Mind the gap: What could Ferrari have done differently to sway Singapore F1 GP?
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Sep 2018   |  11:10 pm GMT  |  337 comments

As with 2017, Singapore was a potentially decisive race weekend in the championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Another race – along with Germany, Hungary and Italy – that should have been won by Ferrari slipped away through a combination of driver and strategy; the balance heavily slanted here towards Hamilton and Mercedes.

Mind the gap

Often in F1 race strategy, it’s all about the gaps between cars and ability to put your car back out into clear air. On many circuits with the combination of tyres brought by Pirelli, this sorts itself out relatively simply as the faster cars pull away from the midfield and large gaps open up for them to pit into, thus not losing too much time when they rejoin.

It’s the biggest advantage top teams have in this so called two-tier F1 where the top three teams are so superior on pace to the midfield. It makes their life so much easier on race strategy 90% of the time.

But on street tracks sometimes finding the gaps is not so easy and the story of the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix was the way the teams worked the concertina effect created by race leader Lewis Hamilton who had the prerogative to control the race as he saw fit; nursing his first set of tyres, the hypersofts, at over ten seconds a lap off qualifying pace before bolting on Lap 12 to cover off the undercut.

We’ve seen this before in Monaco, a famous Rosberg/Hamilton encounter in 2013 springs to mind. But in Singapore it was the desire to make the race a one-stop that necessitated getting the hypersofts to last to around Lap 15 or 16 where a switch to softs would take you to the end.
Everyone knew this as they sat in the train behind Hamilton. To undercut you need to be within around three seconds of the car in front. This depends however on what tyre you switch onto.

In Singapore the soft tyre was slow relative to the two softer compounds, but the warm up of the tyre on the outlap was the real problem when attempting an undercut. This tactic would only work if you could switch the tyre on straight away. The soft was at least two seconds slower on warm up than ultra soft.

So having initially started behind Verstappen, he passed for second place milliseconds before the Safety Car was deployed for the accident involving Esteban Ocon – the second time recently that Vettel has squeaked in a move under the wire as the Race Director was reaching for the “Deploy Safety Car” button – Vettel was in a position to look at a strategy attack on Hamilton.

Hamilton was playing with the concertina, lapping in the high 1m47s until Lap 11, when he suddenly bolted and pulled a gap of 2.2 seconds on Vettel over two laps. On tyres that had not suffered from following another car, Hamilton had more pace, so Ferrari had to act even though they did not have the gap they required back to Perez in the Force India.

There was a nice five second gap between Ricciardo and Perez – and growing fast – but Ferrari knew that they had to try to bring Vettel in and fit the ultrasoft to attack Perez and hope that their driver could get the job done quickly enough that when Hamilton reacted on the next lap and pitted, he would come out behind Vettel.

Pitting a lap or two earlier and fitting the soft would not have won the game.

This was a high-risk strategy for Ferrari because if Vettel was not able to pass Perez, who was in a pugnacious mood that night, having hit his team mate at the start and later slammed into Sirotkin, then he risked losing second place to Verstappen. This is exactly what happened as Perez held up Vettel for two laps, costing him a further three championship points.

On top of that Ferrari were fitting a tyre where the gamble on faster warm up on the out lap had to pay off, otherwise the risk of the tyre performance dropping off later in the race would outweigh the upside.

It is easy in hindsight to criticise Ferrari’s strategy in Singapore, but on the pit wall you have to make a decision in the heat of the moment; they had few other options, as they could feel their grip on the world championship fading away.

The longer it had gone on, Hamilton would have pitted without challenge and the chance to undercut would have gone. Stay out too long and Vettel risked being undercut by Verstappen.

The danger for Maranello is the damage to morale of losing a championship every single team member knows they should have won, having done such a wonderful job in the last year to turn the team around and build a dominant car. It would lead to questions about the driver, the leadership and much else besides.

Hence the willingness to take a risk to try to make something happen in Singapore.

Alonso gives a reminder of his class in the midfield

A little further back in the field was a driver who left Maranello in 2014 having lost belief that they could perform the technical turnaround that they have subsequently done.

Fernando Alonso got the maximum out of his car and the reverse strategy that he was given by the McLaren team, starting on the more durable ultrasoft tyre. He was able to take advantage of the concertina and the fact that the midfield cars that qualified in the Top ten ahead of him were all on hypersofts and had to stop early into traffic. Behind him his fellow Spaniard did the same thing and followed his mentor.

It meant that the likes of Perez and Grosjean got stuck behind Sergey Sirotkin, who had stopped on lap 3 under the Safety Car and who held them up significantly and it opened up a nice gap for Alonso and Sainz to pit into, yielding seventh and eight places.

Charles Leclerc was another beneficiary of this strategy in the Sauber, although he had to pull off an overtaking move on the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, to get into position to benefit. He pitted on the same lap as Alonso, Lap 38 and picked up a very handy ninth place –his sixth points scoring race from 15 starts in F1.

