2013 July 28 Debrief: Hungarian F1 Grand Prix

Great racing Lewis!
Notwithstanding that deserving drive to victory, Mercedes have gained tremendous advantage from cheating in the sport. The illegal tire test is now on trajectory to be a decisive element for the outcome of the season.
Lewis Hamilton has demonstrated, today, by winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, that the Mercedes illegal test, perhaps combined with the change in construction and compound from the published specification of the formula, also dubiously initiated, has enabled Mercedes to leapfrog to the front of comparative advantage with their machinery.
And they have Lewis.I am reconfiguring the season through a Lewis-Mercedes as the prime package.

Yes, it makes the season more interesting than a Vettel-Red Bull championship, by Monza, yet I am uneasy with it.
In the absense, however, of the dramatic comparative improvement of Mercedes, however, we would have had a Lotus challenging Vettel, followed by Alonso and Kimi, and a trajectory of a slight Kimi-Lotus primacy for packages. What? Very interesting, all by itself.
I brought more focus to this topic in the media, due to the distorted reporting of various aspects of F1 news, such as, but limited to, the carpet-bombing about ‘how disadvantaged we are, by not getting to go in the Young Drivers’ test, just rotten for us, bad for us….blah, blah, blah, Oh, it is so bad for us. We are so disadvantaged…blah, blah, blah’. Why so much in the news?!?

The Public Relations campaign, could be seen by then, in retrospect, as having been launched, long before the actual illegal test itself! This whole thing was planned, way back, probably at some time during the past year, they had to take a design direction decision, and subsequently had to rebuild the project plan, pushing the design details to use the tires, further out in the timeline, to a point in time, DURING the racing season. Then it would be down to superlative, ice cold project planning with the expanded range of variables, into the governance structure of the FIA.

Then it would simply be a matter of execution of the plan, probably expensive, obviously risky, but even the down side calculated into the formula.
I don’t know what is really going on here, but that’s what it looks like.

The absurdly lenient penalty for breach of rules, bespeaks a superior strategic capability, and understanding of the mechanics of the system of governance in the sport, specifically the FIA; they knew all the soft spots, and pushed it right to the limit; it’s comparable to Vettel’s sublime performance in Hungary 2012!
They got away with it.
Now, they may win one or more of the championships!
What ever you think of Red Bull, they’ve never done anything like this, known to I. Maybe they may have, but not in the public arena. What Red Bull has done, in design, their comparative advantage, is design to the tests for the regulations, not to any kind of interpretive fuzzy area, short of that. Is that cheating? In a way, that is the line, for me. The design parameters are defined by the constraints of the tests for the rules; the rules themselves are interpretive, anchored by the objectivity of the tests. So it is a philosophical value, what one thinks the line of regulations are. They just removed the philosophical margin inherent in the regulations. I don’t think that is cheating.
Who knows what else Red Bull did, but they didn’t conduct an illegal 2000km test!
Even if there is anything beyond the absurdly statistically improbable ratio of mechanical errors that Mark Webber gets on his Red Bull, compared to mechanical errors that Sebastian Vettel gets on his Red Bull.
But, Holy s#1+! Mercedes pushes the centre of their focus of competitive efforts to pushing as far beyond the limits of the FIA system of governance, and get away with it.
That’s too much!
Is this what F1 is becoming, a reality show serial about survival of the strongest in a contrived corporate play ground of Formula One racing?!?
I’d rather see Vettel win a fourth world championship, and for Red Bull, at Monza, as tediously repetitive as that would be.

The Spectacle of the power minions and movers, blaming Pirelli – 2013 July 1st – Canada Day

It is bad for the sport, when…

________________________ … there are many things the close observer might write in (with their purple crayon, or other annotating instrument of the moment).

One of them could be, “Obsessive corporate wrangling and jockeying!?!

From my last entry, of April 25th of this year of arbitrary counting, 2013, the Formula One season has been blighted by exertion of pressures, in manners quite different from the technical challenge of making the fastest pairing of man and machinery, to go the fastest around race tracks, within the constraints as documented in the formula.  These activities are completely outside of the formula, as it is presented to us, the fans.  

