Did Silverstone ignore F1 warnings over track surface?
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Posted By: Editor   |  28 Aug 2018   |  10:30 pm GMT  |  38 comments

By Oriol Puigdemont

The big disaster which befell the Silverstone circuit at last weekend’s Moto GP event must be made an example of in order to avoid a similar situation in the future. That’s the view of many in both Moto GP and F1 as the post mortem begins.

A bumpy Silverstone track surface played havoc with the MotoGP teams, riders and organisers before the race was cancelled altogether to to unsafe conditions with standing water. Organisers of the recent WEC and F1 events there were fortunate.

The majority of us will agree that the postponement of the Grand Prix of Qatar in 2009 due to rain conditions in the desert was reasonable considering the unusual circumstances that Sunday at Losail. However, the fact that Silverstone blamed the rain as the first on the big list of problems that forced the cancellation of the British Grand Prix, seems to be a bad joke.

Tito Rabat got the worst of it, as he needs to remain a few more days at the University Hospital of Coventry after being brutally run over by Franco Morbidelli’s Honda on Saturday at midday; though in truth, everyone in the Championship lost out.

First, it is clear that the resurfacing works done at the beginning of the year weren’t sufficient. This is something F1 drivers complained about some months ago; Lewis Hamilton even publicly supported his MotoGP colleagues, specifically because of the numerous bumps, which the resurfacing did little to fix.

“The people they hired did the worst job ever,” said Hamilton at the time of the British Grand Prix. “It’s the bumpiest track I’ve ever experienced.

“It’s bumpier than the Nordschleife, which is 100 years old. It’s rattling your freaking eyeballs out of your brain.

“Apart from that it’s fantastic but jeez, they need to hire someone better. I don’t know how you could do such a bad job in layering the track.”

Carlos Sainz added when asked if improvements had been made to the circuit: “I just feel sorry for the MotoGP guys who asked for this change and are probably not going to get what they wanted.”

When MotoGP action commenced at the weekend, Marc Marquez – not a rider who normally complains – confirmed the fears by saying after first free practice: “If the people who resurfaced the track got some money after, they have to think about it.”

A track engineer of an important Moto2 team admitted: “After checking the data of the first session, I thought that the suspension device had been damaged. The effect of the bumps was tremendous. In fact, I even compared the data with teammate’s bike to check if everything was right.”

The company in charge of resurfacing the track was Aggregate Industries, which at this moment hasn’t said anything about the work in the light of recent events. Despite refunding fans and again promising to resurface the track again in a proper way, the facts speak for themselves. And the clearest evidence is that someone should have anticipated that in England, having rain forecast is an obvious possibility – at any track, but obviously at Silverstone, where there have been wet races held since the circuit opened.

Up until this point, listening to some of the most instinctive riders is a good exercise and in that sense Andrea Dovizioso is a clever man. “The problem is that there isn’t a championship commission in charge of checking how the works are done. The promoter, in that case the circuit, hired a company and each one of them has its own standard. But it is obvious that, if none of those two parts could predict the rain effects, someone else should have done it,” concluded the Ducati rider, in one of the more rational statements from such a crazy weekend.

By: Oriol Puigdemont

All images: Motorsport Images

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1

Actually there was a winner from the Silverstone Motogp weekend in Motogp. Marquez retained his lead and those in pursuit have one less race in which to haul his points lead in. I’m sure that it would suit his interests if all remaining Motogp races for 2018 were also cancelled.
Beyond this I am disappointed that racing did not proceed. The riders are professionals and well able to judge their own limits. One of the great differentiations between racing in many US categories and European based racing until recently has been the willingness to race notwithstanding adverse weather conditions. It appears now that European racing is following the US trend using elimination of “unnecessary danger” as the raison d’etre. I do not suggest a suicidal approach but it is apparent that racing could take place but at a reduced pace. Making judgments regarding a myriad of matters including speed both in a straight line and in corners is what racers do or so I’ve always believed. Finding the edge without crashing if you will. Capitulation to the weather unless ridiculous (e.g. in a hurricane) abandons the spirit of racing. Certainly the levels of danger rise but the stars rise to the occasion ,rainmasters such as Clark, Senna ,Schumacher and Hamilton. Race on even at a significantly reduced pace. We marvel at the skill not just the speed. Without doubt there is potentially more ambit for danger but is that not the lot of every driver/ rider? It is up to them individually to determine what pace/ risk they are prepared to tolerate (or do we assume that racers will be unable to control themselves in their quest for victory) To do otherwise is to risk the indifference of the punters from whom everything originates whether tickets subscriptions or advertising. Regards from the antipodes

2

This is reminiscent of a tarmac situation at Texas Motor Speedway when INDYCAR had to postpone a race 10 weeks because of rain creating weepers in a 14-year old asphalt surface (speedways often are repaved with less instance in order to challenge teams and tyre manufacturers). The situation was bad enough that the NASCAR playoff race that November led to an excessively long rain delay of nearly six hours because of tarmac issues. The circuit immediately went to work and installed French Drainage systems (named for a US government official who wrote about it in 1859) to prevent a repeat of the weepers.

