Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Team Orders Should Be OK

F1Fanatic has an article saying that the no-team-orders rule in F1 needs to stay. While one could make the case that fans want to see drivers in contention for the world championship be free to pursue that, the defense of the rule is ultimately hypocritical:
It’s clear from the vehement reaction to Austria 2002 and Germany 2010, and the muted response to Brazil 2007 and China 2008, that fans have far less objection to team orders being used when one driver is out of the running for the championship.

But they expect teams to allow their drivers to compete for the championship as long as both are in contention. It’s clear F1 needs a rule to enforce that and I see no reason why the existing article 39.1 can’t be updated to do so.
Such an update to the rule would make it unwieldy. How are you going to make the update? Based on points behind the championship leader? Wins? Some kind of sliding scale that changes based on the number of races remaining?

There is also the semantic difference between a race result being "fixed" as a result of the team's orders, and a race result being "fixed" as a result of two drivers conspiring. As in: I don't really see one. Both results are "fixed", yet because one came from an order from the pit wall, it is somehow bad.

I've written on team orders before. Even though I was very disappointed to see Massa be ordered to yield to Alonso, I think that team orders should remain. I noted that McLaren spends a lot of money to have two race cars run on Sundays, and if it should please Ron Dennis (at the time) to have one car run in front of the other, then I see no reason why he should be denied.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Well Played, Sir.

Seems like bad luck is following Alonso around this year the way good luck is following Hamilton.

Yesterday's result, however, can be laid at Alonso's feet almost entirely. He claims he had an issue with the clutch at launch; whatever actually happened, Alonso fell backwards through the grid in the run up to the first corner. He found his feet ahead of his team mate, however in my view he defended his line rather aggressively against Massa, triggering a collision with the result that Massa had a tire go down and was forced to pit at the end of lap one. Thus ended Massa's day.

Later on Alonso got tangled up with Kubica, engineering a situation where he allowed himself to be forced wide, cutting the corner -- after which he went charging off into the distance.

At that moment I said Alonso had cut the corner and should hand the place back. To do so now would mean a loss of 5 seconds; if Alonso stalled long enough, the FIA would force him to make a drive-through which would cost him 20 seconds.

And isn't that more or less exactly what happened?

The fact that Alonso's penalty was assigned just before a Safety Car period was just bad luck, but with all the bad-mouthing of the FIA and stewards that has been coming from Ferrari over the last two weeks I don't think anyone in the stewards' room felt terribly bad for Alonso.

The net result was Ferrari's worst event since something like 1988. Well done, sir.

(Update: I stand corrected, it was the worst finish since 1978:
But Ferrari suffered their worst two-car finish since the 1978 French Grand Prix, when Gilles Villeneuve and Carlos Reutemann finished 12th and 18th respectively.
Worst result in 32 years. Outstanding.)

The whole weekend makes me think about going back and looking through the other incidents of Alonso having bad luck to see how many of them he actually engineered for himself.

Somehow I don't think this is the kind of result envisioned by the Ferrari team directors when they ousted Raikkonen and had Alonso join early.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Environmentally Friendly

Here is an article about the environmental impact of F1:
A FOTA-commissioned report into the environmental impact of Formula found that each team produces an average of 215,558 tonnes of CO2 per year. Of that, 0.29% comes from the burning of fuel by F1 cars in testing and races. Over half an F1 teams’ emissions are produced in producing parts and electricity consumption accounts for another 30%.
Of course the largest impact a sport has on the environment is the fans travelling to and from the events. By this measure, the World Cup has a higher environmental impact than does Formula One.

Update: Hamilton vs. Safety Car

F1.Fanatic has a post which includes video of Hamilton's safety car transgression. Worth watching. Seems as though Hamilton could have made it through if he had not hesitated -- the difference at the line is about a third of a car length. Not sure if Alonso would have also made it through had Hamilton not hesitated.