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Join Paul and me as we review the German Grand Prix. We discuss each team as they finished, including qualifying and even hand out some awards.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • With attendance, I agree with others’ writings that the Austrain GP weeks’ back, the concurrent Nurburgring event, and event-hangover lead to the paltry attendance. The 52,000 reported sales follows the trend from 2010 and ’12. Paul’s assertion the biennial scheduling and reported exorbitant prices must play their roles. Aside: Did you guys report on the story Hockenheim organizers promoted a US $16 discount for every goal the German Nationals scored? Major backfire.

    I *think* Merc chose to grid Hamilton to justify Rosberg’s brake change. Allowing one meant FIA had to allow both or suffer invalidation of its safety and equipment-equality justification. The FIA decision itself still a question mark, opening up another area teams can exploit.

    FRIC will rear its head in Hungary, as the teams have had little time simulating; data they’ve accumulated here will help post-break. Davidson during post- Quali or Practice analysis highlighted a fascinating video from Canada of Bottas’ FRIC system in action: Bottas in a slow right hander, his unloaded right front oscillating, literally vibrating up and down, as the hydraulics attempts planting it for less understeer. Cool video and opining, well worth a search.

    Vettel and Alonso having to choose whether to fight or fuel save, contrasted with Hamilton’s radio calls confirming he could fight, point to differing energy efficiency amongst power plants. Bottas raced Hamilton for 6 laps using stategic-max ES/-H discharge w/o requiring excess fuel a la Ferrari or recharge laps like the Renaults; pretty cool stuff.

    I can see where you guys want to remove fuel usage as a race consideration (give them 120Kgs for example), but it again points to FIA’s purpose in promoting the ERS development side of energy usage. This to me is a whole new world, like stressed-member back ends, but if you don’t like it, It will be a lesser issue 2015 and on as teams improve conversion efficiency and electrical output, until FIA inevitably limits fuel or ERS storage/conversion/output further.

    A marshall crossed the track? Yikes, missed that, and retract a previous FIA sentiment for double yellows in lieu of the Safety car. That Canadian marshall stumbling and falling across the track years back would have been much less funny here.

    Williams was such a pleasant surprise; I forecast Bottas falling backwards as his rears went, but whether lower temps/FRIC ban shifted the load forwards, Williams developed, or I was wrong about wear, Bottas hung tough throughout his stints. And, that Williams looks so lovely.

    • Tom Firth

      I know are plenty of factors as to the lower attendance but I’m wondering if MotoGP in Germany the weekend before perhaps had an effect too ? I know it often is a week apart between the two events and is quite a distance between the Sachenring and the Hockenheimring however both are effectively drawing potential crowds from the same city, whereas the Nurburgring has Cologne to try and draw crowds in from when the F1 is there, and abit more distance between the two.

      I’ve always seen the Nurburgring as better at promoting its events than hockenheim too globally, though maybe that’s just me.

      Not sure if the crossover in fans is really enough, or if it’s a factor but just something I thought about.

      • No idea, Tom. You have a better sense of the motorsport audience en total than me, and Germany’s pulse regarding it.

        Theories are all over the board, from a supposed dislike of an aloof Vettel and Quasi-German Rosberg, to bitterness over brand Mercedes’ perceived elitism, to weather, GDP stagnation, and so on. What’s worth highlighting is that this is an ongoing issue, from 2010 at least (audience data is hard to come by); 2014 is part of the trend, not the instigator.

        Wasn’t 2013 ‘Ring attendance lower than this year?

        • Tom Firth

          I seem to recall ‘Ring attendance been rather good in 2013 from eye, although I could be wrong. The biggest memory I have of that one is a toasty Marussia rolling backwards.

          Will go see if I can find some figures somewhere but Hockenheim attendance did look lower than DTM at Hockenheim from earlier in the year based on eye, which is not good as the DTM attendance wasn’t exactly steller.

          To be fair I thought the attendance for Toronto looked really rather good on the Friday, particularly for Indycar. Alot more than at other rounds, I think the bad weather didn’t help over the actual weekend but given the wet weather, I thought it looked really rather decent, particularly on the main straight grandstands both days.

    • “Davidson during post- Quali or Practice analysis highlighted a fascinating video from Canada of Bottas’ FRIC system in action: Bottas in a slow right hander, his unloaded right front oscillating, literally vibrating up and down, as the hydraulics attempts planting it for less understeer. Cool video and opining, well worth a search.”
      Here ya go:
      http://fiftybuckss.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/analysis-of-fric/

      • That’s it; Thanks Michael.

        Davidson goes on, highlighting the undesirable oscillation as a performance differentiator between Williams’ and Merc’s FRIC solutions.

        What a fascinating analysis from a perceptive driver (real time at Le Mans, no less!). Even if tech ambivalent or a driving novice, insights like this make F1 racing more relatable/digestible. It’d be nice for those sans access to have a centralized, officially-sanctioned method of watching this; it’d grow the sport.

  • MIE

    During the last turbo era we didn’t have all the radio messages to drivers telling them to save fuel, but we did have many occasions when drivers ran out of fuel in the closing laps. Vettel and Alonso may have had to save fuel, but at least they could still finish.

    And as for bringing up 2004 as an example of an occasion when we didn’t need to save fuel or tyres, just how much racing was there in that season?

    As both of your nominations for pass of the race were DuRS passes, does this mean you have accepted the system. There were plenty of non-DuRS passes to choose from.