A couple of other interesting details; Magnussen was on the right tyre but did not do what Alonso, Sainz and Leclerc did and instead he pitted early from Ultrasoft tyres behind the train – which shows that they had modelled the race very differently to the other three teams (and on this occasion incorrectly).

Meanwhile Toro Rosso chose to start both cars on hypersoft, which suggests that they also modelled the race incorrectly as they believed it would be an aggressive undercut race and/or they could extend longer on the hyper.

As most teams outside the top ten believed that this race was quite obviously one to start on ultrasoft, it is strange they committed to hypersoft with both cars. It didn’t pay off.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli.

Race History Chart

Kindly provided by Williams Martini Racing, click to enlarge

The number of laps is on the horizontal axis; the gap behind the leader is on the vertical axis.

A positive sign is an upward curve as the fuel load burns off. A negative sign is the slope declining as the tyre degradation kicks in.

The opening 12 laps tell their own story, compare it with previous race history charts on this page and you will see the extreme way that Hamilton was controlling the pace on the hyper soft at the start.

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If Hilton was lapping 10s a lap slower than in quali and looking after his tires why was verstappen not able to overtake?


Why are there two sets of lines in the lap race history?


Interesting debrief of the Singapore GP by Chief Strategist James Vowles. He also answered questions from fans.



there has always been a gap between mercedes and ferrari, and that gap is hamilton. so long as hamilton is at mercedes, ferrari will not overcome that gap. hamilton has organised the mercedes race team into a well oiled community with a sublime communication that is unbeatable. hamilton brings his best and demands the best from each one of his engineers. those who believe in not crying over missed opportunity and believe in it not mattering much have been asked to stay away. only those who care about winning and not losing remain with hamilton. that my friends, is the secret of the mercedes success. you can hear it all here.



Little disapointed with JA on F1. Who is actually reviewing. On the inside
JA says he report what his insiders tell him- and in todays world that means his insiders will tell JA only what they want him to report. I am assuming that this email wont past censors but here it is.


James, why did Ferrari not try the undercut with Kimi against bottas?

Secondly could Ferrari have used Kimi to help Vettel? If Kimi dropped the pace and ran similar to Perez opening a clear pit stop window for Vettel?



I like your 2nd idea. That could have been the difference for Vettel’s chances of retaining 2nd or winning the race.

But something is going on between Vettel and Ferrari. They have not backed Vettel fully in this championship. The only thing they have done is give him the best car on the grid, even dominant, as James stated in his article.


I just read vettle saying he targets 6 wins out of 6, as thats the only way to win the tittle

If thats the new motivation what was it before….personally this why hes behind in the first place.

Every race should be a win as priority!!!


Or to put it another way Hamilton only needs to finish in frount of Vettel once and Vettel will loose the championship if Hamilton maximises points at the other times.


That can’t be your ultimate goal ever in any race if you turn the modes down. To be fair he’s not the only one, Lewis etc. You can not call it the pinnacle really…maybe in an another discipline


@Chris D

The art of being a successful F1 driver has always included the ability to manage the engine, tyres and fuel. Always. The way they do it might have changed, but the basic principles have not.


ChrisD, has F1 ever been the pinbacle then? It has always been about knowing when to push, and when not to.


All this complaining about the sport becoming only about tire management… remember that they lost in Q3 too, and together with Merc are way ahead of the rest of the field, and that is not about tires. So it’s a bit weird it is presented as an excuse for the guy with the most powerful car. If it’s all about tire management and the rest makes no difference, why don’t you put Vettel and Lewis in Williams and Sauber, and see what happens?


Come on we all know that if Vettel was leading at first corner he would of won.That is what f1 has become a race to the first corner then the rest victory laps


we all know that if Vettel was leading at first corner he would of won

Like Monza you mean ?



Australia, China, Baku, Austria, Silverstone, Germany, Spa and Italy. I might be wrong but pole sitters have lost more races this year than they have won.


first races You mentioned were safety car wins. Lottery.



That’s why it’s a bit too simplistic to say that F1 has become a race to the 1st corner. In F1, anything can happen. Vettel was supposed to be 5 – 0 in the last five races but found Hamilton 4 – 1 instead with a 40 point lead.


In a straight fight in equal equipment the same backing, equal enginers, garage guys everything possible being equal. I would certainly put my money on Hamilton against Vettel.

But as always in this quasi sport it’s always hypothetical, theory. Of course it would be easy to say they would beat Hartly, Grosjean and a few others. But in this scenario I believe we would have to upgrade Rosberg for example. But my theory is that Lewis now is at the peak of his career, even when it comes to rain


I think Lewis’ peak was 2008.
The 14-18 car takes the credit in this era….to the extent that even Rosberg won a title in it…


LOL, obviously not serious in this. Hamilton’s season to this point is one of the greatest seasons of driving I have ever seen. There have been a couple of races where he was off the pace, but no big mistakes to talk of.

