Not on the track (hopefully that will happen later) but regarding Alonso's whiny comments about the refuelling ban stopping overtaking.Quite how he came to that conclusion I don't know, but Button was quick to point out the obvious performance differences between new and used tyres, plus his engineer weighed in to point out that strategy will be more reactive than planned. Button 1, Alonso 0 More here: http://en.espnf1.com/mclaren/motorsport/story/7696.html
Wow that didn't take long. After finally ending the refuelling era and race-fuel qualifying, F1 is now determined to undo all the good work and mess things up again.This time the suggestion is that drivers in Q1 have to start the race on the set of tyres they set their best time on. This might sound like a good idea "to spice up the show" but I think it hasn't really been thought through. If the cars on the fresh tyres swamp the cars from Q1 in the first couple of laps we'll soon see the silly situation of no-one qualifying properly because it's a disadvantage to be in Q1. With a refuelling ban there's already going to be alot of differences between the cars during the race (except for the drivers/teams that do the best job). Artificially forcing drivers to use certain tyres at certain times just goes against the "purity" of F1 and for what? Just to make some drivers pit early? It's this obsession with the idea that pit stops are required to give more action that annoys me. Overtaking is what makes a race exciting, not pit stops. There have been plenty of Spanish GPs that had loads of pit stops, not one overtake and were all as dull as can be. Likewise for Monaco which is only rescued by being so glitzy. I don't remember the ding dong battles during the 80s era of no-refuelling requiring any help to make them happen. Mansell vs Piquet at Silverstone didn't happen because Mansell was forced to started on knackered tyres or to use two difference compounds during the race. Still, this is one rule I'm sure is going to happen so we might as well get used to it. see http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/81069 for more info
One of the interesting things in 2010 will be to see how the engine manufacturers balance fuel consumption vs power. Having an efficient engine has several benefits which could prove vrey decisive at some tracks.
The car can be significantly lighter at the start of the race which straight away gives a lap time gain.
The second benefit is that tyre degradation is reduced which depending on the characteristics of the new tyres for 2010, could mean that they need fewer and/or much later fuel stops than their rivals.
The third benefit will be less wear on the brakes, which are unchanged in size for 2010. There’s alot more potential for someone to run out of brakes and have to ease off (or spin off like Mark Webber in Singapore last year).
A lower fuel means a smaller tank size and more scope for optimising the aerodynamics.
Finally there’s also the marketing potential for engine manufacturers to shout about how efficient their engines are, although somehow I doubt any of them will.
As can been seen from the chart for 2009 fuel consumption figures, Renault are out in front by quite a way. McLaren have quite a lead on Force India and Brawn with the Mercedes engine, presumably because of KERS (remind me again why it’s banned next year?)
It’s another wilcard factor in the paper-scissors-stone era that the refuelling ban is introducing and for me much more interesting than everyone stopping on lap 15 and giving up racing after the last stop! Hopefully no-one will get everything right and it’ll be a ding dong battle all year between many teams.
Keith over at F1 Fanatic has decided to run a poll for whether compulsory pit stops should be introduced and the result is pretty conclusive.
The result is currently running at 86% saying drivers should NOT be forced to pit (out of some 2315 votes).
I was somewhat surprised and pleased at the one sided nature of the result. It’s been clear to me for many years (and I’ve bored plenty of people about it too!) that refuelling is bad and flexible strategy is good. Sadly I doubt anyone will notice.
By forcing drivers to use a specific strategy (even if just through requiring them to use 2 compounds ot tyres), the FIA are reducing the variation in options, reducing driver choice and making things more predicatable and less exciting. There’s nothing worse than the refuelling era “we’ll hold station after the final stops” mentality which guarantees nothing happens at the end of the race unless it rains.
Pre-refuelling ban (with flexible tyre options), there were some cracking finishes to races – Jerez 1986, Silverstone 1987, Mexico 1990 being 3 that spring to mind. All of them were because of competing strategies of the tortoise vs hare. One driver on hard tyres eeking them out, another putting on a fresh set of boots and going for it.
Click the link to vote:
Alonso is obviously very happy with his new Fiat team car. I’m sure he’s not wishing he had an Enzo at all. Nice work on the forced smile too