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Join Paul, Mark and me as we discuss the Chinese Grand Prix. We cover each team as they finished, qualifying, adaptability, domination, ill-waved flags and much more. We even hand out 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.
  • AntioBob

    I’m just gutted that his crash may have scuttled Maldonado’s title chance this year.

  • Louis, Amsterdam

    Thanks for your great race review, I enjoy your podcasts very much!
    Did you notice that during the race the fuel usage and projection of the top drivers was shown on tv, including the info of the usage of Rosberg. How could that be? Did he not have telemetric communication problems?

    • SKY’s broadcast cited separate sensors beaming info to FOM vs the team; the Merc sensor failed, FOM’s didn’t. I’m glad it’s not an estimate.

      Funny situation, that the media/audience received the info and the team didn’t.

  • TBL

    Mercedes domination – would rather see two or three other teams up there with them but it is refreshing to see someone other than Red Bull up there.

    Hamilton vs. Vettel – we’ve seen Lewis in a dog of a car at McLaren few seasons back and team and him turned this around to few wins in the latter part of the season. Let’s see if Vettel and Red Bull can do the same.

  • charlie w

    In answering the question about Mercedes-Benz/AMG’s new found domination of the sport, I am not happy about it. I was not happy when the red cars did it in the past(I am a red car fan) and not happy when the blue cars did it recently. After grabbing all the available talent from other teams(while kicking Ross Brawn to the curb), they now have something to show for its efforts. Hopefully, the other teams will step up to fight the works MB-AMG team. All the while the FIA is considering some type of cost cap for the teams.

    When will F1B do video podcasts or Google+ hangouts?

  • Oily Bo Hunk

    I don’t mind the Merc domination. It’s early yet. The GP of China seemed like everyone fell into their lap times, enjoyed a stiff breeze coming off the flurry of blue flags, and did their best to be consistent. It should be fun to see who is able to adapt their cars quicker.
    Go back a few years to Brawn’s big year. They got off to quick start, and scraped to a championship finish. When you end up in front like Merc, you don’t want to over-innovate yourself into problems, so they’ll have to hold-off making big changes to their car, until someone forces them to adapt. Brawn 2.0?

  • MIE

    As someone who has waved a chequered flag at the wrong time, I can’t give the official too much grief. In my case though, the error was all mine (I somehow missed a lap in a club race when the lead group crashed out on the far side of the circuit and the field was spread all around the track). However as there was only me counting down the laps the race ran for one lap too many. I got a rollicking from the clerk of the course when the lap scorers results showed the additional lap. Fortunately there was no changes of position on the last lap, so no drivers complained.
    However the lap scoring for an F1 race is a little more sophisticated, so he should have been told when the last lap was coming up.

  • Petra

    I really enjoyed your podcast. This is my first time on your site and I’ll be checking in regularly.

    Regarding judging Mercedes’ domination differently to Red Bull’s. I think the main gripe against Vettel isn’t just that he clearly had the best car, it was that he was unproven against top flight opposition so it was hard to say how good he was. However, Hamilton has raced against Alonso and Button so we know his worth. he’s also raced in cars that weren’t the best and were dogs to drive. Rosberg’s also had many years in average machinery. However, apart from his time at Toro Rosso, Vettel has always had an excellent car. Yes you still have to win, but it’s easier in a fantastic car than in an okay one. He’s a champion when everything is going his way. However, for me, my definition of a great driver is one who can drive anything thrown at him, and he hasn’t shown that. Not his fault, he hasn’t been put in that situation, but until he does he won’t rate as highly as others, say Alonso, with me.

  • Rapierman

    1. Just to let you know, you’re missing four seconds of sound (right before the intro theme).

    2. Got any mead over there?

    3. Damn, QC issues with telemetry can really ruin your day. ;-)

    4. Not just a HUD, but definitely attached to a clear touchscreen.

    5. Another race, another win for Hamilton. This thing is starting to get boring very fast.

    6. Probably the only thing that saved this race was Rosberg passing Vettel….

    7. ….and the “Missing Persons” poster on Rosberg’s telemetry.

    8. Amazing that nobody had their arm wrapped around someone else’s steering wheel.

    9. So, Rosberg doesn’t like to lose….but 2nd ain’t so bad.

    10. Ferrari’s starting to figure things out. Raikkonen….not so much.

    11. Honestly, why would anyone want to bring in a no-name guy to run something big and famous?

    12. That sounds a lot like a gangbanger leading a group. That’s always a scary thing.

    13. Paul, I think we call that a “Come to Jesus” meeting.

    14. Reluctant or ticked off? Vettel doesn’t like to lose.

    15. Mark: So, what you’re saying is that it’s not that Vettel know how to drive a car, it’s that he drives a car one way, and the car isn’t designed to allow him to drive the car that way. Kinda speak volumes on Vettel’s skill (as in….he’s not flexible enough to adjust to what’s been given to him).