Don’t deny what your eyes and gut are telling you, just because you don’t like the results.


Absolutely agree KRB – some of his races this year will surely become part of the Hamilton legend in the future.


Lkfe. As usual you are quite happy to invent your own narrative! Between 2014 and 2016 Mercedes had no effective competition from the other teams. I have never denied this, I have denied that the teams are unable to develop mid season, as this is completely untrue, not sure where you got that idea from.

Lewis of course did have competition for those titles, in a way that Schumacher never did in his dominant years, and it came from his team mate. This was clearly proven by Nico making the most of the points advantage the reliability miss match gave him, and scooping the title for himself in 2016.

Can you really see no difference between the first three years of the PU regs and the last two? You don’t think that Ferrari had a chance of winning it last year? Or that the only thing keeping them from the top this year has been driver and team errors? Oh sorry, I forgot, you’re one of ‘those’ people who think Merc have it all under control and can pull extra performances out of the sand bag when required…..


I freely admit that Lewis has been supreme this year…everything must be settled in his life at the moment.
My preference for the 2008 version remains though as he was involved in a “competition” where there was uncertainty in the results.
7 different drivers from 5 different constructors won races in 2008.
With 3 rounds to go the top 3 where covered by less than 1 victory.
What we have had in the past 3 1/2 years is essentially a procession -one dominant team and everyone else unable to develop in season. (jump in here TimW and tell us about there’s always been a dominant team, or how Ferrari is the fast car this year…)
It’s many of the same “faces” in every thread that endlessly punch out prose on his greatness in the absence of any real competition and then defend him remorselessly when anybody points out the obvious -seemingly happy to be winning for winnings sake and gleefully passing record milestone after milestone like they are toll detection points on a freeway….
The beep you hear is F1’s heartbeat getting slower and slower…


Ab bless you Mr L , try not to be too sad 😢. You never know , Renault might become the dominant team next year 😂😂😂😂😂



Maybe you’re right, not sure but leaning towards that. Could be that he was at this hight 2008 I could certainly see evidence of that. Then maybe he is now only at the peak of his career. Now he reaps the fruits of those early years in a very, very good car


Lkfe, so a driver in a good car contributes nothing? None of his drives are worthy of note? I wonder if your attitude would shift somewhat if your favourite driver (as opposed to your least favourite) was good enough to be in a top team….


As usual Tim, my comment was in english and you’re responding in dalek! Did i say “a driver in a good car contributes nothing? None of his drives are worthy of note?” or anything like it? Are you presuming that Lewis is my least favourite driver? Does a driver need to be “good enough to be in a top team”? Is Bottas?
Would you like me to insert some blank posts so that you can just create your own narrative?


Lkfe, “The 14-18 car takes the credit in this era”.

If the car takes the credit, then the driver doesn’t, that’s how I took your comment, maybe I’m wrong, and if so you have my heartfelt apologies, but I really don’t think I am.


Rosberg is a great driver, maybe he needed a few mechanical problems from Lewis’ side of the garage to win, but he also beat Schumacher in identical equipment too. He more than quadrupled Wurz’ points in 2008, scored all of Williams points in 2009, beat Schumacher in 2010, 2011 and 2012. only Hamilton consistently got the better of him….


I think the Schumacher comparison is unfair. He was over 40 and 3 years out. Still in 2012 he was faster around Monaco than Rosberg. Would Rosberg have beaten a Schumacher of 1995? Or 2000?



Rosberg comprehensively beat Schumacher during their time together as team mates. That’s simply a fact. There might be any number of reasons for that, but it doesn’t change what happened.


James; great analysis of todays’ F1 race strategy.

Here is my problem with what you have to analyze. It is the state of regulation today. F1 has gone through many eras. I.e. the 1.5L and 3.0L side by side era, the turbo era and return to normally aspirated engines, treaded tires and return to wider slicks, etc. Something always wins out in the experiment.

Seems to me the ‘hybrid era’ if that is what we call this has a multiplicity of fronts; All “over-regulation” in order to make everyone equal has eliminated the competition factor so key to racing. Why do we have the Constructors Championship? If everyone has to build the same car, who cares who is best at nitpicking who stops for tires first? “WOW – Ferrari wins the Constructors Championship using the Undercut” – No, Ferrari beat Pirelli ! It’s tires more than the cars. It’s the mental game of tire strategy. Pirelli is betting no one will ever finish a race of the tire they build. Ferrari is betting somehow they can make the tire last longer than it is allegedly supposed too. WOW – great entertainment for race fans. I thought F1 is now all about entertainment. Now it is not fast cars or pretty pit girls – it is about watching tires wear out. In fact one cannot even see that except for the close-up on the tv screen of ‘blistering’ on the right rear ! ! How can Pirelli sell tires that fall apart right in front of the viewer ? They really used too when Nigel Mansell was driving !! It was life threatening when it happened. That was when they were supposed to last. Sparks and drama and out of the race ! Nigel lives ! Now have to analyze the wonderful tire charts supplied by Pirelli to know who was the bravest driver !