    • The drivers seat

      Ouch. That’s two DRS aided awArds in a row although I think the short nature and layout of the circuit nearly made it impossible, that being said can I retract and pick Ricciardo on Alonso in the stadium section? #tryingtokeepface

    • 2004? Plenty but then I am a Ferrari fan. :)

    • Rapierman

      Just remember that DRS can only do so much. The driver still has to time it right and make sure he still has enough room and not cut in front of the car he’s passing (see USGP 2012).

  • ranger

    esteban passes alonso is my pass of the race. caterham team deserves donkey for violating the rules and screwing up ericson’s race. lewis gets drive of the race.

  • Oily Bo Hunk

    Talk about slow response to help a car/driver (Kvyat), remember when Ralf wrecked in Indy? That seemed like an eternity till somebody got to Ralfie.

    • I do remember that. I recall his brother driving laps and craning his neck trying to see if Ralf was moving in the car. I was mortified when that happened. I recall Simona being in a burning car and it took them forever to get to her. If memory serves, she suffered burns on her hands.

  • Tom Firth

    Yeah, Indy 2011 for Simona and then taking forever, ugh not nice memories.

  • AntioBob

    I think you guys are missing something regarding the Hamilton-Button thing. Possibly after you “went to press,” so to speak, Button came out with a statement that after looking at the replay he admitted his initial criticism of Hamilton was an over reaction (I think BBC has a piece on that). It wasn’t that Hamilton was *expecting* to be let through. He simply stated that Button was quite wide, and possibly had a reason for not fighting at that point (strategy?). I think it’s easy to attribute psychological states to people without any real evidence, but the actual statements after the race and review of the contact during the race seem to suggest something much less dramatic. Which you (NC) seem to get to at the end of your discussion.

    • I did see that comment from Jense after we did our cast..actually Tuesday morning. I don’t think there was anything nefarious and JB was wide. I tend to think just because drivers are going wide there, doesn’t mean Lewis is going to when he’s trying to pass. JB’s comments are heat of the moment but I side with Lewis on this one.

  • One thing’s for sure – I am fully aboard the Ricciardo bandwagon. Hell, I’ll volunteer to be the conductor…. or whatever they call them in Australia. Jabaloo? I’m the jabaloo of the Ricciardo bandwagon. Toot toot.

  • Tim C

    Re Massa – I think Massa sees this as his last legitimate chance for a victory in F1. The car is certainly capable. A small error from Merc and some additional development by Williams and race wins could definitely be in the future. If I was in the twilight of my career, I’d probably be taking a few extra chances as well. Now . . . Massa should know better than to try and win the race at turn 1 . . . but if he as this mind set, I can see why he tried to follow Bottas through.

  • Rapierman

    1. ….and here I am on a cable network, and the sound has no dodge in it at all.

    2. Scalectrix / Slot cars?

    3. I’m wondering when the Devil will come to collect from Rosberg.

    4. FRIC & costs: Too late, that ship’s done sailed!

    5. No, the reason that Merc’s so good is that they made the turbo a part of the engine by splitting it in two and attached each end to the engine. If you want to ban something, try that instead.

    6. >crickets chirping in the background<

    7. What about the proximity of the World Cup? Did that have an effect on attendance?

    8. Does it make a difference which grand prix it was? ;-)

    9. Hamilton made an interesting charge, but I saw a little NASCAR in his racing. ;-)

    10. "If it ain't rubbin', it ain't racing."

    11. A new high for Bottas, and a bit of bad luck for both Massa & Magnussen. It was a 50/50 situation.

    12. At least it's still an improvement for Red Bull, and especially for Vettel.

    13. Got some serious racing out there with Ferrari. Still 5th, though.

    14. Why not just call Ricciardo "Joker Face"?

    15. Could have been better for McLaren if it weren't for those two incidents.

    16. Good thing that Kvyat was able to get out of there in time, but would dearly love to know what exploded.

    17. The track marshals were a bit slow, and where the hell was that safety car!?

    18. That safety car should have been out the moment someone knew that something happened.

    19. Pass goes to Alonso, last pass on Ricciardo after a long battle late in the race.

    20. Donkey: Tie between Massa and Magnussen for that first lap incident.

    21. Drive: Hamilton storming through the field from the pits into 3rd, with an honorable mention to Bottas.

    22. Rosberg, Ricciardo, Bottas First out: Gutierrez

  • Andreas

    First, allow me to nit-pick slightly… I believe the term is FRICS (Front-to-Rear Interconnected Suspension). I have also heard Sky pundits refer to the “FRIC suspension” and “FRICS system”. /nit-picking mode off :-)

    I believe the reasoning was to have FRICS banned from 2015, but it needed to be made clear right now to stop teams spending too much developing it for next year. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a cost-saving excercise, as you noted.

    As for attendance figures, maybe there is something to the cost argument. For the F1 weekend, ticket prices ranged from 177 EUR to 550 EUR. For the coming DTM race at the same venue, the most expensive weekend ticket (main grandstand, right at the start/finish line) is 52 EUR. If you want to come on the friday as well, that’s 10 EUR. Paddock pass for the whole weekend costs 25 EUR (if you have a grandstand ticket). So is F1 worth 10 times more?

    • The recurring theme I have read as to low attendance was ticket price. I wonder if that truly is the cause or a convenient scape goat? I suspect it’s closer to the reason than the excuse.