2013 Bahrain F1 Grand Prix – post-Qualifying

Many are asking: What happened to the Kimi-Lotus pace?

This is a race with high complexity.  It is not as if they all are not of intensive complexity, yet this season’s continued challenging tire management variability seems a confounding incremental bundle of variability to the otherwise complicated endeavour.

I feel intense complication into the first corner, with intense intra-team, and extra-team rivalries creating powerful stressors, increasing probabilities of destruction.

But if the safety car doesn’t have to come out…

I would normally expect Vettel to lead by the second corner, and a Ferrari.  Normally the knee jerk reaction would be to assume Fernando; but Filipe lines up behind Vettel, who, according to this theory, out-drags Rosberg to the first corner; Alonso behind Rosberg.  If one assumes the Ferraris and Vettel to get the better of Rosberg-Mercedes, Rosberg can block, one, or the other, but not both, and possibly neither.  This scenario continues with an intense Vettel-Alonso battle to Vettel’s first stop, around… what, lap 10 of 11?  Alonso drops the hammer for two, possibly three more, and likely, Massa having passed a topping or going Rosberg, by lap 14, certainly, takes the lead on the harder rubber.  In this hypothetical scenario, Massa holds his victory’s chances in his own hands!  Can he drop the hammer, and reel off faster and faster laps, from the front, maximum tire preservation, to what?  lap 22, maybe 23?  Expect Massa to be on a two-stop strategy, possibly to cover Kimi?!?  Kimi must pass Massa in the first stint to ave a viable chance of winning on a two stopper, which other close observers must have concluded, also.

After the first stop, there re just too many variables to really get a handle on a pattern of performance.  For example, the Force Indias are THE FASTEST down the straights, and they have been pretty darn good on tire management; a Force India could win tomorrow!  But…. there is such an intense, searing rivalry, burning beneath the surface, wil they get past the first corner intact, from a start where they are so close?

Their day could be here; maybe if good enough, a double podium?!?

And after all, why not Rosberg holding everybody back, take control of the race, manage the tires as far as anybody else starting on mediums, and advance dramatically on Massa still out on hards in a long-running first stint?  Go Nico, go!

But maybe Lotus has maximized Kimi’s already best preservational use of the primary constraining variable of this race, the rear tire wear.  Maybe that means he has a harder time, ‘digging-in’, on a single lap jam; then again, maybe he’ll go as far on the mediums as Massa on the hards.

There is just so much at play here, enjoy!

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2013 March 24 – Vettel wins ugly, and gracelessly, further complicating the intrigue…

It’s pretty ugly.
I have to say, after finally understanding and admiring Sebastian Vettel from his performances from Budapest, in 2012, my opinion of him is really bad now.
‘Fuck you’ to anyone comparing Vettel to the best driver of all time, (a Brazilian, born March 21, 1960, according to Wikipedia), and justifying Vettel’s actions; that is sick, in the good old-fashioned, messed-up-in-the-head, kind of way.
Neither do I buy the argument that the points difference in this race, between first and second, being greater than the margin between Vettel’s points total and the runner up, Alonso in 2012, justifies what Vettel did. If this was close to the end of the season, and the points landscape was similar to last season’s, I might feel differently about it. But this is the second of 19 races. Vettel has three world championships, fully deserved, but can’t he win it and be gracious at the same time? Also, the team component makes a difference down the stretch; I believe, ultimately, the cost for this cunning stuntery, will be much more than seven points. I think it will cost Vettel the championship; and it should!
I hope Mark works dedicated to himself for the rest of the season, and goes for it! Then, whatever happens, likely out of the ride at Red Bull, he’ll know that he took his best shot. It’s now or never Mark, go for it, knowing you’ve more than earned the right to focus on looking after yourself. Go for it, otherwise, you’ll be finished in Formula One never knowing… You are feral Mark. Stop repressing it. It’s time to let it out, and you just got the license to do it! Good luck mate.
Lewis and Nico did the right thing and I Mercedes is now looking pretty strong. Lewis is Lewis, but in a fair fight, if such a thing exists, I really don’t see too much between them; definitely within the distance of random chance playing a decisive role in the final outcome. I don’t think Lewis did anything wrong, at all! And I’d bet, that in a similar, but reversed situation, Hamilton will hold. He might not have done it before, but we’ll never know, because he’ll do it now, if it happensm at least one pay back time; who knows, maybe more. So I think Rosberg earned a lot with this payment of points. Rosberg could win the title this year.
I think Red Bull has opened the door for Mercedes to win the 2013 Formula One championship!
Sure it was Sebastian Vettel who actually made the move. But the attitude required to make such a move has surely been fostered by the ridiculous coddling of Vettel in the RB stable.
I’m loving the tires, by the way. Good job Pirelli!

