Well, that was some exciting Qualifying while I was distracted with my Java melt down. Looking at the pretty table you’d say Red Bull finished uncharacteristically low, but that’s not the full story. It seems that team McLaren isn’t the only one capable of making mind boggling race management mistakes as Webber was left to coast down the back stretch without even fumes during Q2 and, failing to have the requisite 1 Liter in the tank for testing, is starting from the back and really racing at the sufferance of the stewards.
That coupled with the abandonment of team orders by Red Bull signals more clearly than any amount of press gossip that there is a big problem in the paddock, though Webber has said publicly he has no intention of leaving the team mid-season.
The Pirelli Softs, which have never been raced to date, are terrible and the drivers hate them because big chunks of rubber start falling off about as soon as you leave the pit. Pirelli for it’s part insists they are designed to the direction of the FIA competitiveness committee. Well, you know what they say about things designed by committee. No team at all was on the track during the first 10 minutes of Qualifying and both Vettel and Hulkenberg stayed in the garage during Q3 to save tires.
How bad are they? At best they last for 5 laps and they’re really only good for 2 of those. They have a 2 second a lap advantage over the Mediums at peak and a pit stop takes around 3 seconds.
Not counting getting in and out of the pit under pit lane speed restrictions.
The team in the best shape on tires is Mercedes who have a fresh set for both (you have to start the tires you qualified on) and Grosjean of Lotus and di Resta of Force India also have a pair.
Expect the rest of the field to start Mediums and hope to advance as the top 10 pit on lap 2 or 3. Button and Vettel will also start Mediums.
And at that the Mediums last none too long. Last year Rosberg won on 2 stops. This year almost everyone will have to make 3 (at least) and since you only get 3 sets of each unless it rains (which is not expected) cars might be on rims at the finish.
Formula One Management is having some trouble with ratings due to its switch from broadcast to cable (in Europe) and the unpopularity of the Shanghai race in particular.
Grand Prix Racing Faces a Test in New Shift to Pay TV
By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times
Published: April 12, 2013
Last year, the annual global television viewing figures for the series were slightly lower than in 2011, according to statistics released by FOM in February. This was attributed in part to a drop in viewers for the Chinese race.
As Formula One has fought to keep its audience in Europe watching the growing number of Grands Prix in Asia, it has set the Asian start times later in the day to allow for late-morning viewing in Europe. As a result, however, the races compete for local audiences with local sports and have lost local viewers.
“A small handful of territories didn’t meet expectations in terms of reach, with the Chinese market suffering a decrease, which could not be absorbed by a significant number of increases elsewhere,” Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One promoter, said in February.
Some loss of viewers is a result of a change in the very underpinnings of the Formula One success story: a continuing move from free-to-air broadcasts of the races to pay television.
The biggest such shift began last year in Britain, the traditional heart of Formula One. For the first time, the BBC went from full coverage of all races on free TV to showing only half of the races and the pay-TV company British Sky Broadcasting bought rights to show all the races. The trend has continued this year, with coverage in France, Italy and the Netherlands moving to subscription channels. In France, the free broadcaster TF1, which had shown the series for two decades, was out-bid by Canal Plus, which acquired rights to show the series on pay-TV for the next three years.
Bernie defends China as a strategic market though so it looks like the 10 year old Shanghai race will survive despite the cutting of some historic venues in Europe. All I can say is it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I hope he dies destitute and is buried in a pauper’s grave.
Protests held in Bahrain ahead of Formula One
12 Apr 2013 20:19
Thursday night’s demonstration came as a report by Human Rights Watch said that police have been rounding up pro-democracy activists in bid to head off protests.
“Your race is a crime,” the protesters chanted, referring to motor racing bosses who have insisted on keeping the Bahrain Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar, witnesses said.
Human rights groups say a total of 80 people have been killed since February 2011.
Last year’s Formula One event went ahead against an ugly backdrop as police responded to protesters who were throwing petrol bombs by using tear gas, sound bombs and birdshot.
Pretty tables below.
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:35.343||13|
|11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:36.287||9|
|13||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:36.405||11|
|21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:39.660||6|
|22||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:36.679||6|
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||40|
|3||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||26|
|9||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||6|
|10||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||4|
|1||Red Bull Racing-Renault||66|