This could mean a talk with Bruton Smith’s crew on how to resurface with drainage systems that can allow toleration of rain.

3

Yet another “And so what” article on this website in rapid decline…

4

I originally came to this site because of James’s excellent, intriguing reports when he used to write for ITV. A race weekend was not complete until I had read it.

When I found out about this site I came over straight away and it was hooked straight away.

But yeah, the key USP of this site originally was James’s report of the race. It was quality not quantity, but I dare say this situation appears to be reversed now. Just posting article after article, with many not really of great interest.

5

Echoing other comments here and on previous posts, I’d like to see a piece or comment from James Allen to clarify the future of this blog.

It’s been my go-to F1 site for several years, but since it was sold to the Motorsport group and James has taken on a new, overarching editorial position with them he’s contributed here less and less – and his replacements aren’t providing the quality of content or the insider insights that drew us here in the first place.

It seems obvious the company has paid big bucks to bring the blog into their network and are simply trading off its reputation while James embarks on new projects for them.

Please let the loyal readers know what is happening. I’d rather stop visiting completely than click on and be repeatedly disappointed by what’s published.

Please!

6

I wish that JA had cashed in big time, but obviously that it not so.
The JAonF1.com website has not been integrated into the motorsport.com website and it hasn’t been monetized either to benefit from its following or poster activities. And the owners obviously doesn’t have those intentions either, as JA himself would then have been asked to ensure to spend enough time and attention on it to keeps its value up as of time of transition. That we all are witness to hasn’t happened unfortunately.
Goto motorsport.com and you will find JA’s race strategy reports as they used to come to this website and you will find timely updated news coming through as well about current recent events in the F1 world. While here on JaonF1 you will only get the minimal around each race event and then a few fluffer fillers in between…
If there were any positive intentions to keep this website at previous quality level or boost it even higher, then it would not have been left to decay for so long as we have seen since start of this season.
Good for JA though that he hopefully found an employer who is willing to pay him a decent wage for his quality insights and articles. Sad for us old followers that most of the quality F1 contents now moves behind paywalls, but anything good rarely comes free.

7

Agreed. I didn’t know much about the MotoGP incident so did a quick Google to acquaint myself with the issues. I found this article:

https://www.autosport.com/motogp/news/138335/why-there-no-excuse-for-silverstone-cancellation

not sure if links work – but it is an article at autosport website by the same author and pretty much a copy and paste.

8

Wow, why all the hate?

Whoever was contracted to resurface Silverstone has obviously done a terrible job. This incident will cost Silverstone massively, and the brdc already struggle to afford the F1 GP as it is.

Many of the people complaining on this forum will also be the first to moan when/if we lose the British GP, so this article is most definitely of interest to F1 fans.

Just to piss off the MotoGP haters even more… Here is another non F1 issue to contemplate – Alonso’s WEC win at Silverstone was taken away because bumpy curbs supposedly caused damage to the car, but I wonder if the bumpy track also played a factor?

🙂

9

I was around a paving company like that in the American west…..Thick and Thin Asphalt–Our Best Is None Too Good!

10

Glad that others also agree that many of these articles are really poor. It’s feeling increasingly like a shell of its former self, this site. It started off as mainly being race reports from people other than James and now it’s more articles from people who aren’t James than the man himself. We want to hear his views and we don’t really get them now. This is a massive shame.

The website has been one of the very best in then ten or so years its existed but not for much longer seemingly. The comment section is usually terrible with the same people going on the same rants but the article content was great.

11

Standard of comments have fallen so far the last couple of years it’s getting like youtube now. It’s like 12 year old’s arguing with each other every day. And I think James mentioned that 60% of the user base on this site are Brits, so who’s going to keep on coming on here after it goes behind a paywall next year…

If we can’t watch the races who’s going to want to come and read the reports and other articles?

Especially if there aren’t even about F1 !!!

12

Isn’t it driver’s problem to adjust speed according to the conditions? Drive slower or set up your vehicle differently. The track surface is fine, no big holes or anything, wheels can roll there very well.

Of course standing water is nasty, but again, they are racing in top series and in my opinion should be top drivers who can make their own decisions.

I can’t really agree with the criticism that the article is not F1 related. I think it is very much, because we have the same crooked mentality in F1, when things go wrong, it is too often circuit’s fault and too rarely driver’s responsibility.

13

Of course drivers are responsible up to a point. But there’s a limit to how slow we want to see them race. For example, if F1 drivers had to drive round Silverstone at under 100mph in order to “responsibly” manage wear and risk, would that be OK? Of course not. As usual, the truth is a middle way.

14

To a point I agree with you. But conditions can be such that they are dangerous (the Moto GP race at Silverstone was called off because conditions were deemed too dangerous) or can reduce what should be a display of skill to a farce.

You should always want to put on a show, but it should be a quality show.

15

So you can resurface a race track getting rid of any bumps but keepng camber and water run off ( improving it if necessary) In six weeks between F1 and Motto GP whilst not not disrupting any other race schedules

Please how much more Fox news shock horror are we going to have here.

