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Join Paul, Mark and me as we discuss the Belgian Grand Prix and review the race. We cover each team as they finished and even chat about that Mercedes debacle. Who was in the wrong and why? We even hand out a few awards just for good measure and for once I don’t do a Lauda impersonation because of hate tweets. ;)

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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.
  • Just an FYI on Seb and his lack of pace. Brundle made a comment during Qualification that the Renault teams commented how much better the engines are when they are new. Both Red Bulls had new lumps/ICE for the weekend but Sebs blew up during practice and he had to use an older one.

    Not sure if it is fully related to race pace but his car didn’t have the same get up and go of the winner and that could have been why especially if you take Ricciardo at his word that he made some serious errors during Qualification.

    • Ah… Good point. I forgot about the old lump. Thx mate.

      • MIE

        Apparently he is getting a new chassis for Monza, the team think there must be something wrong for him to be so far off the pace.

  • Christy

    I love your impressions Todd!

    • Lol. Apparently you may be the only one. :)

      • With me included there are at least two ;-)

      • Same here, love the impressions immensely. hah

      • MIE

        Without the impressions F1B Bingo is a lot less fun.

        Bring back PATRICK HEAD!

      • Tom Firth

        Your Cremer impression makes me laugh out loud everytime I watch the series with thoughts of it.

        Same with PATRICK HEAD , Lauda and Autosport, Keep the impressions coming :)

      • we do like your impressions Todd.!

        • LOL..ok, some have commented they don’t but more commented that they do so I’ll sneak a few in where you’d most expect them because I’m predictable as hell if anything. :) And verbose as hell too. :) I don’t know much but I do know those two things. ;)

          • @_canuck_

            Like the impressions need some humor once in awhile as F1 can be stuffy at times

  • Quick well wishes to Paul as I start the podcast; glad you guys up north are for the most part okay after the quake. In the City, we laughed it off with false nonchalance, and it was nothing like ’89, but some of the Napa/Sonoma damage is sobering.

    Will be interesting hearing your opinions on Rosberg’s drive (not the incident, just general overtaking and sloppiness IMO) and how much more all drivers wrestled with getting clean exits after long corners and stabilizing rear ends on compression.

    • The drivers seat

      Thanks mate. I was luckily further away from the centre than others

  • Rapierman

    1. it was an extremely chaotic qualifying session. The rain had, essentially, added about 20 to 30 seconds to the lap times and even made traction nonexistent. I wasn’t even close to being sure who was going to take pole. There were absolutely no guarantees.

    2. I think, in this case, that the rain would have dictated that kind of sacrifice.

    3. Ricciardo drove a great race, and Vettel finally got it back together and put in a respectable performance.

    4. I think the thing that was going through Vettel’s mind was “Okay, if I can at least make a respectable showing, then my day isn’t a total waste.”

    5. I still call him a “Smiling Joker” (Batman fan). Everyone else calls him a “smiling assassin”.

    6. Even if it doesn’t look like much, Merc had a bit of a disaster.

    7. I think it was nothing more than an error in judgment. What I didn’t like was that Hamilton was trying to take things out of context and trying to play Machiavellian games that he didn’t need to play all because he’s too concerned about people’s perception of him just to try to take control of the team. I’m not a fan of attempts to manipulate the entire Human Race, and after all was said and done, I just recognized it for what it was. He doesn’t need these mind games to prove he’s a great driver. His past performances have proven this. I wish he’d stop that, shut up, keep his head down and gone on with his job. He doesn’t need to pull these stunts.

    8. This is also what happens when you have two alpha male dogs trying to take control of the pack: It only ends in tears.

    9. On the other side of the coin, it would be nice if managers managed like true managers and weren’t susceptible to manipulation.

    10. Yeah, that thing on the antenna getting in Rosberg’s face was a nice bit of comic relief.

    11. Massa’s still having the worst luck, and Bottas is definitely the Real McCoy. I think we might see a win from him some day.

    12. Massa’s a great guy and all, but personality doesn’t win races.

    13. A big improvement for Raikkonen, and I have to blame the Ferrari’s pit crew for not getting off the track quick enough (plus Alonso needs a new car battery, maybe a Duralast).

    14. Which brings to mind the question of if we can ask the FIA to adjust their rules so that they can penalize the constructor team without penalizing the driver if it’s not really the driver’s fault. As an example, let’s look at the penalty that Alonso took. Now, tack the five seconds back on and see where he would have finished without the penalty. Now, let’s suppose that the points difference were taken off the constructor’s points only and let Alonso keep the points he would have earned without the penalty. By my calculations….hmmm…..might not have made a difference since it wasn’t a stop-and-go plus five seconds. Well, okay, that argument kinda lost water there….but you get the idea. If it were a stop-and-go plus five seconds, it could have been a six-point difference, which is what would have been subtracted from Ferrari’s WCC points but left Alonso’s score intact.

