corner; Mark, isn’t that the situation in which a driver must leave another a car’s width? If so, I’m with Paul, glad no action was taken, but a rule is a rule…

    *Mercedes-powered hierarchy- Todd alluded to Mclaren’s development resources; the teams’ relative performance contrasted with their respective funds and fortunes makes this debate so interesting.
    – Mclaren-Most resources, slowest car
    -FI-Perhaps best balanced car/most consistent driver, less money
    -Williams-Transient performance, decent money, erratic lineup

    Who do you feel will top the other? A fascinating subplot in a season full of them.

    *Todd-I don’t think Williams was short shifting to save fuel in the way cars did in the past. The cars are reaching 100Kgs/hr above 10.5k rpm, and I didn’t see Williams shifting below about 11.5K. It’d be a different story if the teams were normally shifting far above power curve plateau, which they aren’t.

    Again a guess, but I think Williams geared shorter than the other Mercedes cars, with the intent on harvesting as much -H energy as possible. It gets all techy, which I believe bores you, but the Mercedes PU’s Turbo was specifically sized and placed to require less -H turbine spooling, which in turn allows the -H to send more power to the ES and -K. More -H energy to the ES/-K means potentially less demand from the ICE. So, in a way, fuel savings, but not in the traditional less RPM= less power and less fuel usage that’s normal.

    *FI podium-Who else hated V. Mallya mugging the cameras and proclaiming “I” this or “I” that. What an egotistical sh*t. Congratulations Mr. Fernley.

    *Todd’s internet sojourn-Laughed out loud when you dropped out to inter-web raison d’être. Would the podcast explode w/o its moderator? :D (BTW, it’s migrated to common US vernacular, like prix fixe.)

    Todd, I respect you reserving your (generally negative) impression of the formula so far; what do you think of all the season-subplots intrigue? The interteam battles as posted on the site (new blood vs established particularly intriguing)? Mercedes-powered hierarchy as mentioned above? RBR development race; can they catch Mercedes? Who runs Lotus’ sporting side? I can’t remember a season this dense.

    Thanks guys.

  • Regarding Williams not running very much in free practice:
    They accumulated more mileage over the past two races and had to be careful as their engines approached their max. mileage. In China, Mercedes will provide all customers with new engines.

    • UAN

      I’m curious about the PU allotments – in the past (recent), when teams only had 8 engines, they didn’t use them sequentially, but used new vs used engines based on the circuits they were at. So is Merc behind in production of the engines (what happens if a couple of teams have their engines blow early on)? It seems Merc should be supplying engines/PUs on the sequence determined by the teams. I’d be interested to learn more about how that’s all done.

      • Tom

        From what I gather, all the teams tried to make their first batch of engines last because there will be reliability upgrades for China at every manufacturer. Had they switched back and forth, they would have had to use two or even three of the less reliable lumps.

        • UAN

          that makes a lot of sense, though Mercedes probably has a few extra engines just in case. It does explain Williams limiting their running in FP in Bahrain.

          I’m imagining they get extra engines/PUs for the in-season testing they are doing?

          • Yeah, I’m sure every team has spare engines and I’m also sure they don’t use their race engines during testing. It wouldn’t make any sense to use your race engines there. Then again, I wouldn’t put it beyond the FIA to do something that doesn’t make sense.

  • jiji the cat

    well i replayed the Gutierez maldonado incident a few times, and it seems like Maldonado’s front left, hit the inside of Gutierez’ rear right, this lifted the car, and then maldonado’s front went under the other car.

  • Stan

    The Prost/Senna comparisons have some merit. Not sure Rosberg is enough of a crafty d-bag to play a proper Prost.

    Let’s just hope we see more of the same that was a hell of a race.

  • AntioBob

    NC, I’m wondering if you might consider a “lifetime ‘donkey’ achievement award” for Maldonado. I know, I know… he hasn’t been around that long. But considering the quality of his work in this category. It’s not an unreasonable proposition.

    But I wouldn’t want to tell you how to run your website/podcast. Just consider it. Possibly a web survey?

    • That would be quite an award. :)

      • Matthew Snyder

        I noticed the day after the race ran a photo of Gutierrez in mid flip with the caption (since removed, btw) that he had been ‘Pastorized‘……. ;)

  • Rapierman

    1. I think I have the advantage…by not drinking at all. ;-)

    2. Yet you enjoyed that “NASCAR-style” shootout. ;-)

    3. I think that racing in Bahrain under the lights was a much better show…especially when it means I can get up at a normal hour and watch it. ;-)

    4. (A) RIC got punished twice for the same crime (had a ten-second penalty before the 10-spot grid penalty); (B), I agree that MAL’s penalty was a bit weak. I figured it was worth a 10-spot and 4 points.

    5. Any release of Maldonado from jail is an unsafe release. (For the record, in Texas, that would have ben a revocation of a license and some time in prison).

    6. That was a heavyweight fight up front.

    7. If “Don’t wreck each other” is a team order, then I’ll welcome that.

    8. Big day for Force India, and a great job by Perez.

    9. It shocking that someone would tell Vettel to let Ricciardo through. An even bigger shock that Vettel would actually let him go through.

    10. So, why did Williams use less fuel last race than this race?

    11. Shocking that Massa got off the line so fast.

    12. Sad for Ferrari. They just can’t seem to get anywhere.

    13. Anyone get a hint of “spoiled brat” in Luca?

    14. Anyone want to bet on when Vergne gets fired?

    15. USA OSHA would have done something about that “anorexia-trending” weight limit problem.

    16. I came to see Formula 1, not The Kentucky Derby.

    17. Personally, if anyone puts concrete overshoes on Maldo, I’m not going to say a damn thing.

    18. I’ll say it’s the nose. That’s what you get when you try to go the safety route sometimes without thinking about what happens when you try.

