Holding your nerve: How Ferrari restored pride in F1 US GP with strategy masterclass
Insight
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Oct 2018   |  2:41 pm GMT  |  233 comments

The Americans love their sport as entertainment and Formula 1 served up a superb Grand Prix in Austin that had the perfect blend of virtuoso driving and intriguing strategy.

Like the Grand Prix in Monza, this was one of the best races of the season with close racing, emotion and strategy intrigue, which kept the outcome in doubt until the final lap, with the three podium finishers crossing the line close together.

Unlike Monza, which marked the start of Ferrari’s Autumn collapse, this race was their bounce-back. But whereas much of the reason Ferrari failed to win Monza was due to the strategic uncertainty over whether Kimi Raikkonen should be allowed to win the race having scored pole position, this race was Kimi’s to lose after Sebastian Vettel made another unforced error. It was his chance to shine after years of playing the domestique to Vettel and before that Fernando Alonso.

He used the strategy, made an aggressive start, controlled the race and took the win for himself. It was a perfectly judged victory both by him and by the embattled strategy team led by Inaki Rueda. When they get it right, like in Bahrain and Spa this year, it’s nigh on perfect.

Mercedes made some mistakes on strategy in this race, missing chances which could have seen Hamilton second and Bottas fourth. Ferrari’s victory was no surprise to them; they’d looked fast in the limited dry practice running on Saturday and after Pirelli increased the tyre pressures by 1.5psi post qualifying, Mercedes struggled with wear, especially with the way they had set their car up.

Ferrari ace it after Vettel penalty

Raikkonen’s victory was based on solid strategic thinking. After Vettel bagged a three-place grid penalty for not slowing sufficiently for a red flag in Friday’s wet practice, Ferrari got savvy with Raikkonen. They had the car for pole position, but were up against a COTA master in Hamilton, who is in the form of his life.

So, to make sure of having the chance to lead on Lap 1 and control the race, they made Raikkonen do Q2 on ultra softs – his race start tyres – which would have more grip off the start line. So even without pole, he would have a chance for the hole shot into Turn 1 at the start.

Knowing they were under pressure, Mercedes set their car up more for qualifying than the race and that was the seeds of their downfall.

They got the pole but then suffered terribly in the race. Bottas’ performance was the best they could do on a one stop strategy, whereby he was passed at the end by Vettel – on more or less the same strategy – who had had to come back through the field after a spin on Lap One.

Hamilton’s launch was slightly better than Raikkonen’s but he lost ground in the second phase with more wheel spin and Raikkonen forced his way up the inside. Hamilton used his head against a driver not in the title fight and yielded.

Ferrari had the pieces where they wanted them on the chess board, which would allow them to use Raikkonen to try to bring Vettel into the game. But the German took himself out of the equation with contact with Ricciardo and a spin similar to the one that cost him victory in Monza.

When Ricciardo retired nine laps later with no engine power and the Virtual Safety Car was deployed, Mercedes had some quick thinking to do. They told Hamilton to ‘do the opposite’ of Raikkonen, trying to tempt the Ferrari team to react and bring Raikkonen in only 11 laps into the race. They didn’t bite. So, Mercedes pulled Hamilton in and he re-joined on new soft tyres behind his team mate Bottas, who duly let him through once racing resumed.

So far so good; after eight laps Hamilton was now back where he had been, but with better tyres and more strategic options against Raikkonen whose ultra-soft tyres were starting to fade. But Ferrari and Raikkonen held their nerve.

The Finn did some valiant defending before diving into the pits on Lap 21, but by taking some pain at the end of the stint, he had made his race stints more balanced and he had enough tyre life at the end to hold off Verstappen and Hamilton after his second stop.

Meanwhile the other notable point in the early stages was that the gap back to Bottas was strangely large. There were two reasons for this; one is that Mercedes felt a one stop strategy would be hard to do for their car and so this was his controlled pace to achieve it. Secondly his role for the day was as a blocker, covering the gap to Raikkonen and shielding Hamilton from Vettel.

But like the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, the Mercedes was running out of tyres after 20 laps whereas Red Bull and Ferrari were fine; Red Bull so much so that they were able to put Verstappen on the supersofts for his second stint which gave him great pace and opportunity. Red Bull had completely set the car up for the race, the opposite of Mercedes.


How could the outcome have been different?

Mercedes ended with a third and fifth place finish. It could have been second and fourth. Hamilton could have gone for an undercut on lap 19 to end on soft tyres that would have nine laps more life in them to try to win, but probably he would still have run out of tyre life before the end.

Another option was that on Lap 32 he could have stopped and at that point he would have come out between Raikkonen and Verstappen. He would have finished second, but it’s unlikely he could have won the race.

After Lap 32 passed without him stopping, Mercedes knew they had committed Hamilton to overtaking two cars before the end. They lost around five or six seconds of vital race time in that period as he was in traffic, so the true state of the tyres was not clear.

As for Bottas, he did the best one stop Mercedes could manage, which was not competitive and was passed by Vettel on the same strategy. They had data from Hamilton’s early stint on softs that other teams didn’t have.

The mistake was to cover the undercut by Verstappen, who was charging through the field in a virtuoso drive from 18th on the grid. Bottas should have gone further on his first tyre set, to shorten the demand on the softs in the second stint. That might well have stopped Vettel passing him at the end.

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.

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1

Looking Lewis’ curve tells me that Kimi was able to disturb Lewis’ race before his pitstop more than I imagined. Lewis’ tyres seem to have lost some of their performance driving behind Kimi.

2

Does the Italian announcer in this compilation refer to vettel as “the tornado”?

https://youtu.be/-B4UM4NSI9o

“Iceman is back. Iceman and the Tornado”….or is my Italian off?

If yes, that’s a) freakin hilarious, b) bad news for seb if the Italian media is clowning him like that 😂

3

Seems your Italian is way off:

“Iceman is back = Iceman è tornato”

(Mind you, that doesn’t mean Italian media ain’t mocking Vettel).

4

Ya a friend who speaks Spanish explained that it was the announcer just repeating himself in both English and Italian.

It’s just that right when he said “e tornato”, the picture cut to the on-board of Seb, and the announcers voice seemed to lose a bit of enthusiasm.

Either way, I vote that we start calling Seb The Tornado, because he spins right round baby right round like a record baby right round round round 😜

5

Well it seems like a life or death situation for Seb, So “Dead or Alive” seems appropriate – 🙂

6

James Allison to Renault….any comments JA?

7

@ LKFE…yes, i too read those articles. IMO ut’s a ‘long bow’ but F1 is full of surprises apart from Mercedes dominating the series and Hamilton winning in the fastest car ever. Rumours abound round the supposed Arrivabene/Binotto clashes and maybe Binotto is off to Mercedes as they would love to know all about the twin batteries if they don’t already have the blueprints somewhere in the back of the garage. Hopefully we’ll some cross contamination somewhere…another season of Mercedes is almost too much to contemplate.

8

No way
Why on earth would he want to go back to Eddstone err I mean Renault?
He is at Mercedes for the long haul LKFE
Think you have more chance of Prosts Formula E Son being a test driver for Renault.

9

The rumour where that’s the fallout of Binotto moving to Mercedes?

Sounds like a power play by Binotto, in his bid to oust Maurizio.

The best laid plans of mice and men …

10
Tornillo Amarillo

Who won’t want the perfect scenario where this year Lewis gets the WDC and Ferrari the WCC in Abu Dhabi?
I think Ferrari deserves to get something, in preparation for next season.

11

Seb would hate that, that’s who. It would be the final insult on this season that he should’ve won.

12

I’m sure LM are discussing the matter at Maranello right now:)

13

Updated winning percentages when starting off the front row (to USA18):

HAM 9/96 = 9.38%
ALO 14/272 = 5.15%
RIC 6/139 = 4.32%
VET 5/123 = 4.07% ⬆️1
VER 3/74 = 4.05% ⬇️1
RAI 10/247 = 4.05%
BOT 1/99 = 1.01%

14

Winning percentages when starting off the first two rows (to USA18):

HAM 3/54 = 5.56%
RIC 4/111 = 3.60%
RAI 6/173 = 3.47%
ALO 6/220 = 2.73%
VER 0/53 = 0.00%
BOT 0/64 = 0.00%
VET 0/72 = 0.00%
〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️
Winning percentages when starting off the first three rows (to USA18):

RAI 5/106 = 4.72%
HAM 1/38 = 2.63%
ALO 3/165 = 1.82%
RIC 1/77 = 1.30%
VER 0/34 = 0.00%
BOT 0/48 = 0.00%
VET 0/51 = 0.00%

15

no percentage of wins from total wins yet?

16

No, because as I said previously, that makes ZERO sense. There is no sense in punishing drivers that are able to put it on pole and convert them.

17

But then you’re happy to punish drivers that fought for their wins.

And there are sometimes reasons for not being on pole, like eg, heavy fuel loads in the days of re-fuelling, when some qualified on fumes and others played a longer game in quali. Then there were grid penalties for breakdowns, etc, etc.

