• Too tight to pass? 9 mighty Monaco overtakes

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    Tight, twisty, bumpy and slippery – when it comes to overtaking, no circuit presents a bigger challenge than Monaco. But that’s not to say it’s impossible…

    Schumacher passes Wurz, 1998

    Wheel-to-wheel battles are not something you usually associate with Monaco, but 1998 saw a memorable three corner tete-a-tete in which Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher bullied his way past Benetton’s Alex Wurz to take second place. But Schumacher would pay the price for his strong-arm tactics, with his bump pass of the Austrian at Portier damaging his rear suspension and forcing him to pit for lengthy repairs.

    Bellof passes Arnoux, 1984

    Stefan Bellof sadly never lived long enough to show his full talent behind the wheel of an F1 car, but there were several occasions – such as at Monaco in 1984 – when he gave flashes of his outrageous potential. Having qualified his normally-aspirated Tyrrell dead last, the German had hauled his way up to P3 by the time the race was prematurely red flagged on lap 31. This bold, kerb-climbing overtake on Rene Arnoux’s Ferrari at Mirabeau – not a usual passing point – was one of several impressive moves he made along the way.

    Raikkonen passes Hulkenberg, 2013

    Having been forced to pit with nine laps to go after an overly ambitious move by Sergio Perez had left him with a puncture, Kimi Raikkonen returned to the track like a man possessed. Within eight laps he had risen from 16th to 11th, but it was this inspired around-the-outside move on Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg on the final lap that sealed the Iceman tenth place, and with it a hard-earned world championship point.

    Mansell passes Prost, 1991

    Nigel Mansell made late-race charges something of a speciality in his F1 career, and his run to second place on the streets of Monaco in 1991 was a prime example. Having been slowed by intermittent engine trouble early in the Grand Prix, the burly British racer sealed P2 with this fully tyre-smoking pass of Alain Prost at the chicane, 15 laps from home. Whether the Frenchman – his mirrors full of Williams – thought better of defending too hard is open to debate, but there’s no doubting Mansell’s full-blooded commitment.

    Perez passes Button, 2013

    Sergio Perez was in a feisty mood at Monaco in 2013 – and he seemed determined to make the harbour-side chicane his own personal passing ground. Unfortunately for the Mexican, this exquisitely executed move on McLaren team mate Jenson Button was the only one that came off. A carbon copy overtaking attempt on Fernando Alonso failed, whilst the less said about his moves on Kimi Raikkonen – the latter of which ended with Perez in the barriers and the Iceman threatening physical violence – the better…

    Senna passes Lauda, 1984

    A pass on a pit straight might not ordinarily stand out, but Ayrton Senna’s move on Niki Lauda in driving rain at Monaco in 1984 was both brave and significant. Here was an emerging superstar announcing himself on the world stage by ducking out of a wall of spray behind the then two-time world champion’s McLaren, his Toleman, writhing underneath him in a constant battle for grip, blazing confidently through the puddles. Senna would make harder passes in his career, but this remains one of the more iconic.
  • Now JV says drivers needs to shut up! JV of all people

    Just when I reference Jacques Villeneuve, 24 hours later he completely destroys my recollection of his outspoken stance on Formula 1 when he was a driver. It’s like having a front wing torn off at turn one this season only to recall that Pastor Maldonado isn’t on the grid or like suggesting that Lena Dunham should win an Oscar only to recall that she’s got the acting range of a Daisy Air Rifle or like suggesting that I am a crap driver only to watch me set a lap record at Sonoma under the keen tutelage of Paul Charsley (that didn’t happen and it wasn’t Paul’s fault, trust me).

    Nope, I just said in this piece that Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are starting to call out F1 on its decision-making process and what’s plaguing the series. I suggested that this reminded me of JV when he was never short of an opinion about the sport.

    Not 24 hours later and I see AUTOSPORT run a story in which JV says, like Bernie Ecclestone, that the drivers need to shut up a little bit:

    “The way the drivers have been complaining is terrible for F1,” he said. “It’s not their problem.

    “They should just shut up. It’s not their problem how good or bad the show is on TV.

    “They should just get on with their job.

    “In a classroom, how many of your classmates would be able to make educated decisions? Not many.

    “Take a group of 20 drivers. Take maybe two of them and the rest should just shut up.

    “So why would you want to give them power?”

    Seriously? This is a guy, who in baggie Nomex, had an opinion on just about everything in F1 and beyond. He never shied away from telling it like it was and it’s one thing I appreciated about him. He was critical (right or wrong) when he felt the system was out of bounds.

    This is a bit of a pot/kettle thing if you ask me. JV has remained vocal about F1’s ills even when he had no ride or was toying with the idea of driving stock cars in Brazil or winning the soapbox derby championship in Salt Lick Iowa for crying out loud. He’s been a staple of the press and media outlets that need a good and oft times controversial quote.

    They got one from him now but I’ll be honest, It wouldn’t have thought it would be slating drivers for speaking their minds because that was a hallmark of his era in F1.

    Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

    Thanks to formula1blog.com

  • Hamilton not the only one talking, Vettel critical of engines

    Lewis Hamilton has been in the press lately speaking his mind about the challenges Formula 1 is currently facing and I, for one, enjoy his opinions on the matter. I liked the days when drivers shared their opinions be they pro or con on a subject. I recall JV doing a lot of that in his day but that was back in the 90’s.

    While Lewis is being praised for his outspokenness, we forget that Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is equally outspoken on the sport and always has been.

    This week he told Sky Sports F1:

    “I personally think the current power unit regulations are too expensive and it would be beneficial for all the teams and the whole sport to go back to something normally aspirated,” Vettel said.

    Pointed out to him that a proposal to cap engine costs was vetoed by Ferrari last year, Vettel stood by his comments – after a moment of awkwardness.

    “What I said and I stick to what I said is that these power units are too expensive,” he added. “They have cost a lot of money already and they will keep costing a lot of money.

    “Everything else that we have been trying to with changes to rules doesn’t change the key problem and I think a lot of problems that we face now goes back to the fact it was the wrong way to go. It is easy now to raise your hand and admit that, but we are still stuck with what we have.

    “I can’t change the rules, I think it is a good thing that you don’t let one driver or one person change the rules, but the way it is currently set up is probably not the best either.”

    We can all argue the facts and efficiency ratings and road relevancy but in the end, I believe he’s right. F1’s serious issues started when they moved to these new engines. That’s the reality.

    As F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said (also in this Sky story):

    “This [V6] engine is good, I’m told, for the car manufacturers – although nobody can ever use that engine,” the F1 supremo told Sky Sports F1.

    “But if it is and they want to use it to experiment they should use it in the World Touring Car Championship.

    “It’s very difficult for Mercedes, and Ferrari for that matter I suppose, to agree to change a power unit that they’ve spent a fortune developing.”

    I agree with him, it’s an awesome piece of kit and engineering, there is no doubt. How relevant it is? I’m not quite sure and would it not be best placed in WEC? The entire ideology is conserve, store and trickle at a level unheard of and that’s terrific but F1 is about release/use, create and deploy and do so in a limited amount of time. A sprint race meant to be ran…well, like a sprint race.

    Mark Webber recently said that WEC is flat out, pushing the entire way and in some ways, F1 is not about that. Much of that is down to the way the new engine works but we’ve covered this ground before. Fact is, Vettel is saying what many in F1 aren’t willing to say…just like Lewis is and I appreciate their candor.

    Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

    Source: formula1blog.com

  • Radio ban: Ferrari absolved, Merc’s menu?

    I was asked about the ability to use pit boards for messaging to the driver about car settings and other elements that would have been previously radioed to him but can no longer due to the radio restrictions the FIA have placed on teams in 2016.

    It was a great question and the answer is no, they can’t use the pit board to relay car settings etc. This came to light in Australia as Ferrari had a message that was seemingly coded and it was reported to the FIA by a competitor.

    The message said, “-3.2 LFS6 P1” and while that may very well have been instructions for a setting on the car, the FIA have cleared Ferrari of any wrongdoing as AUTOSPORT explains:

    “During the race a number of teams had problems with fuel recalculations in the wake of the 20-minute red flag stoppage following McLaren driver Fernando Alonso’s violent accident on lap 17.

    Whiting confirmed to Autosport after the race the red flag and restart raised “a number of glitches” that needed to be solved.

    For Ferrari, and Vettel in particular, it led to a problem with how the SECU (standard electronics control unit) software handled the stoppage, necessitating the pitboard message at the time.

    The FIA therefore concluded the message was permissible and will not take any action.”

    So this was an acceptable use of the pit board. It does also bring up a question over text messaging to the driver’s steering wheel and there were some interesting tweets regarding a video of Lewis Hamilton’s car during the Bahrain Grand Prix seen here just after the upshift from 4th gear:

    If pit board messaging isn’t allowed, it’s a sure bet that having messages on a steering wheel is not allowed. I’m not sure what the message on the wheel is but the tweet thread said that the team explained this as a multi-menu setting which very well could be the case. A sort of menu that has multiple modes you can select. I would tend to believe that but it is up for the briefest of time. Draw your own conclusions. Here is a closeup by Frank T. on Twitter:

    Hamilton wheel message

    Regardless, the teams will be looking for ways to relay critical information for sure. The radio ban hasn’t manifest itself in a tangible way that fans can see at home but it was revealed that in Australia, Nico Rosberg’s brakes were at critical temperature at one point in the race. I wondered in Bahrain would see failure and to be honest, perhaps the teams could have caught Palmer or Vettel’s issues had they been allowed to radio the driver but I have not read any comment to that point.

    IF the radio ban is working and improving the racing, the teams probably won’t be bragging about it because they’d like to be able to radio so they will most likely play it down but the FIA should be letting us know that their ban on radio messages is a success…if it truly is impacting racing.

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