    16. Definitely an improvement for Perez, but still not quite up to snuff this time.

    17. Massa got a bad break on his pit stop.

    18. I saw both of those incidents as 50/50.

    19. Back to midfiled for TR.

    20. I guess it’s time to call Lotus a back-marker.

    21. I think we can safely say that the Chinese like to wave flags…..often, and at the wrong time.

    22. ….and they can’t count to 56 or 55, so they settled for 54.

    23. Pass: Rosberg on Vettel, through three turns late in the race.

    24. Donkey: Williams pit crew for screwing up Massa’s stop. Make them all hold rocks in their left hands to remind them of which way left is.

    25. Drive: Alonso, getting that third place was a big improvement for Ferrari.

    26. Warning: Constant winning can produce boredom….not that it means anything.

    27. Homeland Security would shoot that thing down before the first crowd arrives.

  • I did post a lengthy piece on Vettel in the Race thread, so I won’t repeat everything here. However, this year will be important regarding Vettel’s long term image. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just now. Like Kimi, his driving style doesn’t seem to be compatible with the current cars to the degree that it was before. I guess it’s much more difficult to adjust to a car that lost a lot of its grip than vice versa. But unless he can adapt over the course of this season (which personally I’m sure he will), he will be seen as a one trick pony, the one trick being the blown diffusor.

    Regarding Mercedes’ domination, as a Mercedes fan, of course I love it. However, even as a neutral fan, I think I would have less of a problem with it than before, for the mere reason that both drivers have a shot at winning the championship. Very rarely do we get seasons where more than two drivers have a shot at the title anyway, it’s just that this time, they’re in the same team.

    At the same time, I wouldn’t have anything against better competition. Particularly, I’d love to see a Mercedes vs. Ferrari fight for the title. Not because I love Ferrari, I really don’t, but I think that would be an epic duel of two marques with great tradition.

    Speaking of title contenders, I think Rosberg actually had a tremendous race as well. Sure, he sits in the best car, but the telemetry fail rely through him back, quite literally at the start anyway. And yet, with a brilliant performance he moved back up into second place. Also, he said that the reason he was annoyed about having to communicate the fuel consumption every lap was not the act itself, but rather the point at which the team wanted the number, right at the finish line. But Rosberg said that corner 1 is rather tricky, so he wanted to focus on that rather than check the numerals on his steering wheel.

    • UAN

      I’d agree, folks are pretty quick to write off Vettel – it’s only been 4 races. People forget that RB didn’t always have a rear end glued to the track. Before the last 4 years, VET was fast in BMW (twice, iirc, being fastest in Free Practice sessions), fast with Toro Rosso and should have had a podium in Japan 2007 if it weren’t for Hamilton playing games behind the safety car. He was fast in 2008 and finished 8th in the TR, including a race win that folks want to forget about. He was pretty darn fast in the RB5 in 2009, if a bit unpolished, being only a year older than Kyvat is now. Even before F1, in the lower Formulas he was quick. People point to the fact that DiResta beat him when they were teammates, but it was a close season and VET was distracted for the last several races because he was already a test driver for BMW-Sauber. He was leading the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2007 when he was called up to BMW-Sauber then finished the season with Toro Rosso.

      The other thing people tend to overlook is that Daniel is incredibly fast. There’s a reason he was in the Red Bull Junior Driver program, and he spent his time with HRT and Toro Rosso gaining experience in F1. It’s not like he’s a rookie.

      The other interesting thing about the beginning of the season is how quick RB is to have VET move over for RIC when RIC is going better. Over the last 4 years, there’s been a lot of conspiracy theories about how VET was always favored over WEB. I think RB favors the faster driver in a race and this season just shows it.

      And let’s not forget, even though he’s struggling, VET still has the only podium finish for RB. Even struggling, he can still bring it. I know RIC had that podium in AUS taken away, but even RB admit that if they used the Gill sensor per Race Control, RIC would have only finished 5th.

      • Stan

        The RB team orders are pretty interesting. Do they favor the faster driver? Is Ricciardo getting equal or near equal treatment because he is a product of their system? (Marko is still calling out Webber – what a dbag) Does the team actually have to worry about any kind of results as opposed to planning Vettel’s title chase this early in the season?

