Grid, Silverstone, 2016

Grosjean dismisses complaints over Safety Car start

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean defends the decision to start the British Grand Prix behind the Safety Car.

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Comment of the day

Sean reckons F1 needs to get over its hang-up with technological perfection:

I’m fed up with this attitude that F1 must be the pinnacle of vehicle development and the use of technology therein cannot and should not be controlled.

F1 is by definition a sport and a competition. There are technical and business elements yes, but these would not be there if not for the sporting element and the human instinct to compete.

Horse racing, boxing the 100m sprint. These are sports outwardly untouched by 21st technology from a competitive point of view, but they are great and popular sports.

F1 rules should be about progressing the fairness, closeness of competition, entertainment and spectacle of the sport. Not slavishly believing that new technology improves everything.

I want to see cars driven by drivers and not engineers, strategists or committees!
Sean Newman

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On this day in F1

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  • 40 comments on “Grosjean dismisses complaints over Safety Car start”

    1. I think the comment of the day is forgetting their are plenty of other motorsport that have a stuck in the mud philosophy and which are purely about the driver and not the team.

      You can watch feeder series like GP2 if you just want a level ‘ish’ playing field. Or go karting if you want to see something where technology is completely taken out of the euqation. Horse racing is still available to those who don’t want to see any technology what so ever.

      Formula 1 always has and hopefully always will be a team sport. Combining engineering, strategy and driving talent. There is no need to relinquish that and turn it into a spec series that purely focuses on the driver, those kind of series already exist and there is a reason why Formula 1 is more popular. The people who think it should be neutered can go watch them rather than being a vocal minority who want the popular series to be the series they want.

      1. I agree with the “team” and the “technology” parts of @philipgb, s post for exactly the reasons he espouses, I would like to add though that I would like to separate the areas of responsibility so that the car is built by the engineers but driven by the driver, that is, whatever adjustments are available in-car should be operable by the driver without the need for a computer. Part of the skill of driving has always involved adjusting engine tune, even early road cars had driver operated ignition advance and retard, fuel enrichment, opening/closing radiator fins etc. I would also like to endorse Alonso’s call for more design freedom but realise that Bernie will not allow the teams to keep more of the revenue so as to develop better cars.

        1. I think I get what you mean to say there @hohum, and I pretty much agree with it (@philipgb s comment too). But this part is just not realistic

          without the need for a computer.

          .
          Literaly every system in the car is run by the computer. In my mind I translate that statement to mean “not using programming or uncomprehensible and not described numbered setting choices” instead wanting teams to just give their drivers a more simplified menu for in car problem solving, probably paired with having to build in a few more safety margins

          1. @bascb, I should have been more concise, yes the computer is integral to the cars operation but it should not be necessary for a team of engineers poring over THEIR computers to decide for the driver whether “engine mode 7 and differential setting 5” is better than “engine mode 5 and differential setting 7”, that should be left for the driver to decide based on his feel for the car and whether he wants his tyres to last an extra lap or he wants to open as big a gap as possible etc, cc. @philipgb,@darryn,@john-h,

            1. YEah, that makes sense, and I gathered that was what you meant to say @hohum.

        2. @hohum

          I understood the intention of the radio ban rules, I just don’t think it’s added to the sport. The competitive order hasn’t changed, the races haven’t been made noticeably more entertaining and there have just been a few embarrassing incidents of how bureaucratic and arbitrary they’ve been.

          It honestly just feels like the rule makers are regulating themselves into relevancy. It’s like a cancer, you have people who’s job it is to make rules and regulations, and they just won’t stop making rules and regulations regardless of if the need is there or not because that’s all they know how to be.

      2. I have been watching F1 for more than I care to admit and I really never thought of it as a team sport until recently. I think maybe in the last 10 years the media started with the team concept and started focusing more on the awkward looking engineers sitting on the pit walls and turning them into hero’s. Maybe having less charismatic drivers in the last few decades was the cause of this. I always considered it an individual sport. Guys like Prost, Schumacher,Senna , Mansell, Lauda,Hunt and Piquet were the ultimate individualists and did not ever make me think of F1 as a team sport. The engineers built the cars and kept their ugly faces off the camera’s and the drivers drove them.

