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Sep 21 2014

Formula One 2014: Marina Bay

Singapore under the lights which means I have to get up at the relatively sane hour of 7:30 am.

Relative to what?  Have you met my relatives?

At least they’re not as crazy as Uncle Bernie who was all for banning radio between the pit and the drivers until he was all for it again.  Personally I think it a particularly daft bit of madness because as Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says, “The changes are absolutely not necessary. For us of course it’s a big disadvantage because the more inexperienced the driver is, there’s more information you have to give him.”  

Pat Symonds, chief technical officer for Williams, added: “The whole thing has been handled hastily. It’s a team sport. I don’t see any difference between an engineer advising a driver how to drive and a caddie helping a golfer choose an iron. Golf is not a team sport but that is perfectly permissible. Racing is a team sport. Should drivers get out and change the tyres during a pitstop?”

He added: “We want personalities in the sport and if the personalities are engineers and not just drivers what’s wrong with that? I think the banter between the engineer and a driver is a good thing.”

As for the FIA, the race director, Charlie Whiting, admits there will be problems policing coded radio messages. He said: “I agree it won’t be straightforward.” Chaos and confusion vie for pole in Singapore.

And then there’s the issue of new, unreliable, and complicated engines and energy recovery systems and batteries which don’t just drive the car forward but also assist in braking and substantially effect fuel consumption.

In short I think it’s entirely contrary to my position which is that the struggling teams need more practice and development time to perfect their cars and train their drivers than the teams that are oozing with money, not less.  It’s a false economy.

Oh not to worry says crazy Uncle Bernie, we’ll just have less teams and give them more cars on the track because that’s what the people want to see- Mercedes or Red Bull or Ferrari all driving away in a pack from everyone else and grabbing first, second, AND third except for those that get purposely bashed out of the race by their team mates and heaven forfend that an engineer someplace reminds them that this hardware is expensive and all comes out of the same wallet.

Sure, that will help.

In other “big” news the suits at Fiat have finally won and the last Formula One program trained executive at Scuderia Marlboro has been shoved to the curb and replaced by a pencil pushing accountant, not that he had a record of anything except failure but that belongs to the Team as a whole and will not be improved by the replacement of a single individual.

The Marina Bay street circuit is the second slowest track after Monaco and due to the number of turns (23), heat and humidity (even at night), and counter-clockwise layout is one of the most demanding despite being the shortest and having 2 DRS zones.  Tire strategy is going to make a huge difference, on offer are Softs and Super-Softs.  The Super-Softs are 2 to 2.5 seconds faster per lap but will only last between 13 and 14 laps before they start to go off.  In a 61 lap race that might mean frequent changes, but you also have to factor in the mandatory two compound rule and the fact they only have 3 sets total and most Teams have used 1 or 2 sets in Qualifying.

Pretty tables below.

Starting Grid

Grid Driver Team Q-Time Q-Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:45.681 17
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:45.688 19
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.854 12
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.902 15
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:45.907 16
6 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:46.000 20
7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:46.170 14
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:46.187 18
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.250 18
10 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:47.362 21
11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.943 12
12 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:46.989 14
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:47.308 13
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:47.333 9
15 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:47.575 13
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:47.812 14
17 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:48.324 6
18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:49.063 8
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:49.440 7
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:50.405 8
21 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:50.473 7
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:52.287 5

Driver Standings

Rank Driver Team Points
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 238
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 216
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 166
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 122
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 121
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 106
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 72
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 70
9 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 55
10 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 41
11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 39
12 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 38
13 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 11
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 8
15 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 8
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2

Constructor Standings

Rank Team Points
1 Mercedes 454
2 Red Bull Racing-Renault 272
3 Williams-Mercedes 177
4 Ferrari 162
5 McLaren-Mercedes 110
6 Force India-Mercedes 109
7 STR-Renault 19
8 Lotus-Renault 8
9 Marussia-Ferrari 2

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