    15. If I’m right, it’s usually around 20 seconds in the pit lane.

    16. Maybe that pit crew error threw Alonso’s mind off.

    17. Maybe just a one-time error for Magnussen. Let’s see what happens next time. At least Button drove a decent race this time.

    18. Shocked that Hulkenberg was so far back this time around. At least he made something out of it.

    19. I’m still waiting for a baby to crawl into that TR cockpit.

    20. At the Rossi swap-and-back, I remember yelling at Marussia, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE DOING!!!???”

    21. What I want to know is “What happened to Kamui?” I thought that, unless something disasterous happened (like getting injured in a crash), the driver you pick at the beginning was the one you stayed with until next year.

    22. Pass of the race to Ricciardo, first on Alonso, then on Vettel, early on in the race. It set the tone.

    23. Donkey of the race goes to Rosberg, with honorable mention to Ferrari’s pit crew.

    24. That’s okay, I can also do that Lauda impression.

    25. Drive of the race: Really a tough call, but I’m picking Bottas for his drive from 6th to 3rd. Raikkonen, Vettel and Ricciardo get honorable mentions.

    26. #YouCan’tSilenceUsF1 ;-)

    • Natthulal

      14. Which brings to mind the question of if we can ask the FIA to adjust their rules so that they can penalize the constructor team without penalizing the driver if it’s not really the driver’s fault. As an example, let’s look at the penalty that Alonso took. Now, tack the five seconds back on and see where he would have finished without the penalty. Now, let’s suppose that the points difference were taken off the constructor’s points only and let Alonso keep the points he would have earned without the penalty. By my calculations….hmmm…..might not have made a difference since it wasn’t a stop-and-go plus five seconds. Well, okay, that argument kinda lost water there….but you get the idea. If it were a stop-and-go plus five seconds, it could have been a six-point difference, which is what would have been subtracted from Ferrari’s WCC points but left Alonso’s score intact.

      >>FIA and Race director have made-up rules on the fly in the past, to punish the driver, the team, or both.
      I hope you have not forgotten 2007 season, when FIA chose to punish the team ( McLaren), and not the drivers who benefited from the technology data transfer. This is a circus, and the clowns come up with their own rules for the excitement of the fans.

      • A circus? This is game compared the MLS a rules and changes!

      • Rapierman

        Sorry, didn’t catch 2007. I was away for a few decades.

    • The Captain

      “Which brings to mind the question of if we can ask the FIA to adjust their rules so that they can penalize the constructor team without penalizing the driver if it’s not really the driver’s fault.”

      But then that goes both ways, when the driver screws up and gets a penalty it’s not really the teams fault, so are we going to somehow penalize just the drivers and not the team if a driver is blocking and gets a drive through? How are they going to figure out what the teams points should have been?

      • @_canuck_

        Just dock the team a point or two in this situation, it’s not the drivers fault.

  • Good, I too enjoy the impressions.

    Can someone address this, it was take from Eurosport: But by stripping off downforce and applying clever use of electrical energy strategy the team put Ricciardo in a position to capitalise on the collision between the Mercedes pair and claim another win.

    How can the come about this information or why is it that this kind of stuff isn’t communicated more during the race? Obviously there is the competative advantage aspect but there are several other things that are air with possibly more repercussions (I.e. Telling the driver where the team is going to deploy ERS to gain an advantage in particular corners). Granted, this could be what the article is referring to, but it’s so few and far between. They’re worried about creating more fans and maintaining the current ones, sharing the technical innovations and use of them is important.

    • the drivers seat

      I think we all agree the information on the much heralded ERS/Turbo era is extremely limited. What info the reporters get and are allowed to give out are usually very different, hence the “clever use” wording. If they started to blast out all the info afforded them they would be shut out of the paddock.

    • Conversationally, RBR was using max engine and ERS power modes off La Source and Stavelot, prior to the straights. What this means with the hybrid system was that it was transferring all available MGU-H (Turbo) and ES (battery) energy into the MGU-K (KERS) for horsepower. Normally, the teams run a more conservative ERS setting that seeks to keep the ES charged, using the non-regulated -H to- K transfer for power. This meters the regulations-limited battery capacity/-K discharge over a longer time/distance rather than leave a car vulnerable with depleted ERS after a hot lap (s).

      While under pressure, RBR drivers elected to switch engine modes in-lap, running conservatively in the twisty bits, then switching to boogie time for defense. Notice how busy Ricciardo/Vettel were at the controls during onboard shots; they were switching the “Charge” and “Mode” steering wheel rotaries.