Your figures don’t tell the whole story..

18

KRB, Phil Glass

I believe that way of constructing or make a representation of the past or the history of F1 is domed to fail

Stats never tells the whole story. Sometimes it shows the opposite of what we after regard as a great performance or the other way around to how a actual race played out etc.

This is not unique to F1, but it is more true when it comes to F1, compared to almost any another sport. F1 is not your usual sport either, it’s something else. And it’s not a team nor is it a individual activity ether.

19

But then you’re happy to punish drivers that fought for their wins

Except that’s not what it does. The example I give is this … Driver A & B both have 10 wins off the front row, but Driver A also has 2 wins from 2 front row starts, while Driver B has 0 wins from 2 front row starts. Your stat would give Driver A a score of 83.3% while Driver B gets 100%. Driver A is ridiculously punished in the stat for converting his front row chances, while Driver B is actually rewarded for not converting his. In what world does that make sense?

Qualifying with higher fuel loads was always preferable in the refuelling days. If you could go another 4-5 laps more than the pole man, but still stay with them because of your race pace, then you would always do that, and just pass the car(s) ahead through the first pit cycle.

Perhaps if you included all the missed chances when starting on the front row, to the denominator, that might be fair. Maybe just include the missed chances from the front row where the driver actually finished, or retired because of a spin or collision (though a driver could have 5 collisions of which he had no fault in, but there’s no way I could determine fault for each).

Bottom line, the stat has to make some sense, and have some validity, and your suggestion simply does not.

20

From row 9 (turn 12) in the grandstand, the race was outstanding. All credit to CotA. The sight lines around the track are amazing. Kimi and Max drove their hears out in my opinion.

21

Wolff’s brillant move of moving Bottas aside in Sochi for the extra 7 points for Hamilton’s 5th title bid, reminds me of the time he asked Hamilton to build a 25 second lead in Monza in 2015, at the risk of compromising his engine and its life, to cover a possible 25 sec penalty just in case they accrue one from a tyre pressure related regulation infraction.

The extra cushion that the 7 points provided by the Sochi team order, allowed Merc to have options, again, just in case they had to change strategy or plans, even accept a loss like in Austin, due to issues that might arise because of their controversial wheel hub. A contingency plan, like all good leaders have.

Wolf must have got a hold of a buzz that Ferrari has been asking around about the legality of the new wheel hub, especially after Merc’s sudden breakthrough at their known bogey track, Singapore. A decision must have then been made by Mercedes’s management, even before the race weekend, to pad Hamilton’s lead with precious extra points if ever Bottas outqualified or outraced Hamilton. Bottas was going to finish behind Hamilton, regardless.

The Sochi team order, however, was not to help Hamilton become champion, (he already had Vettel for that 😜), it was to protect the championship that he truly earned with outstanding performances, this year.

Hamilton did his job for Mercedes this year, which was to maximize the championship potential of the car and Wolff was going to do everything in his power to present Hamilton with a fifth title that he richly deserved.

Mercedes are truly beating Ferrari in every facet of the sport – car, team, driver, management, development, strategy, politics, etc., etc., etcetera.

“I’d rather be the baddie today and not the idiot at the end of the year.” – Toto Wolff.

Gutsy call by a big, baddie Wolff.

22

“Wolff’s brillant move of moving Bottas aside..”
Clearly you have a base level of the definition of brilliance. Its simple – the boss says jump, you say how high

23

Its more like the boss says bend forward, you say how deep.

24

Striving to raise standards again Cyber….

25

@Cyber

Thank you for sharing your most intimate and very personal life experiences with us. Judging by your post, it also sounds like that the incident happened to you at your place of work. I am terribly sorry. Regardless, I think an F1 blog is not the appropriate forum for this.

By the way, where I’m from if the boss says, “bend over”, we say, “kiss my behind!.”

I don’t know where you’re from or where you work, but you should hand your resignation immediately.

“How deep?” That has to be the creepiest post I have read on JAONF1. You must be so proud of yourself! Lol.

26

Hey @FanF1,

I think your sick mind may have played a part here!????? ;o)

Living in Japan, bending forward is how we greet and show respect to others. Both family and business wise. And you bend deeper forward depending on the more respect or submission that you want to express to the person that you greet.

https://www.tofugu.com/japan/bowing-in-japan/

27

@david

Clearly, you are “the idiot at the end of the year” type that Wolff was pertaining to when he made that brillant move.

That 7 extra points means Hamilton just needs a 7th place in Mexico for his 5th title while your hero Alonso could only wish that his boss was Toto Wolff.

Toto is the difference between “Still I Rise” and “Still No Ride”, lol.

You’re hilarious!

28

Like I said. The word brilliant is overused in this context. Seems like the word idiot would be underused when referring to you

29

@david

It’s not unnderused on me, mate, I just haven’t reached your level on the idiot scale.

Enjoy the 5th! Now that’s never gonna be underused.

30

FanF1
Seems tiny d has a fixation on the tall Toto.
Perhaps with his super extended step ladder he could probably climb up & see eye to eye with Toto.
Then again he’d probably need to take an O2 tank. Just in case he doesn’t suffer from altitude sickness and hypoxic stress.

31
Tornillo Amarillo

James Question, off topic:

If F1 cars need 1.5 seconds for not getting dirty air, why they don’t change the rule of DRS for next year in order to be allowed to open it with a 2 SECONDS gap instead 1 second?

32

Best race of the year by a mile?

33

Monza was also a great race. But when the blinkers are on P Glass 🤔😉

34

Yoohoo, Yeah!

Nobody’s mentioned those American Grid girls/Cheerleaders.

Cute outfits.

35

So cheerleaders are the new grid girls, great move by LM. It has some Bernie quality to it. Cheer on:)

36

@ PG….I was also going to mention this but didn’t get around to it. In liberty’s mind it is appropriate to exploit the “cheer leaders’ but demand the demise of the ‘grid girls’ although in so many cases they were not wearing the skimpies seen on the “cheer leaders’. Hoe would the American public react if they were confronted with ‘cheer boys leaders’? They really have no idea how ridiculous their arguments are.

37

That would be the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC for short). I thought that it was interesting that Liberty Media was okay with the DCC but not grid girls?

38

Yep – PC BS !

39

According to motorsports.com, the actual ruling from the FIA found Mercedes wheel rims legal and was deemed not the same as the one Redbull introduced in 2012.

However, Mercedes opted to close the holes anyway, in case Ferrari files a protest and wins, which would have all of Mercedes championship points from the US GP, taken away. Mercedes didn’t want to take that risk as it would have had a huge impact on both title fights.

In my opinion, with enough points cushion, Mercedes settled for a slower package with the knowledge that at least, they get to keep their points haul in Austin. More importantly, Hamilton finished in front of Vettel, who was involved in another incident that cost him to spin and positions lost.

Another poster, this time at Mark Hughes’s Motorsports Magazine site wrote that Ferrari has a new quali mode called mode called K1- Plus, that brought them at least 0.2s/lap. That’s why qualifying was so exciting and so close. If not for Vettel’s tiny error, he could have had pole and started ahead of Ricciardo, avoiding a future tangle with him. Vettel could have won this race, I think. Ferrari had the car this weekend as Kimi demonstrated. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Hughes also suggests that Merc and Ferrari were pretty even in pace with GPS data revealing that Kimi was faster on the straights by 0.6 and Hamilton gaining 0.6 on the corners. Pretty even except for tyre management which helped contribute to Merc’s loss.

And now that James has revealed that Mercedes set up for qualifying, I wonder what could have been if they had set-up for the race, especially with Vettel’s grid penalty, Hamilton would probably still started ahead even without pole. I also wonder how much of a factor that increase in tyre pressure was to the top 3 car’s performances.

This race was not just exciting but now has become even more interesting with the different variables introduced before the race and ones discovered after, thanks to race reports from the likes of James and others. Only in F1. I love this sport!

40

Mercedes didn’t want to win in Austin — just to build excitement for the grand final. What else could explain Mercedes’ tyre choice for Hamilton in Q2?

41

Bad judgement?

42

Good post James but again disappointed no mention of the rest of the pack. Last report was much more inclusive.

43

A good point Kurik, any chance of a separate report on the midfield battle James?

44

Thanks for your report James. Congrats again to Kimi on his win, the least demonstrative and ego-less driver on the grid in my opinion.

Off topic what is to be made of the run of mechanical DNFs being experienced by Ricciardo (6 so far this year) and by extension Max in the first half of last year followed by Dan in the second half of the year using Renault engines? Its reminiscence of Hamilton suffering a spate of mechanical break downs in 2016 that had a massive bearing on him not retaining his WDC crown. In fact of the 8 Merc powered cars on the grid that year his was the only ones to suffer significant power failures.

