Does F1 need provisions for penalties for situations involving substitution drivers?

Following his botched attempt to overtake Pascal Wehrlein at the 2017 F1 Monaco GP, the stewards handed Jenson Button a three-place grid penalty. Button is unlikely ever to serve this penalty as his participation was a one-off substitution for Fernando Alonso, who was competing in the Indy500.

It isn’t the juiciest of topics, but it’s worth noting that the F1 Sporting Regulations make no provision for any meaningful penalty in these situations.

Continue reading “Does F1 need provisions for penalties for situations involving substitution drivers?”

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Does F1 need provisions for penalties for situations involving substitution drivers?

What we saw at the 2017 Monaco GP was not Ferrari favouring Vettel for the championship

Formula 1 loves a good favouritism story, especially when it involves Ferrari. It was a constant theme across the Michael Schumacher-Rubens Barrichello partnership, sometimes going so far as to imply that Schumacher’s success was solely a product of Barrichello’s subservience. In fact, so much of an issue has been made out of Ferrari’s imposition of team orders that the F1 Sporting Regulations around them have been changed several times in the past two decades.

It seems this obsessions continues. From the moment Kimi Raikkonen took pole ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the 2017 Monaco GP, commentators queried whether Ferrari would somehow switch them to hand Vettel the win and maximize his chances in what is so far a close battle with Lewis Hamilton for the driver’s championship. When Raikkonen then pitted first from the lead in the race and Vettel put in enough fast laps to build a gap that enabled him to emerge ahead of his teammate after his own pitstop, commentary immediately suggested this was a deliberate tactic, even a fait accompli.

However, the evidence doesn’t support this. Continue reading “What we saw at the 2017 Monaco GP was not Ferrari favouring Vettel for the championship”

What we saw at the 2017 Monaco GP was not Ferrari favouring Vettel for the championship

Nico Rosberg is a worthy F1 World Champion, and a great ambassador for the sport

On his F1 debut at the Bahrain GP in 2006, Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap and seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of his father, 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg. Yesterday that destiny was realised when, 34 years later, Nico became the 2016 World Champion.

The words destined and destiny have been chosen ironically. There was nothing fatalistic about Nico’s pursuit and ultimate achievement of his WDC. Quite the opposite, it has been an extremely hard slog for more than a decade, one that would have broken the spirit of many in the sport. It has required dedication, commitment and mental fortitude rarely seen. Continue reading “Nico Rosberg is a worthy F1 World Champion, and a great ambassador for the sport”

Nico Rosberg is a worthy F1 World Champion, and a great ambassador for the sport

Nico Rosberg likely to get penalty at British GP

During the 2014 F1 season the FIA began toying with a radio ban that would limit the information that teams could communicate to drivers during a race. This was to more accurately incorporate the sentiment that drivers should have to manage their own races, as reflected in Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which states that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided”.

After tinkering with this for 18 months, a comprehensive ban was introduced for the 2016 F1 season. Teams have been given several races “grace period” to come to terms with the rules, during which time they have merely received warnings from race control. They were told that from the British GP onwards potential breaches would be referred to the stewards.

Continue reading “Nico Rosberg likely to get penalty at British GP”

Nico Rosberg likely to get penalty at British GP

Formula 1’s qualifying flop a reminder of the sport’s conflicting objectives

Saturday’s Formula 1 qualifying at the season opening Australian Grand Prix highlighted one of the sport’s underlying problems: that its wealth is a two-edged sword.

Formula 1’s income, and ultimately its survival, is dependent upon casual viewers and new fans. These are the people who make up the bulk of the TV audience, which dictates the cost of the TV rights, which is how Formula 1 makes its money. The more fans there are, the more expensive the TV rights, the more revenue the sport receives. To attract casual viewers and new fans the sport must be exciting and engaging upfront on a race by race basis: it must be entertaining without the need for greater investment. Continue reading “Formula 1’s qualifying flop a reminder of the sport’s conflicting objectives”

Formula 1’s qualifying flop a reminder of the sport’s conflicting objectives

What is the end game for Red Bull & Renault in F1?

Since the introduction of new regulations at the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season, Red Bull have struggled. An interview given by Daniel Ricciardo the weekend of the Canadian GP suggested this was not just related to the Renault engine but also the Red Bull chassis, about which they are, according to him, “lost”. Nevertheless, under the current F1 regulations the power unit is essential for competitiveness. Renault’s power unit lacks power and efficiency of the energy recovery components compared to the Mercedes and Ferrari power units, and also has driveability issues and problems with its integration into the Red Bull chassis.

To some degree, this was antiticipated in the lead up to the change in regulations. Renault had arguably the best engine under the existing (2009 – 2013) regulations and was focused on the success of their partnership with Red Bull during that period. It is difficult, Continue reading “What is the end game for Red Bull & Renault in F1?”

What is the end game for Red Bull & Renault in F1?