Now we take it for granted the cars are fast. Once in a while it slid out that a new track record has bee established . . . opps! . . almost two decades for our F1 cars to match the lap time of Juan Pablo Montoya in the Williams BMW v10 engine ! That must have been some car and some driving and some constructor! That’s entertainment.

Now the grand opera impresario is Pirelli not Enzo Ferrari.


Mansell was on Goodyears


So here is a challenge; Let the front runner big three run what we presently have – the hybrid. Permit the middle and back field guys run a bigger displacement normally aspirated car with tires of their choosing – like the Montaya Williams car, which should be a lot cheaper, and let it entertain the fans. Even, gasp, let them use their own aero formula, gasp. I know, it would be heretical to allow competition ! It used to be admired when someone developed an “unfair advantage” through creative engineering.


Let’s have three different fornulas in everycrace simultaniously. Sounded like a joke when I first thought about this idea. But That’s what F1 does, at last under Bernie. Try
$#!t out and see what happens


Introducing… the sensational new rap group from Maranello made up of none other than Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Mauricio Arrivabene



Including their 2018 hits:

“Outbraked Hotel” – #1 in Azerbaijan

“Binning In The Rain” – # 1 in Germany

“You Just Bring Me Showers” – # 1 in Hungary

“On The Wingman’s Lap” – # 1 in Italy

“Can’t Match This” (aka Hammertime) – # 1 in Singapore

and many more….

Download them now on F1.com.

Tifosi Disclaimer: Viewer Discretion is advised.







The think that constantly ruins F1 for everyone is the amount of information endlessly parroted during a race.

This only serves people that like knowing information and not race fans.

Brilliant plans and such are things that should be divulged after a race.

It would give the press something new to identify and discuss rather than bland generic questions due to there being nothing left to ask.

What im driving at here is that the tyres should have no obvious markings.

The team itself would know of course by a small code on the sidewall.

This way teams would not be responding to what another team has done and bloody well neutralizing every situation.


Wow! Brilliant idea! Tell this to Liberty Media. Oh the suspense behind this idea if it was rolled out (pun intended). ** Sigh ** – would it ever happen?


Hmmm…just brand, in official brand logo color, but no knowledge of actual tire type. Interesting.

Couldn’t they tell by laptimes though?


I think the teams are savvy enough to tell the difference in the tyres without the bright colour markings – they’re there for spectators and viewers. If the mechanics couldn’t tell what rivals were using directly from the pit lane, it would just becomes someone’s job to find out. I agree it would be fun if they didn’t know. But then the ideal would be to allow all drivers to choose their own tyres and make sure the choices are good enough for teams to want to risk different strategies (different mixes of tyres and numbers of stops). That way the front 10 drivers wouldn’t be stopping in the same lap window all the time.



That’s how they did it once, mixed tyres depending on the circuit and track conditions. I don’t see a problem with it.

They still do it in motogp and it adds excitement.


I think Ferrari were stuck in a position where there wasn’t really much they could do. I’m glad they at least had a go but given the way the sport is with tyre management, it was very clear very quickly that the only option they had was to trundle to the finish.

Hats off to Seb for pulling off the pass of the race though. I was a ballsy move against someone who isn’t afraid of erm… a bit of action.

Dull race overall, but the powers that be have mandated that that’s how it is now. The sport is too much about the engineering and not enough about the racing. But my guy won against the odds so it’s hard to moan too much.

I’m starting to worry a lot about Liberty. The advertising is getting to be a joke, the overlay graphics on screen are just an absolute cheese fest and all the noise being made about in play betting is an extremely distressing sign. Bratches makes my skin crawl.

“this is the latest step in our mission to make Formula 1 the world’s leading sports entertainment experience”


“This deal allows us to develop new and exciting ways for Formula 1 fans around the globe to engage with the world’s greatest racing spectacle”

No, Bratches, you’re just fleecing dumb people of more of their money. Every word out of his mouth makes me feel ill.


What they have done thus far? is’nt impressive, what have they done? And Bratches why is he still there, if a changes is about to come? Can anyone stand him?


100% agree with your assessment of Liberty, an exuding smell is emerging that suggests they’re not genuinely interested in F1 beyond opportunism


Exactly Lucia. And at the expense of anything and everything by the looks of it. Can’t decide what’s worse, them or Bernie?!


Gasly stated on the French TV that they were hoping to make the hypersofts last much longer than the other teams as they’ve done in the past, hence their strategy choice


I wonder how long it will be before we lose the term ‘driver’ and they become ‘Tyre Managers’.


Another award they can hand out and the most prestigeous. Tyre manager of the year goes to to both Seb and Lewis also they win the get your engine last award. Tied also here although Seb made some daring down turning of all modes including water from his bottle as soon as he made his firs pitstop especially at Spa.