Horner and Marko are quick to put the blame on Renault for supplying unreliable equipment but in their ‘war of words’ with Renault Cyril Abiteboul has responded with the claim that the fault could be with Red Bull in the manner in which they assemble the engine parts and package them into the RB chassis.

It’s difficult to accept that there would be a lack of due diligence on the part of the RB mechanics and engineers so either the engines are failing because of bad luck (chance random events) or indeed RB are and have been doing something (however minor and unintentional) to bring about these failures, because it seems they are not failing at the same rate in Renault’s own cars on the grid.

Any thoughts TimW, KRB, C63, Lemwil (Daniel), LFKE, Kenneth?

Unrelated to the above observations how crass and unprofessional have Horner and Marko turned out to be with their comments that Dan should expect the same when he joins Renault and Marko saying that while Max will be competing for WDCs as early as next year Dan will be experiencing DNFs for the next two years. At least Max is showing some maturity and sensitivity about it when he told Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport: “I think within the team there are secretly some jokes being made about it. But for the team it is just very bad. I know exactly how he feels, as I experienced it often enough last year, it’s just bad.”

45

Adrian, Dan sure has a lot of failures, I wouldn’t know why that is, but random chance can be cruel sometimes. We have spoken before on the subject and I suggested that maybe Renault gave Red Bull some incorrect parameter data, but that remains just a conspiracy theory of the sort I don’t usually take any notice of. I don’t believe Red Bull would do anythying untoward out of spite at Dan leaving, and I don’t believe that Renault would really do anything to sabotage their own engines as they get it in the neck as well. We are left with tight packaging or random chance, Max has had a few failures, although not as many as Daniel, so maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way this is a season to forget for Dan, hopefully the Renault works team can serve him better next year.

46

Tim, Kenneth & The Ex

Thanks for your respective responses.

I should have mentioned that Lewis’ situation was different in that Mercedes AMG Petronas had complete control over the manufacture and installation of its engine components whereas RB was an engine customer team. As such Merc couldn’t cast ‘blame’ on a third party but had to find the reasons for Lewis’ engine problems from within. In the end at least Paddy Lowe had the good sense to make a public apology to Lewis for Merc failing to provide him with reliability. One could read into this apology that that Merc did something or did not do something that effected Lewis’ ability to defend his title. Who knows but it was a very strange one in eight anomaly that had nothing to do with his driving style.

Obviously the machinery of F1 cars is highly complex with many interdependent components meaning that the failure of one component has the potential to shut down the whole system that’s why I raised the issue of due diligence. However, with many hands in the garage all watching each other and working together I think the notion of a rogue mechanic or an individual not doing his job properly can be dismissed. Of course this doesn’t exclude the possibility of one side of the garage getting newer parts than the other compared with the other side getting reconditioned or salvaged parts which may or may not have an effect.

Britain and Australia have Standards governing the manufacture and safe operation of just about any mechanical device. Even a washing machine or vacuum cleaner hast to be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Presumably Renault, being the manufacturer, would give RB instructions on how its engines should be assembled, installed and run for optimum performance and if evidence were to surface that RB were not complying with the instructions, as Abiteboul implied, this may well be an explanatory factor. Of course RB would never admit to any wrong doing so we’ll never know.

Yup, the comments from Horner and Marko are pretty disappointing especially considering that Dan has been with the RB program for 11 years and considering the wins, podiums and points he’s brought to the team which has enabled them to again finish 4th in constructors’ and the prize money that comes with it. He’s still an employee with RB and the snide comments are unnecessary and only reflect poorly on those making them. At least Max has been supportive. RB are definitely playing hard ball now by not allowing him to tyre test for Renault when they’ve barred him from the same testing with RB. I think by the end of the season Dan will have had a gut full of all this and will look forward to the challenge ahead. With Renault improving year-by-year and a new engine planned for next season the rest of the grid might be in for a surprise. Dan the Hulk who has never been on the podium will be hoping so.

Cheers

47

CORRECTION: That should have read 3rd in the constructors’.

48

Adrian, it’s a good point on Mercedes being masters of their own destiny, maybe it’s simply a question of Renault and Red Bull blaming each other, and therefore nothing gets done to solve the problem. There was talk last year that Torro Rosso were getting used parts as Renault were having supply chain problems, maybe that’s also a factor.

I would say that I never thought that Lewis was on the receiving end of anything untoward in 2016, as I recall he suffered two failures of the mguh insulation, which could just be a bad batch, and a big end failed in a brand new engine causing the Malaysia failure. It’s my understanding that the engines are all built in an identical fashion and put into a pool that will be drawn on by whoever needs one next, so that motor could just as easily have gone to Nico or one of the customers. Just rotten luck on that occasion.

Back to Red Bull, Adrian Newey has always struck me as a totally committed to winning type of guy, Ron Dennis famously gave his name and not Senna’s as expected when asked who the most competitive person he ever employed was. Maybe if Adrian is looking at the data and thinks, if we package it like this, it will fail a few times, but we might win when it doesn’t, then he would go for possible wins rather than safe lower points positions at all races. My best guess is it will be a combination of a number of factors, either way RB looks like a pretty toxic environment at the moment, and Dan is best off out of it.

49

My guess it will be a combination of a number of factors

Tim

I would agree as the most likely explanation. The complexity of which makes such failures almost impossible to anticipate.

50

@ Adrian…You are asking some very pertinent questions there. I have given it a great deal of thought. After 7 DNF’s it certainly seems odd that it it happens so consistently to just one car. One, two or even three maybe covered by coincidence but seven? That is food for thought. Why is it so as the good Professor would ask? We are all aware that in any complex mechanical device there can never be any exact,total, similarity albeit maybe just minor fluctuations that could possibly be hardly measurable, but still exist. Couple that with a ‘store’ of PU elements that still have life but that life is limited. When these parts are distributed just who gets the newer and more reliable ones? Are they transferable between cars or are they designated to a particular car? The outcome would be whoever gets the younger parts stands a better risk of avoiding failure. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that RB/Horner/Marko would do everything possible to ensure that Verstappen gets the best bits. They are both bitter and somewhat twisted that Ricciardo chose to leave and that is out in the open for all to see. They are trying their very best to diminish Ricciardo’s talents for very obvious reasons. Mark Webber summed it up in True Grit when he said he ‘didn’t trust Christian Horner’. Now Marko has publically heaped his bile onto Ricciardo in a classless outburst. The more they do this the more they look liker losers. With each and every day i sincerely hope that Ricciardo ultimately finds some success with Renault despite how formidable that seems ATM. He is better off out of that pit of venomous snakes that have turned on him. I mean was it really necessary to publicise Ricciardo’s demolition of his wall? Yes, he did it out of frustration but it was the way Horner capitalised on it that was classless. Maybe we’ll find out more about this sad turn of events one day but in the meantime i would love to see them taken to task for such cheap comments.

51

Yes, he did it out of frustration….

@kenneth

When Hamilton was alleged to have done something similar – you declared it a ‘tantrum’, and you also praised Niki Lauda for ‘telling the truth’ when he blabbed……double standards?

52

Adrian, I must admit, when Lewis was suffering all those failures, thoughts of sabotage or similar did enter my mind. But in hindsight at the end of the seaons, I just put it down to bad luck. I think the same of Dan’s issues this season. I can’t for one minute think that RB would purposefully sabotage Dan, however upset they are with both him and Renault. They’re all racers, they all want to win above all.

BUT… if you’re at all inclined to think those sorts of things there is plenty of info that makes it seem possible. Especially when you think their third position in the championship is safe as houses.

As for the unprofessional comments bit, I agree entirely. The way they have managed the whole situation with Renault since the hybrid era has been poor indeed. Too much airing of dirty laundry in public for sure.

Take this with as much of a pinch of salt as you wish, but regardless of some of the banter I have on here, I do feel a little sorry for Dan this season. It’s been a disaterous end to his time with RB and given their time together he deserves to go out with a bang. The right kind of bang of course!

In short, I think it’s just bad luck, honestly. Sometimes it all comes at once. Like when you put your music on shuffle and even though you have thousands of songs you can hear six in a row from the same artist. It happens.

53

Nothing like the smell of Vinyl The Exigency.
Forget the 6 song shuffle and whack on record 👍🎶🎵

54

@BK Flamer

All my vinyl is in storage, I miss it. No room at home, there are about 3,000 of them! Used to be a bit of a turntablist. Was a scatch DJ in a rap group for a while. Fun times.

Totally agree, vinyl all the way!

55

I was surprised by the pace of the soft tyre. Max’s first stint pace was seemingly faster than any other driver on US or SS. We’ve seen it in so many races this year where one of the top 6 cars starts from outside the top 10. The soft first stint followed by the SS/US second stint is seemingly the fastest race pace strategy.
It makes me wonder if either Merc or Ferarri would chance trying to get through Q2 on the Soft. It would no doubt cost them track position at the start of the race, but would that be such a bad thing?
Discuss.