The Red Bull controversy is really, really handy for Ferrari. For Red Bull, did ultimately come away from the race with first and second.
At Ferrari, we need the person who made the call to stay out, to stand up, and wear the ‘stupid’ hat; so we can all see who it is, before he or she gets rightly fired. No ifs, ands, or buts, there is no way around it, it was definitely only a matter of time the wing on Alonso’s car was going to break and go under the car; they were fortunate to get all of the way around TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THE PIT STOP! In fact, the gaping unforgivable defect of this call, in every way surpasses the Vettel decision, in the heat of the moment. but since I don’t want to lessen the outrageousness of that call, I’ll let the comparison slide. But make no mistake, it was THE WORST DECISION that I have knowledge of, in Formula One history.

Elsewhere, where was Lotus?
Is it more the case that Australia is more anomalous, or Malaysia is more anomalous?
Could Malaysia simply be a blip on the screen?
Hard to tell right now, but both their single lap pace and race set up looked like it was right up there with Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari. I think they may have gambled on dry, and got hung out when it turned out damp in Q3 and at the start of the race. I’m hoping.

Whatever Shanghai shows us, the complexity of the season before us has increased with the obvious strife at Red Bull, and the likelihood of points-affecting manouvres now very high, there.

2013 March 14 22h24 EDT – Here we go! F1 2013 BEGINS!!!

The first practice session, in Melbourne, is now well underway. Kimi has five laps in.
The Lotus looks very good, but only Button, of the other top guns, has gone out.
Webber goes second.
Rosberg bumps him.
It could be even more than ten drivers have a good chance of winning. All drivers on top five teams are extremely good; the competition has reached a very high level.
Good for us!
Tire management will determine this race outcome.
Would have liked to see Bianchi racing DiResta in similar machinery.
Hoping for spectacle matching last year’s high level from Sauber team; if they maintain their 2012 tire management comparative to other teams, then those drivers will be outside shots to win!
Vettel now taking charge of the top spot on the timing board.
Go Filipe; trounce the Alonso Media Corporation; I would mind one bit if you won the championship; or Webber.
Enjoy.

2013 March 02 – Good old Ross Brawn sandbagging?

I admit it here, to all that read these posts, none but myself probably, that when Lewis Hamilton decided to make the move to Mercedes, to elevate the team like his idol, a German with the initials MS, I thought it was laughable.  Lewis is just not that kind of guy!

Well, I’m not backing off that thought, though I thought he move was bad for Lewis, and good for Mercedes.  Now, there has been quite a bit of shit happening at Mercedes F1 these days, and it looked like they were ‘in the weeds’; but now I’m not so sure.

Besides by differentiating itself as the ugliest car on the grid, second year running (though I think the Caterham is challenging this year), I thought they had gone down a dead end route.  I thought, incredulously, Ross Brawn had finally lost the Midas touch.

Since Lewis is the racing pride of most among the POM, we, the Formula One fans, have been inundated with the most minute reports of how Lewis and Mercedes are doing, one minute, very poorly, then the next, inspiring.  Well, we’re at a inspired moment, in the long stream of uni-directional time flow.  Could it be that the old limey has one more sandbag up his sleeves.

Obviously, I’m a big believer.  Mercedes have gone to the bank to ‘get serious’ about improving their standing in F1, hiring a raft of top F1 cronies, in an attempt to redress the unbalance Adrian Newey makes to all other teams.  I have thought this approach inefficient, if not ineffective, and with the seemingly almost self-appointment of the perpetually criticizing Austrian, non-executive chairman (I wonder how much money they spent on the consultants coming up with that title – lol?), I really thought Mercedes was completely losing their marbles.

But as the great Murray Walker is reportedly to have said, “I’m applying intelligence and observation to the situation…”, and I am realizing the truth in his saying, “Anything happens in Grand Prix racing and it usually does”.

It will be interesting if one or more of the Mercedes drivers can haul it up on to the podium.