So it is, within our frames of reference, as delineated by the formula for 2013, we observe, baffled, by the avalanche of bullshit roaring down the mountain of the power structures dominating this drama.

Let us review the basic facts that fall into relevance by way of the formula:

  1. Pirelli were instructed to create a tire within specific window of specifications; of note, they were told to bring tires that would degrade in a specific fashion.
  2. Pirelli delivered within the target specifications.
  3. Teams use the equipment, tires, outside of their designed specification, i.e. underload tire pressure, below recommendations of the manufacturer, to gain performance advantage.
  4. Existing established champions, ironically, since they are a marketing brand, based around a revamped caffeinated beverage, from a corporation challenger which has based it’s marketing success around the concept of, ‘like being the, radical dude, alternative”.
  5. Long standing automotive heavy-weight corporation is restless with being unable to crack the pinnacle of marketing alphaism, despite their bloated world-class technical line-up and having taken over a reigning world champion team.  Obsessive corporate minions attempt to remediate the ‘not-winning-the-championship issue’, by attempting to smack around the ego, (and attending appendages) of the most proven team executive, inserting their zombie corporate partnership, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumbass, politicos.  Tweedle-Dumbass seems modeled after the reigning system’s also German-speaking loose cannon, though comes with unchallengeable in-car credentials, and extensive corporate seasoning in his own right.  Of Tweedle-Dee, we see mostly only his smiling face from the shadows where he likes to lurk, his armoury of stealthy weaponry unseen to most.
  6. I believe a sub-plot of perennial champions, with engine supplier becoming a works team, making pragmatic strategic alternative, for power supply, and oddly fallen from creating the best machinery in year one, end up with the worst machinery in year two, to be relevant to the overall story.
  7. Several teams, including the infamous Goliath of the show, get their shit together, and in alignment with the formula, build machinery to maximize the performance with the published tire specifications, and achieve improving results because of it.
  8. The establishment champion team, a key element of its corporate business, continues to develop their machinery at comparative advantage to all of their rivals, as they have been doing for over four years, with their freakishly capable design guru; including, but not limited to, mitigating their current tire specification management capability. Note: those who doubted this likelihood, earlier on in the season, just have not been paying adequate attention to the patterns in the business.
  9. There is tire failure at a F1 grandprix weekend.
  10. Automotive heavy-weight corporation, and caffeine-fueled marketing brand corporation, having not designed their machinery to use the tire specification appropriately, rachet-up a pervasive carpet-bombing approach of propaganda and perception management (marketing a public relation, as it is euphemistically called, these days) around the ‘deficiencies’ of the tire specification, as initially published in late 2012.
  11. A motion to mollify the whining from the established champion team, and the aggressive German  automotive heavy-weight, by changing the tire specification is rejected by the teams that spent their energies, apparently in good faith, to develop their machinery to the published specifications.
  12. The automotive heavy-weight implements a series of activities which garners them an test opportunity, explicitly in contempt with the existing rules, (supposedly) governing the business (I mean, ‘competition’), and effectively nullifies the preponderance of their fundamental design deficiencies in using the tire specification.
  13. The German automotive giant receives a laughable punishment for undeniable breach of the rules necessarily gaining them operating advantage in the competition, yet increases their campaign against what they describe as unacceptable tire specifications (first published in 2012).
  14. There is a spectacular series of tire failures at the British Grand Prix, directly affecting the crowd favourite.
  15. Despite the tire supplier delivering as per the directives they received, and releasing the tire specifications in 2012, and the teams using the tires outside of their design specification, and the minor, yet decisive track deficiencies, the hordes, whipped into a frenzy by the propaganda, focused on the tires performance, the tires and their manufacturer are getting pounded by the tidal waves of blame, created for just such a purpose.

Last year was so good.

This year was looking hopefully to continue that fine show, but Monaco, then Canada, now Silverstone have shown how far and how fast the spectacle can sink.

What will be do, after Bernie?