16

It is unfortunate now that this website has become so syndicated- this article literally makes one reference to Formula 1, and belongs on “jamesallenonmotogp.com”.

This was once my go-to website for Formula 1, but now is down the end of the list.

17

What is this?!? Jamesallenonf1 is the name of the site! Is it a new strategy that it will incorporate MotoGP also now???

We have already seen the decline with fewer updates and less and less updates of James himself. Maybe the strategy is to get a lot of new readers and get loss of the readers that helped build this site from the beginning?!?

Please, get back in track or I’m not the onlyone that will give this site less and less attention…

18

Hamilton said: The people they hired did the worst job ever,” said Hamilton at the time of the British Grand Prix. “It’s the bumpiest track I’ve ever experienced.

“It’s bumpier than the Nordschleife, which is 100 years old. It’s rattling your freaking eyeballs out of your brain.

“Apart from that it’s fantastic but jeez, they need to hire someone better. I don’t know how you could do such a bad job in layering the track.”

So Hamilton proving he is an expert in driving F1 cars on the Nurburgring Nordschlife and civil engineering…

He needs to stop commenting.

19

Ron. Doesn’t this MotoGp shambles kind of prove that Lewis was right?

Here’s a nice vid of him driving around the Nordschleife to keep you happy while you think about it! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1PBE8S6keNQ

20

And you need to get rid of that chip on your shoulder, and stop letting your hatred of Hamilton cloud your judgement of his perfectly justifiable comments.

In my opinion.

21

Some people will find any reason to criticise Hamitlon. He does say some weird stuff at times, but this isn’t one of those times.

22

Jim / Jamie. Because he puts himself up as an expert track engineer rather than an expert track user. Saying the track is really bumpy and commenting on how that could be dangerous in the rain is to be welcomed. Saying that a company could not have done a worse job when the surface passed an FIA inspection is not acceptable. Why not criticise the FIA ? Well because they are not an easy target and he might need the stewards on his side at some point. Perhaps Sutil’s 2012 one word description of Hamilton still applies.

23

His words could have serious financial implications for the contractor and impact on workers livelyhoods.

Crikey TimX, that’s a bit of a stretch. According to Ron W above, Hamilton doesn’t know what he’s talking about – so why would anyone be interested in what he thinks about the track?

24

C63 by your logic then just looking at this site lots of people are interested in what he thinks about lots of stuff.

25

Why is it unacceptable to have an opinion? Is Hamilton subject to the thought police now? He said it as it is and has been proven correct. Watching the cars on the Wellington straight it was obvious that there were massive bumps – even the 7 year old next to me noticed and commented. I’m just glad it didn’t rain at the F1 this year.

26

aezy.. No he should not voice an “ unconsidered” opinion. He is a high profile figure in our sport and his words carry a lot of weight in certain quarters. So commenting on the bumps is good, blaming a contractor without knowing anything about the contractual obligations they had or the BRC/FIA involvement is not acceptable. His words could have serious financial implications for the contractor and impact on workers livelyhoods.

27

But they have the halo now

28

Been a reoccurring theme, but is this James allen on motogp? Why are there so many motogp articles as of late?

29

It’s also a copy and paste from another site.

30

The birthplace of Formula 1 has a crappy new track surface….sounds like F1 related news to me.

31

And yet Lewis was able to post a pole lap nearly 1s aster than 2017 this year in a new heavier Halo Car. Hmmm.

32

yeah the drainage was pretty good that day.

33

I’ll say it, Silverstone is a joke and has been for 30 years. Tradition is everything, progress is nothing. There’s no attempt to even find a balance between the two and it’s run along the ones of a gentleman’s club, you can thank the BRDC for that.

It’s horrible to get to, the facilities for fans are akin to festival 20 years ago and the prices are laughable.

Time to bin it for Brands Hatch.

34

Lee. You don’t really think that Brands would be better for access do you? I wonder what would happen there if 140000 people turned up! The last time I went to the British Gp was in 2015, it was a sell out, and we drove straight into the carpark on race day morning without stopping. I was extremely impressed.

35

Silverstone is easy to get to – what are you on about? It’s central and is in motorsport alley. Fantastic location and a great modern F1 circuit. From the North I don’t fancy travelling past London to Brands Hatch to be honest. The facilities at Silverstone were great this year and last, parking easy, camping easy with plenty of easily accessible, free (or cheap) stuff happening all day. I don’t think that GA tickets are that expensive either.

36

Trust Dovi to sum up the root cause of the problem and the logical solution in three sentences.

.

Tito Rabat’s paid a high price for what’s turned out to be a farcical level of planning and workmanship on Silverstone’s part. Without that event it would be quite funny that at the end of one of the hottest summers on record the British GP would of course get rained off. No doubt there will be re-re-surfacing the track’s near future, or the 2019 British Moto GP will be at Donington Park.

37

JamesAllenonMotoGP

Brought to you by:

F1 fans who had enough PU, DRS and Engine Modes and want real racing, reminding you to watch more MotoGP. 🙂

38
Richard Mortimer

Ha, Sebee, yes!

Time to re-name the blog “James Allen & Friends on F1 & Moto GP”

This is crazy!

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