56

Depends on the circuit. Monza, maybe. Monaco definitely not. Of course leading from the front is always preferable. But these days it’s all skewed. With the advent of the two tier F1 it can make things look easier when coming through the field as most competitors just jump out of the way for one of the top three so as not to slow themselves up.

Personally I’d rather the tyres were made so they could last two full race distances and there were no pitstops so all the overtaking was done on the track and pit strategy doesn’t decide a race. I know some people enjoy that side of F1 but I’d much prefer more wheel to wheel combat.

57
Maranello white donkey sanctuary

What do you mean “the advent of the two tier f1”? F1 is frequently “two (or more) tier” remember the years with both turbo an n-a cars? Or the years when one or mor manufacturers come up with an innovation or design that leaves everyone else for dust, that didn’t just begin in 2014, it’s been happening on and off for decades.

But yeah, one type of tyre that lasts all race has some merit if the field is even but might just exacerbate the difference when it’s not.

58

Of course, I’ve been watching F1 since 1980, I know what you’re talking about. But it’s much more pronounced now than it ever has been.

59

i dont think so. the point of qualifying on supers or ultras is so that they can get a good start. we saw that in 2017 races, very few people qualified on anything but the softest tyre avaiilable. that was to get a better start over those on the second softest tyre. however, max verstappen seemed quick only becauseof the speed advantage over the mclarens, force indias and williams. they also start on the second softest tyre in order to use the hardest tyre to get them to the end. also it is more difficult to defend on dying soft tyres than on dying hard tyres. below, i compare all stratagies.

US, SS – not practical as tyres wouldnt last the distance.

US, S – good strategy, as it allows a good start, and will last (just).

SS, US – not practical as tyres wouldnt last the distance.

SS, S – alternative strategy, but would work on a car that had slow cars between it and its rivals

S, US – very risky as tyres may die a few laps from the end causing lost places.

S, SS, – good strategy from the back of the field

and anything two stopping will drop you too far down the field

60

“We were racing in formula fuel-saving rather than formula one, it’s a shame that we have to save fuel rather than be able to attack. Isn’t that what the fans want to see?” – Kevin Magnussen

“It’s our responsibility to follow the rules, but I think these rules are wrong for formula one.” – Gunther Steiner

61

I suspect that the issue is that Haas is inefficient and is burning through fuel to get performance. I’m pretty sure that Mercedes have an engine design that only needs fuel saving if they short fuel. I suspect in terms of hammering the engine, the demands of engine life and tyre preservation are the limit on performance rather than fuel. Hamilton was quite happy with lift and coast once he worked out that it was often a quicker way round the circuit.

F1 has shown that it can usually exceed the expectations of any limit imposed upon it. I don’t see Verstappen, Vettel or Hamilton having any issue with thrashing the car around from the back of the grid if they have needed to. Ocon sounds like a programming mistake, Magnussen and Haas messed up managing the car.

62

Or maybe, as Gunther Steiner has so elegantly and concisely expressed, the rules are simply wrong for F1.

63

There’s some scope for improvements I dare to say:)

64

Or maybe the rules are simply wrong for formula 1, as Gunther Steiner has so elegantly and concisely suggested.

65

Ian Spencer, apparently the Haas only used 100ml too much fuel, so it seems more like a simple miscalculation on the amount they put in for the race.

66

Alain Prost has recently said that f1 needs to simplify the engines and, above all, get rid of the fuel rationing. This is Alain Prost we’re talking about, aka “The Professor”.

67

Perhaps Alain should tell us how simple it needs to be before Renault can build one that lasts a race weekend.

If they change the engine spec now, I guarantee Merc will build the best engine and dominate for the next few years while the others play catch up.

Close competition comes from minimal rule changes that allow the less affluent teams time to develop. Frequent changes to the rules always drop the poorer teams back from the lead.

Teams have always and will always fuel save so long as there is a gain running a lighter car. Only way to stop them is mandate a minimum fuel at race start.

What I do think needs to be addressed is the competition wrecking draconian engine penalties.. Give them more engines and parts. Cars sitting in the garage not running in practice or qualifying due to lack of engines or tyres is an insult to the spectators who payed good money to see them on track….

OK I feel better now

🙂

68

The rules have to be right first, before being left alone to allow teams to catch up and equalise performance.

The rules as they currently are, are not right for f1, and they never will be . And putting your fingers in your ears and your head in the sand will not magically fix things.

69

Luke, I bet you a tenner it wouldn’t make any difference…..

70

What do you mean it wouldn’t make any difference? Instead of drivers rationing fuel, they would not be. Instead of engines sounding anaemic and underwhelming they would sound more powerful and ferocious. Instead of driving with 700 bhp for most of the race they would have 1000 bhp plus.

Also simpler Mguh-less engines mean lesse expense. And since ICE and turbo tech has pretty much been perfected there would be less opportunity for one manufacturer to gain a massive advantage over another, the way it’s possible with Mguh tech. That would mean closer and less predictable racing.

Indycar have recently announced that they plan to increase horsepower to 1000 bhp from 2020 onwards, thus making the cars more ferocious and louder, because that’s what the fans want to see. Fuel rationing and saving the planet doesn’t seem to be a priority for Indycar. So if indycar can deliver what the fans want, why can’t F1?

71

Tim, what bothers me is the confusion and lack of purity of current F1. F1 just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. Does it want flat out racing, or does it want to save fuel and save the planet? Does it want to demonstate the upper limits of what’s possible performance wise, or does it want to demonstrate what’s possible with an arbitrarily determined amount of fuel? Does it want to wow the fans, or does it want to be a place for manufacturers to beat their chests about who can make the best and most road irrelevant hybrid PU? I could go on.

Indycar may not be perfect, nothing is, but at least it’s pure. They have determined that they want a spectacle for the fans, no compromises, no anaemic sounding hybrids, no fuel flow limits etc. Just good wholesome spectacular racing.

And what really annoys and saddens me is that this is precisely what we had in f1 before they decided to save the planet, thus giving us a confusing, inelegant and impure mess.

72

Luke, so its the fuel flow limit that bothers you, and not the fuel capacity limit? The engines can produce 1000bhp with that flow limit in place, that seems a healthy amount to me, how much more do you want? Why would it make any difference to the pecking order if it were removed?

Indycar say a lot of things, are you sure all of their fans will be happy with the new regs? I bet you another tenner some will still moan.

73

Sorry Tim, but the drivers are saving fuel because they have a fuel flow limit that says they can use 100 litres per hour. That is an absolute figure that they cannot to exceed. Thus they can’t use as much fuel as they want.

If the drivers would always save fuel and drive underfueled cars because it’s faster, then why have a fuel flow limit in the first place? I’ve been asking this question for years now and can’t seem to get a response.

Also can you please tell me why indycar is listening to its fans and delivering what they want, but f1 is not?

74

Luke, if the drivers are fuel saving through the race, then it’s because the team short filled them to gain a weight advantage, removing the fuel limit would do nothing to change this. The engines are being run with as much power as possible, 1000bhp is a seriously powerful 1.6 litre! You think they have more to find, why aren’t they doing it in qualifying where the fuel limit is irrelevant? Where did you get the 700bhp figure from? I’ve never heard that, the cars would be much slower in race trim if that were true.

The removal of the mguh was something I was supportive of, but the truth is the paddock opinion is that Ferrari have the best system, so it’s unlikely that it’s removal would do much to shuffle the pack.

So Indycar want to match F1 power levels? Good for them..

75

Well said those men!

76

Race report more or less encapsulates my thoughts on the race. Lewis’ superb quali once again put the w09 where it shouldn’t be. Strategy and pirelli cost us a win. Barring mechanical failure, the 5th should be ours this weekend.
Cheers.

77

LOL, w09 is the fastest car this year.

78

We have a bottle of something special tucked away for Sunday!

🙂

79

Pirelli cost them the win?! Hmmmmm…..

80

The Ham brigade blame anyone and everything except Hamilton. Its SOP for them

81

david, lucky that we have you to refress the balance by blaming Lewis for everything then isn’t it?

82
Clarks4WheelDrift

Good report on the cars at the front.

If Ferrari have really thrown away their chance to challenge for the title this year by sticking on upgrades that ruined their competitive car, then by not realising ?! and not removing said upgrades for a number of races!, then this has to go down as one of the biggest team mistakes ever during a race for the title.

Singapore is a street track and harder to spot the upgrade performance degradation but this is no excuse…

83
Maranello white donkey sanctuary

Frankly the idea that they didn’ t realise the cause or could systematically work it out for that long sounds like a diversionary smoke screen to me. It would suggest that Ferrari’s engineers are a bunch of incompetent Amateurs, which I doubt they are. Therefore I suspect that they may be trying to distract from the real reason for whatever reason…

84

Surely Seb and Kimi were giving them feedback these past three races saying that the car was getting worse?

85

The car balance may have felt the same though. In fact I remember both Seb and Kimi both saying in Russia the car felt good. But clearly it was slower for whatever reason.