        1. What’s the point of that hate against engineers @darryn?

      3. Agreed. Great comment. If you followed the logic of the COTD, the highest form of Motorsport should be Karting… but it hasn’t worked out that way because F1 is just as much an engineering competition, and long may it continue.

      4. Gordon Forrester
        22nd July 2016, 9:27

        Is F1 still so popular. I wouldnt miss a show on TV in the old days. Now I’d rather watch Tour de France, even if the guys take drugs. They are phenomenal. F1 has lost its way. Controlled tyres, fuel usage, and all the technology has destroyed the sport. It is dead until it gets back to balls to the wall racing. Then there are the things you don’t see like restrictor plates, weight penalties and the like. I’m thankful for the safety regulations but the days of the Cooper Climax, Cooper JAP, and the old ERA were the pinnacle.

      5. “Formula 1 always has and hopefully always will be a team sport”

        So can we please ditch the WDC then? Because it is effectively meaningless. Having the best car + beating your teammate should not = WDC status.

        Sports today have an obligation to delivery to the viewer a reliable pecking order. Instead of this, F1 leaves us with really no way of truly knowing who the best driver is. I would say this website has a well informed comment section (for the most part!) and yet the amount of tedious bickering over who is the best driver(s) rages on and on. This is because often all anyone has to go on is bias. Unless you’re privy to telemetry feeds there’s really no way of saying with confidence that driver A outperformed driver B (aside from obvious driver errors that we do see on tv). Through experience you can build convoluted cases to pretty much support any argument you want, but I think the sport needs to throw us a bone with this one.

        The other point is that the WDC is what most people are interested in. This site has driver of the weekend and driver rankings at the summer break and at the end of season. But no team of the weekend or team of the season rankings… Why not? I thought this was a team sport?

        Yes, it has always been this way, but the interests of the spectator and the focus of the sport need to be better aligned. I enjoy the tech race but it needs to be less of a factor than driver input. With the direction F1 is headed right now it won’t be long before they discard the drivers altogether.

        1. Well then who is the best ? Ibrahimovic or Ronaldo or Griezmann or Messi or Iniesta or Pogba ? And who was the best ? Eusebio, Zidane, Cruyf , Pelé ? Bickering is not F1 centric…

          1. Good point. I’d just add that best has been and will always be Pelé ! :D

          2. Football doesn’t celebrate an individual player as world champion @tango

        2. @asherway

          You’re creating a false dilemma that just because F1 is a team sport it can’t also celebrate a driver champion as well. F1 is a team sport, but it’s unique amongst sport in that within that team is probably the fiercest rivalry.

          I am quite happy to celebrate F1 as a team sport which combines the intrigue of technical development and strategy with the individual talent and glory of a driver. And I also find the endless and somewhat subjective debate of who the best driver is a fascinating aspect too.

    2. James Coulee
      22nd July 2016, 0:13

      Every sport has its different appeals. F1 isn’t boxing or horse racing. It’s a team sport and I want to be both at awe with the drivers and the engineering.

    3. “I want to see cars driven by drivers and not engineers, strategists or committee”

      What’s stopping you?

    4. “Horse racing, boxing the 100m sprint. These are sports outwardly untouched by 21st technology from a competitive point of view, but they are great and popular sports.”….

      That’s nonsense. Ask Puma how much research and technology goes into making a pair spikes for Usain Bolt…

      Ask Anthony Joshua how much his training regime has changed and the types of technology he uses to make him perform better…

      Ask Henry Cecile how much research and advance equipments he uses to make the horses he trains become better.

      If you just want to see cars driven by drivers and not engineers, well there’s always the Red Bull soapbox event. Oh wait, even that you can see top notch engineering at work.

      1. Exactly Kgn11! IT might not be as visible but all sports nowadays put in a huge amount of research to get the best results.