I still think that Red Bull are quietly, and assuredly constructing a right bower, left bower, (they definitely have an) Ace (up their sleeve), king and queen (the personages of which I leave to your discretion; though one might keep in mind a board game, in which the queen is the most powerful player).

In other words, though I hope for a very interesting season, with closely fought battles, butteri with proper mounts, fast and crashing flowers, winning Spanish-speaking silver arrows, and coloured three point stars, the bulls will gore.

2013 February 28 – first day of the last pre-season test

As previously stated in these pages, Red Bull is ominous in form.

But, hey, don’t get those razor blades over your wrists yet, teams haven’t played all their cards yet.
There are very significant changes coming for Melbourne; assume the Ferrari is a data-gathering draught horse, not the Arabian Stallion they’ll be making their challenge with.
Prediction: We (most of us) haven’t seen Ferrari’s real 2013 car!
I don’t think we have a fully functional Lotus, on Thursday (Feb. 28th).
I don’t think we have the Melbourne-spec McLaren.
And we probably haven’t seen the complete 2013 Red Bull, either!
I think Sauber still have a significant functionality/component to turn-on/enable.
The Williams by-line was something to the effect, “we’ll have to bring an upgrade to every event”, probably suggesting a new upgrade for Melbourne, thus will not be seen this weekend in Barcelona.

So there is a long, long way to go to figure out the running order.

Yes, it will likely be another year of the running of the Bulls, but HEY, doesn’t it happen that some guy beats the running of the bulls, in Spain? Does that mean it’s most likely a Spanish guy?

2013 February 23 – second test, and the crystal ball is still muddy…

We’ve had the second test, at the race track that the teams have the most experience on, and therefore the teams have the best knowledge, of all the tracks on the Formula One schedule.  Yet, there is scant information to predict comparative pace of the competitors.

What we know:

  1. The new tires behave and degrade in new patterns from their behaviours and degradation patterns of last season, which itself varied greatly over the course of the year; they are at least as sensitive and variable as last year; it looks like they are more sensitive, and more variable than last year. Therefore, prediction: tire management will be at least as important as it was last year.

That’s about it.  That’s all I learned.

I did notice that one team did a race simulation; it seems to have been highly regarded by all on the pit lane, to have done one!  That’s probably relevant for the first few races, anyhow.

 

2013 Feb. 08 – First test, first thoughts…

Red Bull, relentless.
In terms of pace, one need look no further than Webber’s long runs, and Vettel’s mid-1:18 on HARD tires! No major technical issues at Red Bull either; the bull looms ominously!
After the bull, the black team is looking very good! Two days topping the timesheet may not be too meaningful, but the reliability at the first test, consistent long run times; Lotus really seem like they have the momentum, and right now, look the strongest to challenge the bull.
Ferrari!?! a spark of nothing less than dominance on day 3, but just like Filipe said, it doesn’t mean too much. The reliability of the red car is typical of a first test, yet, I bet many had hoped for clearer sailing to set a tone of challenge; that was missing for me. Also, the communications coming out of everything red seemed… well, just too scripted and consistent; I’m wary of this level of message control; if a team is so strong, read ‘red BULL’, the message is there for everybody to see for themselves, and so potent!
McLaren?!? a question mark for me. Yes Button did have that run, and wasn’t it on mediums? But I didn’t see the same level of consistency as the red bulls or black and gold flowers. I read a bit about how the new McLaren is a significant redesign, uhm… it doesn’t seem any more changed than the other top teams.
Maybe I have it wrong.
Mercedes, whoa or woe? Inner turmoil?!? Fires and massive mileage make-up. I don’t want to touch it. If the discussion (in the ENglish-language dominated British press, and their pet topics) wasn’t so absurdly focused on Lewis, and ‘how he’s feeling…’, or something, I’d think there’d be a lot of discussion about (h)ow! they’re looking at the backside of Force India, for sure, and maybe another team.
Am I too harsh?
This is Formula One! They sell their products to the aerospace industry! Mercedes is one of the primary marquee automobile and industrial brands in the world!
They ARE in the weeds!
Too many chiefs… it looks like, to me.

The usual scraps behind, except one is missing.

I still like Sauber, and prefer to believe them to be biding their time, working spartan-like through their programs, maximizing their resources.
Did I mention I like the look of the 2013 Sauber?