86
Clarks4WheelDrift

You’re not wrong there, I doubt Seb and Kimi would repeatedly miss the performance drop due to track characteristics or temperature or assume it was a massive Merc leap forwards.

Surely must be other things at play here.

87

Even Ferrari competitors could see the drop in performance based on the car telemetry metrics. But while we ‘outsiders’ took it as indicator of Ferrari having removed the battery-engine booster upon getting the second kinetic energy sensor mounted by FIA (as we suspected some kind of illegal engineering had been employed), its clear that the Ferrari engineers should have known better based on their test data for new components. But clearly they got lost because of too many changes made at once and the too slow to pull the trigger and roll back their malfunctioning ‘upgrades’.

88

Hi James. What is going on with Mercedes`s wheel rims?

Mercedes fit the old wheel rims for this race and have trouble getting tyres to work.

Arguably they found something in those new wheel rims and the holes that help their tyres work, hence the string of victories. Now they go back to old rims and their tyres don`t work.

The technical directive was that the new rims are legal, so why change back to the old one. Stand by the process.

This should be clear cut, because otherwise it could be said Hamilton only won championship because they cheated with the wheel rims.

89
Clarks4WheelDrift

I can’t believe it was the tricky wheel rims that gifted Lewis this championship!

90

it could be said Hamilton only won championship because they cheated with the wheel rims.

That’s been a recent development. You could say the same about about Ferrari being the fastest car for a good portion of the season due to their dodgy floor (and testing it out via Haas), illegal mirrors that were then suddenly legal, the second battery, whatever it was they had on their steering wheel, whatever it was they were hiding by the “cooling” they put on the airbox to hide the camera…

Teams do whatever they can get away with and Ferrari are the masters at this.

91

It was a recent development for Mercedes.
So it’s total bull that some are saying this.
The only thing cheat worthy is Ferrari extra power battery usage hence the FIA sensors.

92

@BK Flamer, of course mate. I know you know. But as usual, it’s the old double standards issue. It’s ok if everyone else does it but when Mercedes do it they’re cheating scum of the highest order!

93

It’s actually pretty simple, movable aerodynamic devices are not allowed under the regs. That’s why teams have airflow through the hubs and so called “blown wheel nuts”, they don’t move. Whereas wheels do move, they rotate.

Back in 2012 (from memory) RedBull had wheels with holes in them that lined up with holes in the hub and brake ducts and allowed air to flow through. That was quickly ruled as being a movable aerodynamic device hence was deemed as being illegal.

Mercedes asked for advice from the FIA as to whether their particular airflow through wheels design was legal. They received one opinion that it was. Ferrari then asked for a second opinion and that one said no, it was illegal. Mercedes were warned that if anyone protested that they might well lose and not get any Championship points from this race. They could also be stripped of all points where that illegal device was used. They chose not to take the risk and changed back to the older design of wheels.

Like most things legal, 2 lawyers, even when faced with the same evidence, can have differing opinions and it’s not until they put their arguments before the judge/jury that the definitive ruling is reached. A protest hearing is much the same process, 2 sides go in thinking that they are right and most often only one emerges as being judged as right.

Not that it matters, but my view is that it’s plainly illegal and should have been advised that way from day 1. The RedBull precedent is black and white.

94

This is F1, it’s never straight forward.

I would think if a hole in a wheel rim is classified as movable aero because the wheel rotates then surely a hole in the front hub has to fall under the same classification. Not only does it rotate but it also moves with the steering and suspension.

95

@ Gary…I would have liked this to be tested for legality. Any team who achieves a result from any modification deemed to be suspect should be called to account and if found to be ‘illegal’ then stripped of any points gained whilst using the rims in question. . In F1 today gains of mere hundreths can effect a result. F1 has many complicated issues to solve but something like this which goes to the core of competition should be enforced to the letter of the law. It matter little which team it is but when the series leader [ for the past five years as well ] resorts to questionable mods it seems just that much worse. The fact that Mercedes withdrew their suspect rims tells a story all of itself.

96

Once again shooting off in a badly viewed jab at Lewis Kenny. The Wheels ARE LEGAL. Merc were being cautious but they are back for Mexico

97

kenny repeatedly skates full steam into the goal posts (and not the modern goals with magnetized anchors that dislodge at near minimal contact, but the old school ones anchored in with long spikes). He’s a masochist.

98

Crikey! Mercedes only removed them because they didn’t want Ferrari protesting the result after a title victory. The FIA is still of the mind that they’re legal. The FIA’s opinion is only advisory though, so it will need to be tested through the stewards or the Technical Working Group.

Do parts move within the wheel, separate from the actual motion of a turning wheel? Any aero benefit that is incidental to the primary purpose of a component is ok by the regulations.

As usual, the usual suspects are looking everywhere for shadows, and casting aspersions. Let’s let this play out, and see where it ends up, shall we? I would bet that Merc prevails on this.

99

Plus 1 KRB – great comment.

100

Mercedes Cleared To Run Controversial Wheel Design

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/mercedes-cleared-to-run-controversial-wheel-design/3202292/

Mercedes asked the Mexican GP stewards to rule on it. Geezus, did I call it or what?

A very good background of this episode can be found here:

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/analysis-wheel-rims-controversy-mercedes/3201803/

Basically Merc’s rims differ from the 2012 Red Bull as their primary purpose is tire management.

Again, called it.

101

Fully agreed Gary,
As the Mercedes wheel rims did rotate then they must be considered as ‘movable aerodynamic devices’ and therefore illegal!
It is perplexing how FIA first offered their acceptance of that setup. At least they have now come good but the points Mercedes potentially got on that account are most likely to remain valid despite the means they deployed to get them. Somehow good that the WDC and WCC is not a tight battle but already done and dusted, as this could otherwise taint the endeavor. F1 complex over-regulation in a nutshell really. ;o)

102

I would assume that the difference is that Mercedes could show that the only effect was a cooling one and that they did not affect the body airflow in any positive way. Clearly, the wheel is a moving surface, and you have to consider that if you define “aerodynamic device” as “anything that has an impact on airflow” then you have to slide along on fixed wheels as clearly a tyre is a device of sorts and does have a significant aerodynamic effect on the car, so I think you have to have a more pragmatic interpretation of “anything that has a positive impact on aerodynamic performance”. Even then you get into issues with suspension parts being aerodynamic in shape because they move.

So there are good reasons why the regs are not black and white and require interpretation.

103

@ Ian Spencer… Aerodynamics is the art of utilising air flows to manage and control inherent activities associated with a race car…in this instance. This interpretation naturally covers the effective cooling required of/for certain elements. If by way of doing this via moving parts then that are especially in the sprung parts of the car then i believe that that’s verboten. Maybe i’m wrong but i’m sure someone will correct me if that is so. My point is this…if Mercedes were confident of their interpretation then why did they seal the holes in the rim? Just because Ferrari indicated a challenge surely wouldn’y have shaken Mercedes belief that they were in the clear all along!

104

If this was Ferrari there wou;ld’ve been blood on the walls but because it’s Mercedes the Hamilton/Mercedes fans are quite quiet. As i said before, any team and that means each and every one who fields an illegal car should automatically be stripped of points taken whilst illegal. No ifs and no buts.

105

Cyber, I assume your rather insulting reply is to my earlier comment? I don’t need you or anyone else to illustrate anything to me. I’m well aware that there are excellent drivers on the grid from numerous countries. I have no narrow minded outlook on F1, and nor do I feel the need to completely invent things to illustrate the points I’m trying to make. You claimed the other day that a second FIA investigation had found the Mercedes wheel rims to be illegal. This was a flat lie, no such second investigation took place, and the FIA have never described the rims as being anything other than perfectly legal. You simply made the whole thing up, and not for the first time either. Maybe in future you will stick to the truth instead of crying to the mods about harassment, and maybe take a look at your own comments before criticising those of others.

106

Hi @KRB, No that is actually not what happened at COTA. Mercedes brought the issue to one of the FIA technical delegates. FIA deemed that the rim was not specifically banned per currently regulation for wheel rims. But that the race stewards during /after the race might judge otherwise, considering the full regulations. And doing so if a formal complaint was logged by a competing team during the race event. Neither FIA or the racing stewards have issued any statement in writing to Mercedes that the new wheel rim design was legit. Reason why Mercedes did not run it. So your description of a ruling declaring it legal has not happened.

Charlie issued statement that technical group would meet to discuss and clarify already here at Mexico event, so lets see what comes out of that. So far also, no team has formally complained about it, so all appear in a stalemate regarding this. But when a formal ruling comes out, then it might have large implications also for car design for 2019 as active blown wheel rims could become heavily used to compensate for the aero limitations that the 2019 regulations otherwise points towards.

107

Yes @TimW, striving again to illustrate to narrow minded folks like you that the world is more than just Hamilton and British empire.

108

Cyber, I read that article too, it basically says the same as the first one, that the FIA found the wheels to be legal, but Merc decided not to risk running them as Ferrari might protest the result. Here’s a quote from the arricle you posted

“The FIA looked closely at the Mercedes design and was satisfied that it was fully legal, and informed both outfits that it saw no need to intervene.”