    5. Sean Newman, the guy who wrote the COTD has forgotten that F1 sadly is, and always has been- really all about who has the best outright package- particularly the best car, and who did the best job in the offseason- particularly in the first season with new regulations. That is how you win in F1, and that is why Merc are winning at the moment- particularly with Paddy Lowe at the helm of engineering. There has never been such a thing in F1 as the cars all being equal- that has never been the case- even during the European Grand Prix Championship in the 1930’s. Grand Prix is not entirely about on-track competition. It has always been about 3 things in somewhat equal measure: the technology, the on-track competition, and the internal politics. That’s why some people find it entertaining- for those 3 things.

      Some cars are designed better thanks to greater budgets or the best engineers working on the project with just enough money to do what they want. Formula One is too complex and too restricted these days for teams to catch up to others that are ahead. Ferrari and Red Bull- with these current regulations will never catch up to Mercedes. They are in front because they have the best outright package out of all the teams.

      IndyCar and NASCAR, on the other hand, is really all about who prepares their cars the best. Everyone has more or less the same equipment (except for the engines, which are more or less the same anyway) and there is always close racing.

      1. I’d agree that Sean’s view of the sport comes across as being rather blinkered by wanting to narrow down the areas of competition, as if competitive spirit can only be expressed through physical exertion alone (rather underlined by the choice of sports that he made a comparison with).

      2. So true: I like those elements of F1. The drama that comes from off track events render the passings more exciting.
        I really hope F1 never becomes a spec series.

    6. All I would have to say to Grosjean is that you are supposed to be one of the finest 22 drivers in the world. Deal with it! There’s a reason we are all not in the car and you are. Besides they managed it pretty well in 2008. I agreed with the safety car in Monaco because its Monaco but for that to happen in Silverstone was ridiculous, maybe not the start itself but for how long it stayed out for.

      1. The spray – visibility – is a very important part of why they do SC starts in these conditions @addimaf1. If you haven’t seen what happened only too often before they did so, go and watch some of the older races.

        A lot of the early red flags were caused by drivers from the back of the grid going full speed into the back of cars stalled on the grid because they just did not see them. The SC start at Silverstone was ok, although I do think it should have come in a few laps earlier.

    7. Red Bull is being hyped up so much for this race, so in the usual style, expect Mercedes domination

      1. You’re right they are likely to have the fastest car as the Mercedes has still been the form car at Hungary despite not winning the last 2 years but they have form for throwingn the races away. In 2014 had Hamilton been able to qualify I’m pretty sure he could have won, in 2015 a sloppy start and opening lap cost them victory again.

        I think the irony here is that the team may be better off giving Hamilton a package that’s probably only the second fastest car like in 2012 and 2013 and just let him muscle the win.

    8. McLaren strong in this track? The track has been resurfaced that should help them anyhow, their performances this year point out to better races at point and squirt tracks.

    9. Daniil Kvyat: “Just put a normal kerb there and you don’t need all these electronic systems. It seems like the people who are taking these directions don’t know what to do.”

      I cannot disagree more. An open door does not allow you to trespass. Now the track is safe with flat kerbs and electric control is in my eyes for sure the way to go. This is just another one of those moments where Kvyat opens his mouth all though but when raceday comes he’s the first to get a penalty.

      1. Hm, I am of two minds on this @xtwl.

        On the one hand I am fully with drivers like Kvyat, Vettel etc. saying that it would be bette if there was a physical reason just not to do it (go off track) because it is not faster. But then we get issues with ppl complaining about saugage kerbs ruining their suspension, Pirelli blaming excessively running over kerbing for punctures etc. and we are back to square 1.

        On the other hand installing timing loops (let them test if this works, and then install them EVERYWHERE) to make detection automatic instead of relying on it being seen by competitors, the TV camera’s or marshalls is certainly an improvement over the hit and miss way they do detect currently. But then, while during qualifying it is easy – just ditch any lap where they went off track (I would be all for not allowing even 2 wheels off track instead of almost the full car), how do you act in a race? Are you going to hand warnings and penalise (going up from 5-10-20 seconds?) automatically after that?

        1. Are you going to hand warnings and penalise (going up from 5-10-20 seconds?) automatically after that?

          @bascb Possibly the one thing race sims actually do better than real life racing. My answer is yes. In the many leagues I have raced I have known several drivers to have been DSQ after a race for excessive track extension, or continuous corner cutting to gain an advantage. iRacing for example works with a strike rate and if you go above that tally you will get DSQ. Other games work with slow down penalties for each infringement, that’s a bit too much to implement in real life.