    19. The first thing that goes through a fly’s brain when it hits the windshield? The butt.

    20. Don’t mince words? Okay: I need to dropkick Maldo onto the Interstate and let him figure out how to get back across safely.

    21. Pass: Goes to Perez on Gutierrez early in the race. That was a good three-turn battle.

    22. Donkey: I don’t think anyone would argue that it should go to Maldonado for his spearing of Gutierrez.

    23. Drive: Goes to Perez for his big drive to get Force India to 3rd.

    24. Laura? Here in Austin? Damn, if I had known, I would have baked a cake (oh, wait, I don’t know how to bake a cake).

    • UAN

      9) Why so shocking? Vettel moved over a couple of times for Webber back in 2009. Since then, I’m hard pressed to remember an instance where Webber was in a position to pass Vettel, whether due to alternate strategy or not. I know Webber hated to move over for Vettel though.

      I think fans are just projecting their own ideas on what goes on at RBR. Not only did VET move over, but even said where he was going to do it to lose minimum time for both of them.

      Gotta say, RIC’s a breath of fresh air, WEB was alway so dour.

      11). Why so shocking? Massa and Alonso always got mega starts with Ferrari, and Massa even better than Alonso. Always thought it was down to something with the Ferrari, but Massa’s just a great starter.

      Now here would be a great combination, if you could merge MAS with WEB, they would have made a formidable driver – great qualy, great starts, pretty decent racecraft.

      13) And LdM just reminded us how lacking in real drama Dieter M at RB is. DM just answered a question about long term plans based on how F1 developed. Luca had his survey, his private meetings with Mr. E and Mr. Todt, his taxi comments, and to end the week with a bit of flair only he could pull off, egg on his face :).

      21) I prefer Lewis’s pass on Rosberg lap 16/17 (iirc) when Rosberg took LH, then Hamilton set him up going into T4 and finished him off through 5/6. That was huge as it gave HAM preference on strategy for the race.

  • Andreas

    Great podcast! I love the fact that there were numerous options for “pass of the race” – I guess this “taxi driver” formula works somehow :-) I’m glad I don’t have to choose one pass over another, as there were so many great ones. Especially the over/under switchbacks using the grunt of the new PU:s – great stuff!

    Donkey… well, what can I say? The running straight into GUT was a move taken from a video game, where you can go extremely fast into a corner and use the outside car to bounce off of to make the corner. A real bonehead move, of course. But what gets me isn’t that bit – everyone can make those kinds of mistakes. What irks me about the whole deal – and makes me want to boot Maldonado off the grid permanently – is the way he simply drove off like nothing happened. You have just flipped another car, and just drive off? I’m not saying he should have gotten out of the car to check on GUT (although I suspect many racers in the 60’s-70’s would have), but wouldn’t you at least want to stick around to see that he was moving? Let’s just say that I would prefer not to have a road accident in front of (or caused by) Maldonado…

  • UAN

    NC, I’ve been wondering about your view that that outcome of an incident shouldn’t impact the penalty given? Are your revisiting that?

    When you think about it, while not the most situationally aware driver out there, MAL on GUT the incident was a relatively minor and, for F1, slow speed coming together. What made it look bad was that GUT flipped, which was kind of a fluke — it’s just we don’t expect to see F1 cars flipping.

    Speaking of the last time we saw an F1 car flip, it was a certain Aussie running up behind a Caterham (Lotus iirc). At the time WEB tried a bit to deflect blame to Kovalainen, saying HK braked “early” – though situationally, come on – a Caterham/Lotus vs an RB6 on new tires coming into corner? I think Webber was too focused on getting back into the race and blew it big time. But he clearly lacked in that moment, the same track awareness that MAL was lacking in Bahrain.

    There have been other accidents as egregious, if not more so, than MAL on GUT and potentially more dangerous. Remember Kobayashi into the back of Button in KOR 12 at Turn 3? Button’s reply “What an idiot!”. Or how about Schumacher into the back of JEV and the Toro Rosso in Singapore ’12? Totally missed his braking point on cold breaks. Really a senior moment. Heck, just two weeks ago in Malaysia, Bianchi takes out JEV’s front wing and blows into the back of MAL. And afterwards, Bianchi blames JEV, even though the stewards saw it much differently.

    Of course, the classic recent shunt (beyond Grojean) has to be Liuizzi at the start of Monza ’11 flying out of control through all the cars at T1. We laugh about how far he got that Caterham up the order before retiring, BUT that could have been horrible. So yeah, MAL, needs more awareness around him, but for the freaky flip, it was not as bad as many I’ve seen.

    • IT may very well be the reason the penalty was different than Daniels. Perhaps colliding with Esteban was a judgment call while the pitlane release is more standard procedure, cut and dry. I still agree that the penalties should be more consistent and that would eliminate some of the issues. Making calls due to the outcome is inevitable and human nature but it does color the sport. The last 10 laps had the Mercs running wide which has been penalized before but the outcome was brilliant and perhaps therefore the stewards were as enamored as we were with the racing they forgot about the white lines. Who knows?

      MAL’s incident seems to me to have been potentially dangerous due to flipping the car. Slow speed or not, that’s 1,500lbs landing on top of Esteban and if something didn’t work right, it could be bad. That’s not to marginalize a loose wheel, that’s bad too but are they different in severity? The “causing a collision” clause has seen some real swings if memory serves so more consistency would be good.

  • jiji the cat

    just heard that one of the stewards was from Venezuela. Wonder if this swayed the decision?