      There was still a shortfall in ERS power; every 4 laps or so, both drivers put in slow Sectors 1/3, precisely where they’d normally be running Max ERS. Other factors come into play like tire deg and on-track defense, but the regularity of this slow lap was telling.

      I disagree with Paul’s assertion the Merc engines were less impressive at Spa; cars running it where consistent in their lap times, pointing to efficient ERS harvest v. discharge capability. Rather, I think it was Paul’s notion that Williams put on too much drag, and also the Works team made mistakes/Rosberg’s shoddy driving and FI falling behind development as causes for passing inability on the straights. The Renault-powered cars still showed ERS deficiencies they countered by streamlining their cars; Ferrari runner didn’t for their similar issues, and were left for dead.

      Cody, you’re right the TV coverage has done poorly explaining what ERS is; I put that down to shoddy initial explanation of ERS by the FIA, a misguided attempt to demystify the tech by the broadcasters, and Paul’s aforementioned notion the teams limit disclosure to prevent advantaging competitors. Recently, Davidson and surprisingly Croft of Sky have been doing a better job relaying how the Hybrid system works; the latter has grasped the concept, correcting past errors, the former taking a more active role explaining how the driver interacts with the system and how it affects performance.

  • AntioBob

    I have to strongly (and respectfully) disagree with Fake Charlie Whiting on the idea that Lewis is “100%” responsible for the controversy. Has he not listened to/read Nico’s response to this situation. Nico has said the fans should read the regs, they’re wrong on the facts, that he’s being picked on by British fans… and he has yet to simply say he made a mistake at Spa. It’s like Fonzie who can’t say the word “wrong.” He also stated days before the race when interviewed by BBC on the Hungary situation, that he’s a victim of press bias and that somehow he was wronged by Lewis not following “team orders” orders. The controversy could have been largely deflected if he were to pull out of this strategy. I’m not saying he’s intentionally creating controversy, I’m just saying he could have avoided it but chose not to.

    • He did say those things as he felt pressure from the media, his team bosses, the booing crowd etc. Of the two, Nico is trying to take the high road but not having 100% success in his own right either although I’m all for drivers speaking their minds and that includes Lewis too.

      • AntioBob

        Yes, but I’d suggest listening to the BBC podcast from last week when James Allen interviews him. He was already willing to compromise the high road. Suggesting that if only people could be in the debrief you’d all see that Lewis was wrong in Hungary.

  • Louis, Amsterdam

    Great podcast and thanks for your in depth analyses of the Mercedes duel! I do agree with that person who complaint about Todd’s Niki Lauda impersonation, I am dutch and can perfectly understand the German language, even when it is a little bit butchered by an Austrian. Niki in German is really interesting and enjoyable to hear. German station RTL has him every race although I doubt if that is a wise thing for Niki considering his Mercedes function! Anyways, loved to hear your opinions!

    • I’ve heard the same thing about Lauda in his native language from speakers, and also Alonso, Vettel, Senna, and so on. I wonder how much of us English-speakers’ impressions are based upon inflection errors and media-skewed impressions. I share as Hell wouldn’t want to be quoted in Spanish/French/Italian/Chinese, all languages I mangle completely.

  • Louis, Amsterdam

    I listened to your remarks about young dutchman Max Verstappen and you are right to delay your opinions. News in Holland today: Max will probably debut in friday free practise session in Japan; so hold your talks please untill there is something concrete to discuss!

  • Darren Fletcher

    Great podcast guys!

    This season has just become riveting! Just when I think things may settle down between Nico and the Hamster they go vertical. Nico “seemingly” went into spa with some dark tension while Hammy seemed refreshed. So now what? I do believe Nico is mostly at fault BUT I completely agree that every driver needs to consider the source when looking at who you are jousting with. The fair fighting we saw at the beginning of the year between the two of them is gone, done, bye bye. I also just have a hard time believing it will not get more ugly before the season is out. With so much at stake you find the best and worst coming out.

    Dani and Val are my drivers of the year, both calm, cool and collected and ready to maximize their positions.

  • Brian B

    As much as we all complain about the type of commentary we get in the states, I find it even more infuriating that they keep bouncing the coverage between nbc sports and cnbc. I’ve had a few races spoiled by tuning in to nbc sports, only to have them announce the results and show highlights, and then air a replay of the race because I didn’t realize it was live 4 hours earlier on another channel. Pick one and stick with it, NBC.

  • Paul, yes, Lewis has caused more of those incidents throughout his career. However, equating that to those situations (Todd) to Massa is irrelevant. They weren’t teammates. You could counter this by citing the Button example in Canada, but that was not as blatant as Nico’s. It seemed like an actual error whereas the one on Sunday was far more clear who should’ve yielded.

    He didn’t deliberately hit Hamilton, but he deliberately did not fall back despite knowing the inevitable consequence.