A consolation prize goes to Sirotkin and Vandoorne, who had no mode to play with at all. They will win a party mode for the whole winter brake, yea


Hi James, going completely off-topic here but I noticed the comment sorting hasn’t been available anymore fora while now (both on mobile and desktop). I always used it to scan through the top comments when there are like 200+ Any chance of bringing it back? Thanks and keep up the good work here.


Gee, that graph makes it abundantly clear what a great job that wingman was doing.

He is no longer the wingman….he is now the “human handbrake”!!


And that comment makes it abundantly clear how desperate you are to pretend Lewis isn’t very good. F1 must be tough and unpleasant watch for you.



You missed my point mate…
Nothing to do with Lewis…rather a massive dig at Mercs (and Ferrari’s) recruitment policy’s.
It is tough and unpleasant to watch a sport that doesn’t have the best drivers in the best cars…
There…did i get you to take your eye off Lewis for a few seconds?


Lkfe. Merc’s initial recruitment of Bottas was driven by their need to get the best driver available at incredibly short notice. His retention for this year was driven by the fact that he did a good job last year, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you think Ricciardo should be in that car? If so, he wasn’t available in 2016 or 2017, and you are also assuming he would do a better job than Valterri. We don’t know if that’s true or not.


Sure. I believe you. Because your posting history makes it clear you’re being totally honest there…


To be fair, mate, Bottas has been struggling for several races now. 38yr old Kimi is performing better.

It was a similar story last year for Bottas, very impressive starts to the season (this year too) but then falls away badly mid season onwards.


Nick, replying to this comment because I can’t reply to the other. Serious-ish. Many kart races behind me and half a season of a national one make championship until the car was killed (NOT my fault) and we couldn’t afford to carry on. Two podiums. Badly f**ked ankle in the crash. Long time ago now.

I have three cars. all of them track ready, all three of them set up by the best in the business. Still pretty regular on track days. Done many many laps at Spa and the Ring. Used to organise road trips with some very high end exotica too.

I have many friends heavily into the industry, some of them in F1. It’s amusing seeing them on the TV. Gets me some good freebies and invites sometimes. And some great access too, been in the garages with a live pitlane many times. Spa usually. Met loads of F1 folks because of it. Mark Webber’s dad was a fun one, top bloke. Was crazy seeing him pouring over the data in the garage at 6pm on a Saturday. And had a good chat with Schumacher once while I was having a smoke in the Ferrari / Marlboro smoking booth (they’re the only ones allowed one!) when he was driving for Merc. Post qualifying but I was still surprised how chatty he was to some random bloke but he knew a photographer I was with so it helped. Didn’t tell him I thought he was a knob of course…

I could rattle on but I won’t.

No driving god by any stretch but I know how to pedal and I’m not wet behind the ears.


No driving god by any stretch but I know how to pedal and I’m not wet behind the ears.

Ha fair play. I’ve done a fair bit of karting but nothing serious, I’d say I’m of slightly above average ability! I’d love to do some proper track days at some point. Maybe when I retire! An endurance race with some mates would be great fun.

Was Schumacher having a cigar?!


I agree Nick. Bottas seems to have had his late season off the boil moments. But Sochi is coming up, he did ok there last time, maybe he’ll get lucky.


Agreed. I can see Ferrari and Merc being very evenly matched at Russia. Shame it’s a car park track.

Just picking up on our exchange from one of the previous threads, (no email notifications these days) have you done any serious racing?


Ferrari knew that they had to try to bring Vettel in and fit the ultrasoft to attack Perez and hope that their driver could get the job done quickly enough that when Hamilton reacted on the next lap and pitted, he would come out behind

I listened to the autosport podcast on Monday and they talked about Ferrari losing track of Perez.

Starting his in-lap Vettel was about 2.2 secs behind, and had lost a second over the previous two laps. The quoted bit amounts to “Ferrari hoped he’d go 3 seconds faster than Hamilton on his out lap, including a pass on Perez” really ?

I think the answer is they thought Perez was going to be a lot further ahead than he was and Vettel and Hamilton would both come out behind him. Vettel might make 3 secs without obstruction and if he made less there was a chance Hamilton would be vulnerable getting past Perez.

As it was at the end of his out lap Vettel was 1.6 behind Perez. Hamilton came out in front of both and at the end of that lap the gap to from Perez and Vettel to Verstappen had grown by 4 seconds. That was Max’s opportunity. And from then any attack by Seb would mean an extra pit stop, so he toured round neither able to attack nor needing to defend.

Except for Hamilton’s issue with traffic, Max didn’t have the chance to attack and could barely see Vettel behind. So round and round they went with less drama than a carnival parade. Perez’ temper tantrum was the only other thing of note in the last 40 laps. The only thing which was going to cost Lewis (or any of the top 7) his place in the procession was falling asleep in the boredom. They all stayed tuned in, which is more than the TV audience did.