I still see no evidence anywhere that the wheel rims had been deemed illegal.

109

Cyber, Mercedes brought the issue to the stewards in Mexico. They have deliberated, and ruled that they’re legal.

110

Hi @TimW,

Just one click away from your own referenced article at Autosport, you actually get better answer to the question that you pose and challenge your own stance:

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/139578/mercedes-changed-wheel-rims-to-avoid-protest-risk

– – – – – – –

Although the FIA’s stance that the wheel rims are legal would have given the team confidence had a protest emerged, it is well known that the views of the governing body are only ever advisory and the final decision is for the race stewards.

Mercedes likely felt that it would be best to avoid the chance of any post-race trouble that could overshadow its possible title success.

It is unclear what impact the changes to the wheel rims had on Mercedes’ performance in Austin, but Lewis Hamilton hinted after the race that there were some unexpected factors that had impacted its tyre usage.

“We were forced into a two-stop race for certain things we had that weren’t ideal with the car,” he said.

“We didn’t know that was going to be the case when we got into the race. If we hadn’t had the problem we’ve had, tyre usage wouldn’t have been anywhere near as big an issue.”

– – – – – – – –

111

Hi @TimW,

Autosport is typically a good source, so thanks for that. Also interesting to observe that their Italian pages puts the story the other way around. As does btw James Allen’s own Motorsport.com, where same difference between English language version and Italian language version of same story (as proof of what I often have noted, that the local media is giving to the mob what the mob wants to hear and be confirmed in. ;o)

That aside, FIA has not given Mercedes a clear “Legally Approved” notice on their rims. That is not how it works. What they did confirm is that they didnt observe anything (currently) in the regulations that prohibited that specific design Mercedes has made. And here comes the trick and the terrible grey zone in F1: That doesn’t mean the same as it is legal! ;o)

Aka, if a team files a protest against Mercedes for its construct, then it is up to the stewards to interpret the various aspects of all the regulations. Not just the physical design guidelines for wheel rims but also consider the aero-regulations and others. And it will be for the stewards to decide if conforming or not and if not, what penalty to be handed out.

Again, if it was so clear cut as you try to make it, then Mercedes wouldn’t have pulled back and then stuffed all the wheel rim holes with silicone, would they? No.

I have looked through all the FIA documents released over past 10 days and haven’t been able to find one single note regarding this matter. So both Autosport and Motosport.com articles written about the matter is so far just their own (and local) interpretation of the situation.

As I understand what happened at COTA, then it was a sequence of physical checks and verbal exchanges between the team technical responsible and FIA scrutineers going back and forth that resulted in that Mercedes decided not to run the risk (as they didn’t get ‘ALL IS 100% LEGAL AND YOU RISK NOTHING’ kind of bill and therefore decided to fill the holes to avoid potential downstream consequences if deemed in breach of regulations.

112

the Hamilton/Mercedes fans are quite quiet.

@kenneth

I don’t really know what your point is – well apart from the obvious dig at Hamilton and his fans. Mercedes sensibly decided not to run the part which had a question mark hanging over it, as prudent race management in earlier rounds had made risk taking unnecessary . It’s now been declared legal by the race stewards, so they will use the wheels at Mexico. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Btw – I don’t remember you getting so worked up about the Ferrari wing mirrors – weren’t they declared as illegal but still allowed to keep all points gained whilst they were on the car?

You either have an incredibly short memory or you just don’t care about applying double standards. Perhaps you would be kind enough to clarify which it is.

113

@ Cyber…… The latest on this was filed on the Motorsport site. Makes very interesting reading and it will be fascinating to see if Ferrari continue with their threatened challenge. Who knows…maybe it was all a very big bluff from the very start!

114

OK

Let’s revisit every challenge and outcome and change all the results.

In recent times we should probably start with RB and their flexing wings. How many championships did they win with them. Let’s take a look at off throttle exhaust blowing while we are in the RB camp. A quick look at Ferrari will find a whole heap of “transgressions” How about an oil tank specifically used to hold engine oil to be used in combustion. Illegal aero mirrors not to mention the strange extra electrical power.

How far back should we go?

115
Clarks4WheelDrift

That’ll be their own porous silicone they developed in house 😉

116

Cyber here’s a link to an article on the subject

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/139592/f1-set-to-discuss-wheel-rim-controversy

And here’s a direct quote from it,

“The FIA looked into exactly what Mercedes was doing with its wheel rim and hubs, and found it to fully comply with the regulations”

If something ‘fully complies with the regulations’ then it is legal.

Any sign of a source for the FIA second investigation that you mentioned previously?

117

Kenneth, Mercedes ran this design already at 5 races (SPA, Monza, Singapore, Russia and Japan) with sudden obvious improvement in managing tire temperature which till then had been Ferrari’s strongest area this season. FIA had expressed to Mercedes that they did not see any wrong doing by their design. Hence Mercedes deployed it and kept using it.

But now to TimW’s point below: FIA did NOT stipulate that they were legal. Just that the rules as written did NOT explicitly rule out the design. And that is a very different proposition! But that is how the F1 Regulations typically are written and ruled by. So any team could still file an official protest and the outcome dependent on that investigation!
And as result, when Mercedes questioned FIA just before the US race, then FIA explained to Mercedes that they had to close the holes in their wheel rims if they wanted to avoid potential penalties in case a team filed a formal protest on their design and usage. And that is what Mercedes did. All holes got stuffed up with silicon. Hence Hamilton’s cryptic replies to some of the journalists if you followed the whole weekend and post race interviews.

Basically Ferrari demanded clarification from the FIA regarding those holes because they were sure that Mercedes were gaining an aerodynamic advantage from them. That was before the Austin weekend. FIA deemed nothing specific prohibited that design. (but avoiding declaring it legal) and at same time FIA advised Mercedes to cover the hub and rim holes with silicone so both the FIA and other teams could be 100% sure there is no aerodynamic advantage. Mercedes complied with this (my opinion: why risk anything silly to gain the 5 points to bag the WC, so right decission) But yes, now suddenly Mercedes appear to have their rear tire issues again. That is basically the situation. (disclosure: I have no vested interests in neither team or WDC champion contenders, but some old love still remain for Kimi the iceman).

One can question why FIA needed 5 races to get to this, while Ferrari had their mirrors off after just one race. And Red Bull use of rotating aero device already decided to be illegal years back, though as far as I recall, Red Bull’s airflow was in the axel, so not directly comparable to the Mercedes situation here. But anyway, ammunition for a lively debate between the two fanboy/team camps and some of us caught in the middle. ;o)

118

Kenneth. The wheels have been deemed legal by the FIA.

119

As I posted above, if you’re going to say that then you should be fair and apply the same logic to Ferrari. The regulations are as complex as they are partly down to the teams constantly finding loopholes and the powers that be having to tighten up the regulations.

They all do it. To claim Mercedes are the only ones given what Ferrari have done this season and many previous would be grossly unfair.

120

Dear Moderators/editors, when will you start to be serious and enforce your forum rules?

This continued negative sniping of a handful of posters leaves this forum a despicable poisonous pit!

121

kenneth, you’re being silly as usual. If Ferrari think they have a case, then protest Russia or Japan. It’s as simple as that.

Lastly, its is the possessive pronoun you want to use there, while it’s is a contraction for “it is”.

122

As i said in my post, if this had been Ferrari there would’ve been blood on the walls! At the time of the so called ‘twin battery’ controversy there were lots of comments about the legality of same. Ferrari, AFAIK, changed nothing as the FIA had given them clearance albeit with an additional sensor installed. Now if Mercedes believe that they are questionable themselves hence the ‘silicone sealing’ surely it begs the question raised in the first place? All teams push the R & R to it’s limits and i have no problem with that.That’s racing but ‘illegality’ is a different case. Mercedes weren’t game to support their very own decision to implement. Surprising really….

123

Thanks, Gary. So lets say they will deemed unacceptable, then they points scored in those races with those rims need to be removed as they were unacceptable.

124

One report said that the FIA, after further analysis and the possibility of a legal challenge decided that the ‘new rims’ were if fact a ‘movable aero device’ and Mercedes were told to remove them. That seems to make sense. Ergo they were illegal from when they were first employed. They didn’t just become illegal overnight. Whether all this is total fact i have no idea….just what was reported on one of the aggregated sites on Newsnow a few days back.

125

All wheel rims rotate (“move”) and all have an aerodynamic effect because they are moving in an environment of turbulent air, so it can be argued that all the teams are running moveable aerodynamic parts. All teams run holes between the spokes of the wheel.

126

Next thing for Ferrari to sort out would be by way of appointing an officer of the correlation issues of upgrades. Or if necessary an even more important title.

Another way of doing it is just to stop bringing them in after midseason

127

You are simplifying it to the point of it being a trivial issue.
It just doesn’t work that way. Ask Williams and McLaren….