          I fully believe in order for drivers to respect track limits penalties should be issued if a driver reaches a certain tally over a race distance. Sadly F1 is not a world of moral and drivers only respect what they know will give them trouble if they do not.

          1. You might be right and I can see everyone getting used to something like this @xtwl if done consistently at all tracks at all corners.

            Possibly giving 1-3 warnings and then start giving additive time penalties (either taken at pitstops or added after the race) more or less automatically based on timing loops.

            But just imagine how Brundel and Crofty and their tweets are going to be all over it the first time Hamilton loses a race (or position) because of it!

            1. at all tracks at all corners.

              @bascb A vital note to make this work indeed. From the first turn in Melbourne to the last one in Abu Dhabi and no exceptions like Ascari.

              I would up the allowed mistakes to 5. After that you get a warning, it happens a 6th time you get another warning, happens a 7th time you get a +10s penalty, happens a nth time +2s penalty for each single inf.

            2. Obviously stewards keep watch over possible allowed infringements like being pushed wide, or as avoiding action during the start for example.

            3. good point about having to then potentially solve issues where someone is penalized because they went off ttrack caused by another driver. That means they need some kind of override for such occasions (although with the allowance for warnings, it would not happen all too often.)

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        22nd July 2016, 8:53

        @xtwl, to borrow a few quotes:
        “I cannot disagree more” with your comment. I don’t want people in rooms or even computers to determine which/how much penalty receives for his ‘naughtyness’. Track position should reflect race position.

        “I fully believe in order for drivers to respect track limits penalties should be issued”. But those penalties should be mechanical and instantaneous like astro turf, slippery surface, kerbs that slow you down, etc. Then the race drivers will seek the limits and their racecraft will allow them to stay just within those limits.
        And if they make a mistake we’ll see the result in the lap time immediately.

        1. Track position should reflect race position. @coldfly

          Yes, but that position should be earned fairly, not not by going straight on in a chicane, or making Blanchimont a little bit wider like Verstappen in Spa last year,…

          On your second alinea, I fully agree astroturf, slippery surface and kerbs are more interesting but those were sadly not an option in this debate, face it they’ll never come back. In the end I don’t see the difference between the two, yours has an effect right away and the penalties at the end, in a more visual way. Both serve the same purpose and would be equally effective if implemented correct.

          I predicted someone would come up with the old ‘oh no more penalties’ argument but there would only be penalties if drivers disrespect the rules. And I have always been a strong advocate of track limits being policed more strict.

    10. Ask Hamilton the same questions you ask Alonso about the present and future of F1 you will very likely get starkly different answers… #perspectives

    11. “It’s good, I like it,” [Button] said. “The way things are, all of the kerbs are pretty similar on all circuits now, so they’re easy to run over on exits. We need something, we need a limit to stop us going over there.”

      This is the pinnacle of backwards thinking in Formula 1. Let’s analyse this: Button makes the observation that the current kerbs are easy to run over, which means that drivers can abuse track limits as much as they like. Aha, so it’s the kerbs that are the problem, they are too easy to run over nowadays. The solution? Let’s do nothing about the kerbs and at an electronic system to monitor drivers going too wide. It makes… no sense.

      If the kerb stones are the problem, then fix the kerb stones. It’s not rocket science.

      1. at

        add :)

    12. By most terms I’m a novice to motorsporrts. I’ve only been watching F1 since 2008. But if there is one undeniable fact I’ve found its that most formula one fans have no idea what they want from the series. I see people constently battling over which is more important; driver, technology, the team etc…At the end of the day formula one is about men strapping into uber fast cars and racing like hell. There is far too much disagreement amongst the fan base which I feel turns people off. I don’t know about most of you but when my biggest complaint about a sport is that the halo will take away from the visual aesthetic of a formula one car then my goodness, we are all so lucky to be in this position and watch this beautiful sport ebb and flow. Most fans have forgotten what the core of this sport is; men and women up against the forces of gravity in a quest to see who can go faster. The chaos that ensues builds memories for a lifetime. Good gracious I love this sport.

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