Errrr…employ a different number one driver. Far too many mistakes recently, no point in saying where he “should” be. Considering that Merc and Ferrari control most of the grid its a joke.


Yes, I really believe Fernando would be ahead in the Ferrari. Just look at 2012, he nearly one in a car that started the year as a dog!

Bring Fernando back. Let’s have a battle between the 2 giants of their generation, like Prost and Senna.


They already did, haven’t you seen the news? 🙂


J, i rather suspect that the new hotshot will have to do as he is told for awhile. Neither Ferrari or Merc want their number one drivers interfered with. Just maybe Kimi is hoping to stuff Seb in a customer car….politics is the name of the game right. Bottas seriously! =)


Ferrari COULD have vetoed these PU regulations!

How do you like the PUs now Ferrari? Hybrid enough for ya?


Ferrari COULD have employed a top class driver though. But they didn’t…..twice


Yeah, good point, Sebee.

With resources (like Ferrari has) they can react to BIG changes.

They still have road cars with V12 engines! C Horner’s ‘high-revving V12s’ might be just right for Maranello.

Certainly, and all electric Ferrari seems anathema. I can’t see F1 going down that road. Also, what have aero slots, etc. got to do with ‘road relevance?’

Shooting themselves in the foot!



What is Mercedes selling people here? AMG cars? #1 AMG engine by volume is the V8. Mercedes also have a V12 in their AMG cars. There is no hybrid Mercedes worth speaking about.

We are nearing the 5th season of Hybrid PUs in F1, and the amazing technology found in the PUs cannot be monetized as a product worth speaking about. It makes no difference for the masses. PU is certainly not greener than V10s or V12s – but let’s not talk about that fluff. Let’s also not talk about how Hybrids have been a product for a decade and a half before F1 decided to stumble onto it.

Ahhh…marketing. I just accept it as a necessary evil, except when it #^@*$ with the things I enjoy.


Sebee, it really is time you started your own blog…..


LukeC, that’s true, especially if he repeats the same thing over and over and over again for years and years and years! Is it not also true that a lot of people come to this site to learn about, and talk about F1 in general, rather than just the current engine regulations? Is it not also true that people may well have clicked on this article to learn about and talk about the strategic options available to the teams in last weekends Singapore Grand Prix?

Don’t you think it would be better if Sebee started his own blog called ‘Why PUs stink’ or something similar? Then like minded people could go there to indulge in endless and pointless discussions about how wonderful the old engines were? Then he wouldn’t have to hijack James’ site with the same old stuff again and again and again……and again.



Lemme guess…

The MMC Blog


He could, but the reality is that more eyeballs will see his comments when he posts them here.


hybrid road cars are steadily increasing in numbers, becoming more and more efficient with time.

f1 racing in the last 4 years have been a lot closer than it has ever been and fans love it. you can because the grandstands reflect this.


BS alert, track attendances are at tecord levels and still increasing. So when Aveli talks about the grandstands reflecting the popularity of F1 he is quite correct. So thanks for alerting us to your own BS…..


Lkfe and LukeC. Hybrid sales are increasing every year, they continue to massively outsell full electrics. Donybelieve everything Sebee tells you, the manufacturers know the truth, Sebee does not care what the truth is.


fake news or bs!


Thanks for the laugh aveli.

Clearly the marketing machine is doing its job.


Aveli, despite having been shown the factual correct numbers now at multiple occasions and from F1’s own media source, which shows a continued decline of spectators on F1 year over year now for the past 8 years, you keep posting false and deliberate manipulating information and BS.


I think I might have read this comment before. Once or twice…


you might have, when i first recommended that f1 cars should harvest energy under braking for later use.


So what are you saying?

That my comment is the problem?

Or that PUs claimed to be here for road relevance, while clearly not being road relevant at all and not saving fuel at all are the real problem?


And you shall hear it again.. And again…. Until F1 gets back to what it needs to be, instead of being a marketing channel for irrelevant, pie-in-the-sky Prius tech that people literally have to be bullied and threatened into buying.


La Ferrari is a v12 hybrid. So why can’t we have v12 hybrids in F1? One day they might drop the Mguh and we’ll be left with a v12.


If nothing else to scear the s**t out or the newbie’s out there. Make a V12 and a improved Mguh turbo and all you can Think of:))


LukeC, bullied and threatened into buying?! You really are full of it.


Tim and C63, we currently have a premier single seater category in the world with effectively two tiers, where one tier is unable to compete with the other. We are now in year 5 of seemingly never -ending one team domination; We have cars lapping in races 10-15 seconds off their qualifying pace to ration fuel, PUs and tyres. We have a positively underwhelming sound to boot and you guys are going on about hybrid sales.

If you’re so deliriously happy with the state of F1 as it currently is then great, but you need to acknowledge that there are also plenty of fans who are far from happy with things as they currently are.

I was hoping that something might change with the 2021 regulations, but since things are so great why bother changing anything.