The F1 technical guys are not idiots, that can be schooled by a bunch of keyboard warrior Newey-wannabe’s….

128
Maranello white donkey sanctuary

Ya gotta laugh at the armchair experts, F1 designers have been pushing the interpretations of the rules ever since there’s been rules. Mercedes aren’t dumb enough to just do what RBR did and hope to get away with it, they will have. Studied the previous design, the ruling and the actual rule book to try and devise something they think is different enough to be legal. Just like Most of the top teams for the last 50 years. If people don’t want innovation and boundary pushing design then they should watch a series based on standardised cars or components….. Mercedes were very open about the wheel design, a bit of a contrast with Benneton’s hidden traction control software or dodgy fuel valve circa 1994… or maybe the scuderia’s current battery system, who knows!

129
Clarks4WheelDrift

Perhaps they have a third pedal brake steer, hard to know as they never break down allowing Darren Heath a photo inside the cockpit

or an f-duct hidden by a silver paintwork hologram

or a double diffuser colour coded to each track surface in some Mission Impossible invisible camera trick.

😉

Most of the time the rivals seem to cry illegal only when they don’t understand the idea enough to copy it and slap it on their cars!

130

Bang on post. Sadly some on here refuse to see the light.

I’d add Ferrari using Haas to test the legality of their illegal floor to this too.

Personally, I’m all for it. I agree entirely with what you said about innovation and pushing the boundaries.

131

Fair point redline although it was partly in jest

But if I ask McLaren or Williams they would say, yes if we had that kind of budget, then…

But then again I don’t believe it is that simple. I have said since the beginning or therabouts, of this PU era that Merc will most likely take all the championchips until 2021 at least.

Maybe, someone can at least put decent pressure on them, that’s all. Or if they (Merc) screw something up completely, then maybe

Binotto and co have done a great if not fantastic job as it is. But there is a recurring problem at this area, or what seems to be this area

132

@ Chris… Unfortunately I caught onto the jest after I hit the “Submit” button…!

Your fundamental point is valid, but its not as if they aren’t mindful of it. Teams have a fairly robust validation process to ensure that the theoretical performance gains actually deliver real performance on track.

This works across the individual components, through to whole-car performance. The whole process is complex – starting from where you allocate resources at an ideas stage, to signing-off on-track performance gains.

This is actually one of the areas that Marchionne reinforced last year, and we’re probably seeing the benefit of this year. Its likely that the Mercedes process is more mature, but Ferrari have kept a strong development pace this year, apart from the recent blip, which you rightly identify as an issue that needs to be addressed. You can bet its right towards the top of Binotto’s agenda…

Btw – Its more of a process issue than a budget issue. The process must evolve with the increasing complexity of the parts, integration, technology, etc… A key reason for Williams and McLarens predicament is process failure, rather than them being dimwits or not having enough $$$ or Hp. Not very sexy, but true.

133

Good insight James. What I don’t understand is why tires on both Mercedes cars could not last more than 20 laps and Vettel makes them last 30+ laps. I’d love to see some reporting into Mercedes technical development – have they gone backwards like Ferrari have in Singapore?

134

Another option was that on Lap 32 he could have stopped and at that point he would have come out between Raikkonen and Verstappen. He would have finished second, but it’s unlikely he could have won the race.

I’m unsure how you can write this with such confidence. Coming out around 4 seconds behind Kimi with fresher tyres and 20+ laps, I think most people’s money would have been on Hamilton (despite Kimi’s defending for those few laps before his stop). He’d have had tyres that were 10 laps younger and I think most would fancy Hamilton over Kimi in that situation.

The headline of this story is inaccurate. Mercedes threw this away and Ferrari stuck to the strategy that everybody else employed in the race – a fairly standard one-stopper. Yes, Kimi’s great defence against Hamilton after the latter’s first stop helped, but the race was still there for Mercedes to win. They simply and grossly miscalculated. The idea that this was a race won by Ferrari as opposed to a race lost by Mercedes simply doesn’t add up.

135

I questioned why Ferrari kept Raikkonen out so long, but hindsight is 20/20. Hamilton fried his tyres getting back on terms after the 2nd stop, and even said so by reporting that he didn’t think he had the pace to get by the cars in front.

Mercedes was quick over a lap but they were taking too much from the tyres.

Crucial for the win as well was the fact that Hamilton lost at least 8 seconds in his attempts to get by Raikkonen – one can speculate that had he got by he could have run a more controlled pace and stretched out a lead which would have helped him in the 2nd stint…and as the report says, once they passed lap 32, Hamilton was locked into passing both Verstappen and Raikkonen on track.

That being said, that Ferrari looks mighty in a straight line again, especially under acceleration – Raikkonen used it well in his defence, placing his car well in the corners and under braking and effectively driving away on the straights…

This race was won by Raikkonen and Ferrari as much as lost by Mercedes…

Also, my earlier comments on Max Verstappen are withdrawn…he has matured into a very good driver and was able to look after his SS tyres well. After his early season “stock car” shenanigans, he has shown o a number of occassions that he can in fact drive very well and has at least 2 great “comeback” drives to show it…

Vettel, on the other hand, whether through pressure or being over eager, seems to have lost the plot…again, a wasted opportunity in trying to win a race on lap 1. Yes, he made the mistake into turn 12 after gettting by Ricciardo…why then try fight him. He would know he had a pace advantage and could have just stayed close and blown by the Red Bull on the long back straight…let’s speculate and say that had happened….Ferrari 1 and 4 on lap 2 or 3…different race and Ferrari could rue the fact that they had the pace for a 1-2 on Sunday. The Driver’s title may be over, but there is still a Constructors title and the points gap is such that if Ferrari maximize their results they can at least walk away with some silverware come December…

Great race!!! Kimi still has it when he is allowed to actually race….

136

Good post and well reasoned. Although I do think that Mercedes made a bad decision by pitting Lewis early, Kimi definitely won that race more than Mercedes / Lewis lost it. Even though he had to tell the team not to do anything stupid!

137
Clarks4WheelDrift

They may have been aiming to pit Lewis first anyway, didn’t he put more wear and have to do extra laps in Q2, on his race start tyres.

Kimi did win it with his great defence, I quite like how he multi-tasked telling the team nothing stupid would happen cutting out any ideas of using him for Seb and letting them know even if Lewis got by he was still pushing for the win himself.

138

@Clarks,

Yep, totally agree. Kimi drove to that win and fully deserved it. His call on the radio was brilliant. Basically telling them if they want him to do anything to do anything to benefit Seb they were going to have to take control of his car from the pit wall. Good on him.

139

I agree! the early stop under VSC set up the exciting 2nd part of the race.

I get the idea that, since all the teams can hear each other’s radio chatter, possibly Mercedes were trying to dupe Ferrari into reacting to what they were going to do…”do the opposite of Raikkonen..” With the Ferrari on the US and Hamilton on S, maybe the thinking was that by sending the message they could get the Ferrari out of the way…and when Raikkonen stayed out, Hamilton locked himself into a 2 stop race…and then stayed out too long…

But either way, he had trouble with the tyres…Bottas was nowhere on a 1 stop and said as much as well.

Another interesting thing i have noticed, and i’m sure i am not the only one, as it was alluded to by the SKY team as well…that Merc ROTATES through a corner…

Hamilton seemed far better able to get the Mercedes pointed straight through the last corner than either of the Ferraris and was making a chunk of time on them there as well as through the esses/Beckets complex section…the rear just swings around…he gets it straight and BAM he can get off the corner; the Ferrari then has the absolute straight line and acceleration advantage which we saw Raikkonen put to such good use.

Surely that would be a factor contributing to the excessive rear wear they had? the stiff qualie setup would have made that even worse…

Another warm race in Mexico this weekend, and Renault may not have such a power disadvantage due to the higher altitude…3 team bunfight? we can only hope….

140

Another great post. Not many on here look at the sport as deeply as you, nor understand it that much.

LOVE watching how Lewis drives the Merc. It looks on the edge a lot and yep, I think the way it deals with corners is a contributing factor to their tyre wear. Singapore was interesting to see how slow the Merc’s were for their out lap.

And yep, the RB went very well at Mexico last year. A three way fight would be great!

Enjoy the race mate.

141

You don’t realise the trouble Merc were in with tyres

142

James, would be good with a deep dive into the technicalities of Mercedes’ modified wheel rims and reason why they took that last minute resolution at COTA to stuff the holes with silicone (alternatively challenge F1 regulations and face potential penalties upon protest(s) from other teams, first and foremost from Ferrari who had stayed vocal about it). Will be interesting to see if the Mercedes rims are still getting stuffed up in Mexico and their tire temp management challenge persists. (I expect it will)
Fans will be electrified of what could have been!