  • Lots of fascinating talking points in this episode:

    BROADCAST INFO:
    * Belaboring the point to no end, but it’s again unfortunate NBC dumbs down F1 content. F1’s pretty intricate, like American football, and assimilating that info via conversational analysts adds immeasurably to my enjoyment. Personally, it’s helpful when UK/Euro commentators point out long-run degradation, sector breakdowns (and thus car-performance characteristics), driving line distinctions, and so on.

    Yes, much of the info is online, but many don’t interact that deeply. I have tablet/laptop out watching F1 like I do NFL, but my girlfriend for example can’t be bothered. Some of it is anorak heaven for dorks like me, but the wonderful thing is one can indulge as much/little as one likes, as in any sport; the opportunity to indulge is there. Unfortunately, NBC doesn’t give fans that option, so whilst some might be perfectly content w/ the beautiful cars and wheel to wheel excitement (and both are great), others confused by/curious about why a car is fast on one lap but not in the race, the purpose of under/over cut tire strategy, or how a tech development helps the car disservices the sport IMO.

    *However, the “Homer” aspect of UK broadcasts does get tiring; nothing against Chilton, but please… Where are the Kobayashi or indeed Ericsson interviews?

    ADAPTABILITY and TEAMMATE BATTLES:
    *All reports are the ’14 cars are much different to drive; it’s lovely seeing the drivers adapting to changing regulations, another reason they’re necessary IMO.

    (Personal Anecdote) I drove my mother’s new car this weekend, and couldn’t come to grips with the brake pedal. It had this long and soft stroke, a bunch of bite at the top but little additional braking performance as I pressed further. Slowing down was jerky, and I found myself braking earlier to ensure I didn’t run over kids in their Easter-best.

    It’s a sign of my crappy driving I’m sure, but also how personal cars are; I can only assume racing drivers are that much more sensitive.

    *I feel Vettel will adapt and battle Ricciardo as the season progresses, but for the first time question Raikkonen competing against Alonso, mostly because Alonso likely communicates his needs. While Kimi surely does as well, he’s entered Fernando’s team, and as the car and regs already expose Kimi’s supposed dislikes, it’ll be a challenge to change the car for him.

    As to Lewis v. Nico, I think you guys are right; Nico’s already feeling embattled. I’d like to see the championship-deciding fireworks Mark mentions, but fear Nico won’t last. Not to wish ill-will upon anyone, but perhaps Lewis suffering mid/late season brain fade or pressure from RBR will help.

    TELEMETRY:
    *I questioned the same as Mark, how did Nico’s quali delta differ from reality? D. Croft mentioned something about tire slip during the banker screwing up the calibration, but speed-sensitive timing makes no sense. How does data show incorrectly, save for input error?

    *During the race, did all of Rossberg’s telemetry to the pitfall fail? FOM showed Rossberg relaying fuel Kg’s remaining, but did he also have to transmit subjective tire wear, engine modes, and the like? Like Todd/Paul, I’d be fascinated seeing the drivers go “analogue” as in the Fangio days, doing it all by feel, but would lament some of the team-aspect/strategy shenanigans the data reams provide

    ROSS BRAWN/M&M (this should be Mr. Mattiaci’s F1B nickname)
    *I believe it was Nigel Roebuck who argued against Mr. Brawn entertaining any Principal/Race strategy role. Roebuck opined Brawn seeks out new challenges, and offered his tenures as championship-winning Team Boss at the most illustrious contructor and ownership of another championship team, and orchestration/creation of another potential champion with a third team as reasons Brawn would forgo (re) joining Ferrari, Williams, or Mclaren.

    I obviously don’t know Mr. Brawn, but the assertion makes sense, and as a near 60-year old, I’d assume he’d dislike the frequent travel as well. If he returns, I could see Brawn in an overarching role for F1 rather than in individual team duties.

    *As to Mr. Mattiaci, I initially thought him a placard holder; however, as reports state he’s a “hatchet man” and a good organizer, could Ferrari have split traditional Principal duties a la Merc/Mclaren? I agree w/ the podcast guys, being an outsider to the Scuderia must be a negative, but perhaps fresh eyes operationally is just what the team needs. If Mattiaci is a savvy learner and knows enough to know what he doesn’t know, ask the proper questions, then place appropriate “racers,” I can see this working.

  • Hang in ther AB. You’re among friends.

  • TurboPhoenix

    On the issue of Mercedes domination – I find any kind of domination a bit boring. Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, whatever team it is, my enjoyment of the race is lessened if somebody just takes off and we never see them until the flag. That said, I’m not one to discount the skill of the driver, or the team, because of that. I just want to see some great battles, even if it’s between team mates and they’re both way out in front of everybody else.