    • Brody

      That’s why i don’t believe that it was a racing incident. A racing incident implies 50/50 blame, and that surely wasn’t the case with this incident.

  • Brody

    I think that the fans at the end of the race expressed their feelings towards Rosberg, one that of loathing by booing him, because as we know now, deliberately avoiding contact with Hamilton, which removed him of any chance at winning the race, and cutting into Rosberg’s championship lead. Rosberg’s only insipid response during an interview about being booed by fans, is that they were British fans. The disgust by some fans world wide about Rosberg actions, will raise the question and doubt about his actions at Monaco.
    During the podcast it was mentioned just how cool and calm that Rosberg was…..Let Lewis hit him while he was on the racing line, and taken him out of any possible point scoring position….Do you really believe that he would still remain just cool and calm?….I don’t.

  • Half way through listening to the podcast so thought I’d take a short break to mention this.
    re: Massa. It’s easy to dismiss the guy and laugh at his many excuses, but this time, I think he was genuinely correct. Even Team Willliams supported the tire debris issue. To that point, take a look at the following graph comparing lap times for both Willliams drivers. Immediately following Massa’s 2nd stop, when Williams says they cleared the tire debris, Felipe’s times improved dramatically and were right on par with those of Bottas. This doesn’t excuse Felipe’s constant finger pointing at everything but himself, but this time I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-vNTMXH3MEbbG02VnNMbzFqbFU/edit?usp=sharing

  • Paul

    Great podcast. A couple of quick points – as was mentioned in the podcast, Lewis used the word ‘basically’ when describing Rosberg’s private admittance of guilt: ‘he basically said he did it on purpose.’ When considering Toto’s post-meeting comments, does that not confirm what Lewis said? By admitting he didn’t try to avoid a collision to prove a point, surely Rosberg could be said to have ‘basically’ admitted to doing it on purpose. Would that not then point the blame at the media at the track for turning that ‘basically’ into a ‘definitely categorically drove into Lewis on purpose’?

    I’m also somewhat more tempted to believe Lewis’ account of the internal meeting than Nico’s. Based on previous experience, who’s more likely to want to keep things internal and give a media-friendly account of what went on behind closed doors? ;)

    Thanks for the podcasts.

  • First a quick word about earthquakes. The small ones are actually kind of fun. But the big shakes are terrible. We actually use the big earthquakes to tell time, in an ‘AD’, ‘BCE’ sense. I moved to Los Angeles three years AN, or ‘after Northridge’. Finally, Oklahoma has had more earthquakes in 2014 than California. So take that, Flyovers. Hope things aren’t in too much disarray, Paul.

    Great podcast, as usual. I was musing about the Les Combesgate with a friend who is an amateur racer and he had pretty much the same take as Paul’s, with one distinction. He felt that the ‘prove a point’ thing came after, not before the incident. In other words, he was genuinely trying to stick his nose in and cocked it up, then spent the next 80 minutes trying to find a way to big himself up and make it look like he did it ‘basically’ on purpose. I tend to agree with that line of reasoning. It was a racing incident, rub some dirt on it an play on.

    Also, while I’m generally not a fan of post-race penalties I think the ding on K-Mag was warranted. He clearly crossed a line in hip checking Alonso on to the grass at 200 mph. I’m going to be less critical of a move like that when it’s two guys with a history of racing each other, or with World Championship experience. But when the instigator is a 21-year old who has yet to complete a full season in F1, yeah he gets the banhammer.

    And oh what fun it is to watch Maldonaldo. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. I hope he stays in F1 purely for the ancillary entertainment he provides. “I’ll just look down at this button, and go….. WHAT THE EFF!!!!! I’M BACKWARDS! Oh, now I’m forwards again….. now I’m backwards again! Forwards! Argh!!” *crash* This is, of course, ‘something wrong with the car’. Too fun.

  • Just one comment; where was Paddy Lowe in all this mess? Was he not the one chief who was on the radio before the restart in Bahrain? As Paul stated, when you look at the CV’s, Lowe should have put Lauda and Wolff on mute with “I got this”! Since he pushed out Ross Brawn for the mike.

    Prefer Lauda to Autosport

  • TeamDFL

    What? No Lauda impression? This is “Total B*llsh*t!”

  • Chuck C

    If Lewis and Nico lock out the first row at Monza, I promise you this is what will happen: they’ll all form up on the grid, the lights will come on, go out and … the Merc guys will zip on down the track. The rest of the grid will just sit and watch because either a) they were going to be that far down all along anyway or b) they’ll take each other out, the safety car will deploy and everyone else will be happy.

  • John M

    I’m new to the show and even I want to hear the Niki Lauda impression return !!!!!

    • LOL…welcome to the show mate, great to have you on board and listening. Really appreciate it. :)