Luke. You are saying that the sales figures for hybrid cars are made up, that the manufacturers claim to have made and sold more of these cars than they really have, and also that the government is in on it and happy to pretend that more hybrids are registered for use on our roads than actually exist. Have a think about how difficult that would be to achieve, how many people would have to be in on it and the general impossibility of keeping it all secret. No Luke, I can’t prove you wrong, in the same way that I can’t prove that the world is ruled by giant lizards in disguise, but I don’t have to. It’s your responsibility to prove your conspiracy theory is correct, it’s not my job to prove it to be nonsense.

P.S You’re obsession with Al Gore is unhealthy, you need to move on.



Sales figures are made up – really? That’s your argument? Tim’s right, you’re just making yourself look daft.

With regard to track attendances being at record levels – the fact remains they are. More people than ever are prepared to pay to watch the cars which you claim are killing F1. Clearly there is an aspect of your argument which doesn’t hold water.



Indeed, hybrid sales are inflated, if not outright made up. Can you prove me wrong?

All of Al Gore’s Armageddon predictions have turned out to be wrong, and everything to do with Al Gore is a lie, including hybrid.

F1 needs to cleanse itself of all of this Al Gore nonsense because it’s a very bad image to present to people. Plus it’s dishonest and it insults people’s intellects. I mean F1 is saving fuel and hybrids are good for the climate.? Who is foolish here?


Luke, I can’t believe you’re trotting out that Suzuka nonsense again! You even admitted last time that you have no idea if they are true or not!

Hybrid sales figures made up? You’re just making yourself look foolish.



The hybrid sales figures are made up as far as I know. It’s another marketing strategy to make them seem popular so that people will buy them.

But anyhow, with regard to track attendances. There are many things to consider here:

1. More and bigger grandstands are now available, whereas before many people couldn’t but tickets at many venues. Suzuka is the most extreme example with as many as 6 million ticket applications made each year in the 90s.

2. Many people go for reasons other than f1 ie concerts, hospitality etc.

3. There are now GPs in very populous cities who happen to have local drivers, for example, Mexico.

4. Lewis Hamilton brings a huge entourage to many GPs.

The real question to ask is how many people go to GPs because of the hybrid, save fuel, save the planet virtue signalling aspect?

Is this something that has actually improved the sport, the spectacle, or is it merely something that people have learned to just put up with as life-long fans of the sport?



Sorry to double dip. Hybrids make a lot of sense for people who would have previously bought a diesel and are not yet convinced about full battery. Look at the sales figures if you don’t believe me.



I don’t mean to butt in, but when you say it doesn’t work, how do you reconcile that statement with the fact that track attendance’s are at record levels? I know that TV viewing figures are down, but you have to took at that in the context of TV viewing figures in general and remember the impact PPV has had. It is far too simplistic to say x eyeballs watched in the 80’s (or whenever) and y watch now and draw all manner of conclusions.


TimW, those are all baseless assertions. There is plenty of evidence that people do know who Al Gore is, even in Europe, and even if they don’t they are indirectly influenced by idiot politicians who have an Al Gore fetish.

And this is not about hybrids and how much financial sense they make to you, if at all. This is about whether a fantasy racing series such as F1 is an an an appropriate place to demo fuel saving and saving the world with Al Gore sanctioned tech.

Ive said it before and I’ll say it again, Al Gore, fuel saving and planet saving virtue signalling are incompatible with F1. It’s like the Catholic Church electing Richard Dawkins as its next pope. It just doesn’t work.


Luke, nobody cares about Al Gore! You realise that here in Europe hardly anyone knows who he is, he certainly doesn’t influence anyone’s car buying decisions! People buy hubrids because they make financial sense, and there is no downside to owning one.

Yet again you are simply transposing your own opinions onto the rest of the world, you don’t like hybrids, and therefore no one does!!



Al Gore says that unless you buy a hybrid the world will melt. That’s being threatened into buying hybrids — by definition.

In addition, according to market researchers, hybrid ownership has been linked to an Al Gore fetish. I wonder if Jean Todt, as well as the CEOs of at least some of the manufacturers currently in F1 have an Al Gore fetish too?

My view is that Al Gore and F1 are incompatible and Al Gore needs to be banished from F1 ASAP.


v6 hybrid provides enough power..


Luke, and the most powerful ever F1 engine in race trim iiiiiiis?!


There is no such thing as “enough power”.


Golly, just been on my mum’s laptop and I have seen that there are lots of people that have messaged me.

Unfortunately, not able to reply most times as my phone can’t load the bottom page


Ahhh Ferrari. What might have been. I’m thinking this season and last season would have turned out very differently for them in Alonso had been in the car. Such a missed opportunity.


Two more years of whining because he can’t win no thanks.

He’s better off at the back of the grid battling it out with Stroll, and a new set of new tyres on low feul fast laps to make him feel good. A win win situation


Dream on! Alo missed out 5 times in a row.


