Sunday, April 25, 2010

1.5L Turbos in 2013?

Here is an Autosport article reporting that the likely F1 powerplant for 2013 and beyond will be a 1.5L turbo charged engine. The article is about Ferrari wanting to pursue direct gasoline injection technology on the grounds that it is relevant to road technology.

Interesting quote from the article:
"The fascinating thing about Formula 1 is it's fast, it's loud, it's on the limit," [Mercedes Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug] told AUTOSPORT. "We can discuss green initiatives, but Formula 1 needs to be technically driven. If you fly from Europe to Japan on a 747, you would use more fuel than an entire F1 season."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Your Obvious News For The Day

Unsurprisingly, Hamilton thinks that the stewards' decisions have been just fine so far this year. Since he's gotten away with at least two questionable actions so far, he'd naturally think so.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Business As Usual

Well I was working enough this weekend that I somehow failed to get the PVR sorted, and being on the job this morning meant I couldn't catch the race live. But like any good commentator I can have an opinion about something I've not seen, right?

So what happened?
  • Rain;
  • Button making a lucky brilliant tire choice;
  • collisions in the mid-field; and
  • Hamilton doing something which feels vaguely improper in some way but somehow escaping from the incident with nothing more than a warning reprimand. (Sure do enjoy the difference these former-drivers-turned-stewards are making to the effectiveness of the rules enforcement, eh? What's going to be the magic term for the next race? He'll be "cautioned" instead?)
Sounds like business as usual at the FIA.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rain Action

So we've now had two races with rain, and both of them yielded more action than the dry desert race we had before.

Australia featured a lot of action, with cars having more ability to pass each other. Malaysia seemed to be drying faster, and after the initial burst of activity we were left with a high-speed procession -- until mechanical failures happened.

While the track at Bahrain was not conducive to having a lot of passing, one would have hoped that a car which was a second faster than the one it was catching up to would be able to at least have a couple of good goes.

Australia had the tire change gamble that paid off for Button and not so much for the Red Bull cars or Hamilton. Behind the leaders there was quite a bit of action due to the still wet sectinos of the track. Malaysia seemed to dry more quickly and once everyone settled down there wasn't much action.

At this point people are predicting rain for China tomorrow, and while that might be good as far as action goes, it would be nice to see a dry race to see if the 2010 cars are actually any good at providing more than a high speed train.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Driver Stewards: Not Impressed So Far

So one of the new ideas for 2010 is that one of the stewards at an event will be a former driver. The idea is that this driver can bring balance to the stewards council and the stewards will therefore be seen to be more fair and balanced.

The Malasian GP of 2010 pretty much puts lie to that theory.

The stewards made themselves noticed twice during this event.

First, Lewis Hamilton was fighting for position with Dmitri Petrov's Renault. Hamilton got past into turn one, but went deep and Petrov went by on the inside. Second time past, Hamilton went back and forth and back and forth down the main straight, an action that a lesser man might construe as "weaving". Hamilton defends himself:
I wasn’t weaving for him, I was weaving to break the tow.
The stewards took a look at this behavior, and decided that while it wasn't weaving, it wasn't sportsmanlike behavior, and Hamilton was warned.


Either it was weaving, or it wasn't. If it was, it deserves punishment. If it wasn't, then it doesn't deserve notice.

Now the problem from this is that drivers may get the idea that they can drive like that once and they will get away with a warning.

Consider this -- had it been Petrov's Renault doing the weaving trying to break the tow, no doubt McLaren would have been screaming bloody murder and Hamilton would have some words about how dangerous it was. And I don't doubt for a second that the stewards would come down hard on Petrov.

The second time the stewards got involved was at the end of the race when it was determined that eventual race-winner Vettel had passed a Lotus under waved yellow conditions during the race:
During Sunday's race, the 22-year-old passed Lotus' Jarno Trulli while yellow flags were waving, and a stewards report said Vettel "did breach ... the international sporting code".
Despite this determination, no penalty was assessed, because...
But the stewards, including former Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert, said the Red Bull slowed down in the yellow flag area, and noted that Trulli at the time had "an obvious problem".
...the "obvious problem" being that he was recognizing the yellow flags.

We won't see this decision tested, because the driver home in second place was the other Red Bull and there wouldn't be anything to gain by Red Bull protesting their own driver's conduct. But had the Mercedes been home in second place that close to Vettel's car, I'm quite sure there would have been a protest.

Both of these "decisions" are reminiscent of the FIA's clown-court favoritism that results in popular, or championship-leading, drivers being held to one standard while the rest of the field is held to another. The only thing lacking from this weekend was a decision against a back-marker driver that was similarly marginal, defended by the paper equivalent of shrugging shoulders and a "well them's the rules, sorry" explanation.

Having the drivers on the stewards board was supposed to eliminate this type of circus.

I'm not impressed so far.