143

Still, it’s very reasonable to think that Merc could have pitted on lap 32 and been in better shape than Ferrari. Just look at the rate that Hamilton caught up with Kimi after both of his stops. Had he been pitted on lap 32 and come out ahead of Verstappen, it would have been possible for him to run a calculated final 20 laps in which he would have caught Kimi at a reasonable pace (rather than the desperate pace he was forced to adopt) and then plot a move to get by (a la Monza). He would have done that without a major threat from behind, as Max was clearly slower. Even given Merc being harder on their tyres, two stints of 20-25 laps on the yellow softs would have been reasonable (there’s nothing to suggest otherwise – Hamilton had a very strong pace for 19 laps on his second stint so he likely would have been strong for 24 laps, had they pitted him on lap 32) and would have given him a good chance of victory.

I’m really interested to understand what Mercedes were thinking at around lap 31-35. During that time, the lead shrank by around a second a lap. That trend wasn’t going to correct itself.

I simply don’t understand why they didn’t see that they could have brought Hamilton in on lap 32, when the lead had already fallen from 17 to around 15 and was not going to grow again. Surely, coming out 5-6 seconds behind the leader on new softs and being guaranteed to have the freshest tyres of all the front runners for the remainder of the race was going to be much better than coming out 10+ seconds behind the leader, with another car in between, and no tyre-step advantage to call on. And, at lap 32, they had experienced 21 laps on the Softs, but with a heavier car. It baffles me that they didn’t see that the prospect of doing 24 laps with a lighter car and knowing the tyres would be fresher than anybody else’s was stronger than any other option they had at that time. Madness.

144

So Bill Burr is back at it on his podcast with formula one as the subject. He enjoys Lewis Hamilton but says rooting for him is tough because he’s not the underdog and he likes underdogs. However this week he points out how Lewis takes credit for the wins but whenever he doesn’t win he claims he doesn’t know what happened it’s the team it’s the car. Thoughts on this point of view?

http://billburr.com/monday-morning-podcast-10-22-18/

145
Maranello white donkey sanctuary

God knows what he listens to but frankly sometimes I think Ham sounds like a broken record thanking the team and the folks back at the factory etc. So frankly I think mr Burr is talking out of his exhaust pipe. In fact most drivers most of the time acknowledge their debt to the team and often refer to “we” rather than “I”, making out Ham dpesn’t just sounds like more anti-ham bs, in this case probably to feed the haters and generate clicks when it’s enthusiastically linked to on websites by folk who feel it confirms their own bias….

146

My thoughts are I can give you twenty examples of Lewis thanking the team and praising their efforts after he has won a GP. Just another thing that people like to say about Lewis that stsbds up to zero scrutiny.

147

I hear you, and I’ve witnessed it myself. Although most of what I can remember off the top of my head right now is when Lewis does win.

It should be noted that to me at least it appears he enjoys Hamiltons exploits. I’m not saying he’s right or wrong, it’s just interesting that he obtained this point of view that Lewis brushes his hands off when he doesn’t win.

148

that’s typical hamilton….remember malaysia 16, how he threw them under the bus after it. I hate his attitude honestly, he’s been in the best car for last 5 years and for the first three years had one car to beat with +1 sec over the field…Then they sing praises of his greatness. Compare hamilton to Kimi total class and no bs.

149

Tarun, what’s typical Hamilton? What do you think he said after the American GP?

150

I agree tarun. Hamilton simply has no class and his rhetoric is fake and transparent

151

Everything you’ve said there would apply triple to you. As always, when you point the finger, you always have 3 fingers pointing back at you.

152

Massive non-sequitur. “I hate Lewis’s attitude, he’s had the best car.”

153

Denying the Antecedent
Jim that’s one way to go.
I doubt if Tiny david knows what that means.
So give him a verbal enema and hope for the best ”☄,,,🏃‍♂️

154

How come Hamilton could eat into Raikkonen’s lead during the virtual safety car period? Shouldn’t the distance between them have stayed the same?

155

Not really it could though Max is renowned to always somehow get closer in the VSC mode.
The Deltas show that everyone drove the the appropriate times. Or Charlie would’ve given them a 5sec penalty or a drive through penalty for a mega time infringement.
VSC is open to a Bit of time shaving but not a massive time grab.

156

He didn’t. He pitted and got a cheap pit stop because the rest of the field were driving more slowly under VSC

157
Clarks4WheelDrift

Pit lane shortcuts not VSC delta monitored as much as the track?

or, for a tastier reply,

Charlie Whiting et al are supplied luxury Mercedes road cars each weekend? 😉

158

C4WD40
Utter bull crap Mercedes McLaren and Aston Martin are on track for use. The safety cars are Mercs but I assume Mercedes pay big bucks for that? Or does it change with the winning Manufacturer?
What about Red Bull Max and Redemption Ricci are well versed in closing in on VSC markers. But to a level it doesn’t show up on the VSC monitors as red on their Delta markers.

159
Clarks4WheelDrift

Not the safety car, the big luxury Merc road car with his name on the dash round the back of the paddock that Ted showed off in one of his notebook shows, probably Russia. But more importantly, that ‘tastier reply’ was a joke 😉

160

There’s a number of possible reasons but you’ve asked the wrong question really. Principally the distance between them should be much shorter than art full racing speed. The time gap is what is supposed to be neutralise – but there are a few reasons this doesn’t always happen. At the US, Kimi might have stayed further under the vsc delta than necessary and Hamilton closed in. Second is that there is no ‘earliest point of arrival’ if pitting and therefore at the end of the lap Hamilton pitted on he was able to close in. I think Vettel took advantage of this rule in Australia.

161

With the numbers going just a few more points to his favour related to unreliability, Kimi could have been a 3 time WDC.

But like he said in the interview or something close to it about this win: That’s just numbers, and wont change his life a bit.

At the end of the day, I would be prone to believe him, if anyone on the grid.

While a few writing about F1, ex drivers among them, can’t seem to get him out of F1 fast enough. Fans and teams still have a hard time seeing him leave.

Now Sauber will have a brilliant driver. No one thought a driver that almost exclusively have been driving for a top team would go back to the team where he once started. Knowing he’s not going to win, but for racing. That’s just consistent to how he’s been, nothing else.

No wonder he’s so popular. And I wouldn’t write of another win, be it for Ferrari or Sauber

162

“With the numbers going just a few more points to his favour related to unreliability, Kimi could have been a 3 time WDC.”

Alternatively….one correctly timed pit for Hamilton in China 2007 could have seen Kimi being 0 times WDC

163

and one less for Hamilton if Glock hadn’t been instructed to move aside.

164
Clarks4WheelDrift

😉 You’d be better off with one less due to Rosbergs reliability…

165

You don’t really believe that do you david? It’s been a while since that old chestnut popped up, but I’m game if you are.

Ding ding, Round 1, who told Timo to move over and why?

166

Oh and Trulli too don’t forget. He must’ve been told to do a similar laptime to Glock on those same tires, to keep up the ruse!

167

Krb, Yep Timo benefited, Toyota benefited, it was well worth Timo risking his life on dry tyres in the pouring rain to get in front of Lewis, only to give him the place back! As ever when silly people make silly claims, they seem to go very quiet when challenged ….

168

Oh indeed TimW, and we all saw how Glock benefited for his “gift” with a drive with McLaren-Mercedes, etc.

Was this the same Glock that launched an epic rant at Mercedes after the first DTM race this year?

Anyone who buys into the sensationalist stories like the Glock one, just marks themselves out as an irrational and emotionally driven observer of the sport. Which david so clearly is.

169

KRB, it was all so well planned wasn’t it? Of course it’s obvious why Toyota wanted Lewis to win, isn’t it?

170

And @Brian while we’re at it and dwell in the possibilities of what could have been.

If Alonso would have had his way with Ron, 2007, making McLaren his own playground like running Lewis out of fuel and other curiosities.

The outcome of things to come might not have been to your liking at all.

Not to mine either for that matter

171

And for this you scrutinized the whole history of F1 I presume. And this is what you came up with! Wow.

Or was it just somethig troubling in your head.

Should I change my whole world view because of this new information. Probably not.

7 car or engine related failures in one singel season against 0 for the closest contender can’t outweight your little thing I’m sure.

But to help you get some peace of mind, if only for a second. I’m pretty sure Lewis has forgot everything about it.

Especially when sittning down in that Merc, with no competition to talk about for almost a decade soon.

172

People seem to forget (or ignore…) that the margins are so fine in this sport, that the subtleties and details make the differences between hero and zero.

173

Indeed they are redline, and sometimes, not very often mabye, they’re not even that subtle.

But the subleties can become the main attraction, especially for the ones that are not just casual viewers. I believe that a large portion of the fans recognize them very well

It’s not just because of his good looks, or chatty manner that Kimi has become so popular:))

There is a lot of racing to that, and a lot of subleties indeed

174

@Chris

Sorry my post wasn’t very clear. It was meant in the context of the original post – saying that championship outcomes could have been different if a few small things went the other way. It is (IMO) a mistaken view, as the nature of the sport is that championships are defined by those small things (the subtleties and details).

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