Aye but Ferrari never build Alonso the best car in f1 along with the best engine. Alonso almost won 2 championship driving a car that was garbage.


The 2010 Ferrari wasn’t garbage.


He certainly will need the best in every aspects regards car, PU and what got you, to win and keep his head straight. Moreover he needs Brio to make it a little easier for him Now if that wont do it you just have to make sure your competitors runs out of fuel. Easy peasy



During his Ferrari contending years, Alonso was teammed up with Massa who was being asked to move over or his gearbox seal being broken to move Alonso up the grid.

Meanwhile, Vettel was teammed up with a feisty Webber who never accepted his no. 2 status and still took wins and points from Sebastian until 2012.

Hamilton was also busy battling another world champion in Button in his own team as both took wins and points from each other while Massa was winless and never took points from Alonso except in a handful of races.

Alonso is a great driver, probably one of the best, but his time at Ferrari has to be viewed with more objectivity.


Understatment of the year! Maybe other parts of his career as well


Only thing ferrari could have done in singapour is have lewis and max driving for them…..

Race result would have been ferrari 1-2.


No, if Max and lewis were in the same car, max would take lewis out every single time.


After Kimi in a Merc of course. He likes to party, but only party mode these days:)


Would Kimi fit into that Mercedes with a gorilla suit? ;o)


James, it’s great to see you back even though it’s not as often.

I felt this was the most boring race for the Singapore GP. Honestly I couldn’t wait for the race to be over with some nonsense driving from Perez.

I’d give Alonso the DOTD for his spirit with almost the worst car of late which was kinda the best part for me despite occasional coverage of him.

Hamilton for WDC, only realiabity problem/s will hamper his fifth title. Well deserved in every sense.

Oh Vettel what have you done that should’ve belong to you. But I’d give him credit for his admission that he’s his own enemy.


James, great article, by the way.

It really brings something extra when you bring these insights (that might not occur to us, or are due to you being closer to the action, or whatever).

The strategy is interesting. The aero tweaks are interesting. BUT (big but)…

It’s racing we want. It’s close racing and unpredictability. It’s seeing things being turned around and turned upside down.

Maybe we can never get back to the ‘Ford + Ferrari’ formula of the 70s? Pity…

I want to see McLaren and Williams doing well. I want to see Lotus and Brabham and BRM racing (iconic names).

I don’t like sponsor teams (Red Bull or Benetton). They come and go and don’t have the historical element that is important. That’s true to a lesser extent of manufacturer teams, too. You can’t sell a team called Red Bull or Renault (the name has to change).

Get rid of this ridiculous ‘aero’ formula! Hardly road-relevant is it?


If unpredictable = fake, then I for one don’t want that. Watch Indycar if you want to see fake results more often. Fake for me is comedy tyres, drs, grid penalties, vsc, undercut, overcut, lift and coast fuel economy runs.

How about mano et mano racing wheel to wheel, with loud and ludicrously fast and difficult to drive beasts of cars? And on fabulous fast, long, and flowing tracks. Best man and team to win. Some relatively average drivers are flattered as they don’t have to push the cars to the limit in the races at the moment. The dozens of strategists need to take a hike too – Singapore was a tyre conservation run initially due to strategy.

Too much manufacturer influence leads to this safety first approach.



True on the fake. That is the point. Take away the silly, current aero regs and level the field, then you don’t need all that ‘fake’ garbage!

Still think the best drivers are making a difference. Lewis is winning when V B is not.


Like your ideas, Paul. Sadly I think we’ll be waiting a while.


F1 has never been about close racing, it has always been about the glamour, the money, pushing the boundaries and the team that does that best usually wins at a canter. For close racing there are lots of other classes to watch, formula E is getting better now the cars are quicker, touring cars are always fun and close, formula ford and F2 are both much more evenly matched and always have been.



I don’t think it’s “so called two-tier F1.” The 1 second gap is real. The fact that, most of the time it is between Red Bull and Renault, says it all!

That is the prime issue Ross Brawn, or whoever, needs to address.

With the bigger tyres we now have, and the more powerful PUs, surely, it’s time the aero was really pegged back a lot more (than just taking the outwash devices off the front wings)?


look back in time and you will see the same pattern more often than not. the margins are in fact lower now than they have ever been.


Yes, but it would mix up very often. Andretti was on pole by 1.5 seconds for the 1977 Belgian GP. But, the Lotus was an also ran at Silverstone.

Cars would retire more often.

The problem is that constant gap between Red Bull and the rest. Needs to be solved. Cars are very consistent these days. Mid field battle is fascinating. So, close that gap is you will have more of a battle right down the field… F India, Haas or Renault stealing a win by a great, risky strategy call.


@aveli, maybe you should earn yourself a couple of stars before you make authorative statements like that. (just kiddin’)


No you’re not, Lem…


why would i want to earn stars?

that’s a newbies’ past time, not mine..

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