Adrian Sutil, Sauber, Hockenheimring, 2014

“We aren’t driving enough” – Sutil

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Adrian Sutil, Sauber, Hockenheimring, 2014In the round-up: Adrian Sutil wishes F1 drivers had more opportunities to test their cars outside of race weekends.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Sutil: Lack of testing ‘a bit weird’ (ESPN)

“‘It would be nice,’ Sutil said when asked how he would feel about more in-season testing. ‘Sometimes I think we are definitely not driving enough, it’s just from race to race.'”

Lowe: I’ve taken Mercedes to next level (Autosport)

“It’s not so much about changing where Ross had been leading, it’s more augmenting. I see gaps that Ross hadn’t covered and fill in those gaps.”

Russia to Ease Visa Regime for Foreigners Attending Formula 1 Sochi Grand Prix (Ria Novosti)

“Russian Foreign Ministry has decided to simplify the visa regime for those attending the sports event, according to Alexander Saurin [vice-governor of the Krasnodar Territory].”

Brazil set to keep free to air Formula 1 coverage until 2020 amid speculation (The F1 Broadcasting Blog)

“The numbers are half of what they were in 2008, and a quarter of what they were in Ayrton Senna’s heyday. As a result of the low numbers, one thing Globo have done is reduce their practice coverage, this came into effect from last month’s German Grand Prix.”

Bernie Ecclestone is a chancer who has earned a final chance (FT, registration required)

“The legal outcome is scandalous, and is almost matched by the absurdity of Mr Ecclestone’s defence. He claimed he and his family trust paid $44m to Gerhard Gribkowsky, a former executive of the state-backed bank BayernLB, to stop him giving information about Mr Ecclestone’s financial affairs to tax authorities. No, that was not the prosecution case; that was the defence.”


Comment of the day

The Tarmac run-off at Parabolica may be nothing to do with F1:

The Tarmac run-off at Parabolica was done for the bikes at the request of FIM/Dorna after a meeting between them and the Monza owners in January.

I read something not long ago in which it was pointed out that changes like this are not just done for F1 and are not always proposed by the FIA. Many different categories race on these circuits and the safety of each has to be considered with each series organiser/governing body putting forward proposals to barriers/run-offs etc… to make things better for there category.

I’ve read many times in the past that the bike racers prefer tarmac run-off because if they come off there bike its much safer sliding across the tarmac scrubbing off speed than it is to hit gravel and which often results in them and their bike tumbling about.

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  • 96 comments on ““We aren’t driving enough” – Sutil”

    1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      8th August 2014, 0:09

      No Sutil, YOU aren’t driving enough

      1. Some would argue he’s done more than enough driving as it is.

        Seat waster!

        1. Well there’s tomorrow’s COTD 14 mins into today! lol

        2. Paul (@frankjaeger)
          8th August 2014, 11:19

          @hairs I totally agree aha. He isn’t doing any actual quality driving

          1. Easy enough to make jokes about Sutil’s driving but he is making a valid point. Find me an F1 driver who doesn’t agree with what he’s saying, however…

      2. DK (@seijakessen)
        8th August 2014, 1:55

        The drivers do not drive enough anymore as a whole.

        With all of the bans on testing, and the overall shortened qualifying sessions, it’s sad to watch.

        Hard to call F1 the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ when they hardly do any driving anymore.

        1. What do you mean? Given the variety of qualifying systems used over the years, how does this one give significantly less driving time? And why does the reduction of time testing cars diminish the prestige?

          1. DK (@seijakessen)
            8th August 2014, 4:02

            What sport prevents the participants from actively practicing using the actual equipment they use in competition? F1 is about “the show” more than it is about the sport these days.

            Two 1 hour qualifying sessions should tell you how this one gives significantly less driving time.

            1. If you ask people which qualifying system was the best, I mostly see people mention the 2-session 12-lap format. Most of the time drivers would do 3 4-lap stints (out-lap, 2 hot laps, in-lap) or 4 3-lap stints (out-lap, 1 hot lap, in-lap). So the effect was that over the 2 sessions, we saw 24 laps of which 8 to 12 hot laps, ranging from banker laps to all-out laps. Of course there were exceptions (Senna’s amazing Monaco ’88 qualifying performance), but that was usually how it went down.

              Is the current qualifying system that much worse? Drivers that reach Q3 do about 3-4 hot laps in Q3, while Q1 sees decent action from all of the teams and Q2 usually also has 3-4 hot laps per driver.

              The main problem with the classic one-hour 12-laps qualifying systems was the regular occurance that for large periods of time, nobody was on track. And that whenever conditions were bad, people would sit it out. Whereas now, if conditions are bad, everybody HAS to get out or be eliminated.

              I agree that there’s not enough track time. There should be more in-season testing, and we certainly don’t need doing away with one of the free practice sessions. But the qualifying format we have now is, in my opinion, a great one. It ensures action for the entire hour. It’s not perfect, but I think it comes close.

          2. The current qualifying and its associated parc ferme ELIMINATES the Sunday warmup.
            That means less running.

            1. That is parc ferme rules NOT qualifying format

        2. The pinnacle of athletics is the 100 meters sprint. With all the heats en semifinals it’s still less than 1 minute actual competition per runner. So, prestige is not about tracktime. Having said that, athletes spend hours and hours on track improving their skills. F1 drivers are not allowed to do that. I’m with Sutil that it’s weird not to be allowed to practice the exact same things that you have to do during the race, namely driving the car! Shame that F1 is so rediculously expensive.

          1. If you ask people which qualifying system was the best, I mostly see people mention the 2-session 12-lap format.

            The Pre-1993 format was better, 2 60min sessions with no lap limits.

            The 12 lap limit was introduced for 1993 to guess what, Spice up the show as was the removal of the Friday session.

            Both of those changes were what started to see drivers waiting to go out early in the session. Prior to the 12 lap limit been introduced it was an hour of constant track action.

            Having said that I actually like the current knock-out format. It has the best part of the old 1hr format (Lots of cars on track & a pole shoot out at the end) but there is more interest & drama more often because of the cars getting knocked-out at the end of Q1/2.

            1. The Pre-1993 format was better, 2 60min sessions with no lap limits.

              Depend… The current format forces drivers to run no matter what weather conditions. It is more punishing for drivers or teams who get it wrong and definitely springs more surprises. In the old system, if you screwed up a lap, you could always have a go in the next lap. In the current system, screwing up your crucial last lap could mean starting from way down as maybe there isn’t a “next lap” anymore (or rain falls and all chances of improving are gone).

              I feel the current system more often results in exciting races where faster cars need to race through the pack.

            2. With the current engine regulations, it’d be pretty unrealistic to have 2 sessions with unlimited laps and have it like 1992 and earlier. The drivers would still do the same amount of laps (or less, since they wouldn’t have to face a knock-out anymore) and try to save the engine for the race (and next weekends).

              I think having 2 limitless sessions with the current engine rules would be utterly boring. Financially, it’s not realistic to get more engines (which would instantly become qualifying engines) for qualifying either, within the current paradigm. The current system is fine for now, but if we ever re-enter 80s/90s riches, I would not mind the return of open qualifying and qualifying parts.

          2. All the athletes time training certainly isn’t just sprint work. Drivers should have more freedom to compete in other series or one-off races, but unfortunately the amount of time spent in simulators (sounds like training to me) and doing PR work probably prevents that, even if their contracts don’t forbid it.

            1. I’d imagine that one reason why teams would be wary of letting their drivers compete in other series would be the fate that befell Kubica during the off season. Not many teams will be prepared to take the risk, especially since it had a fairly sizeable impact on Lotus at the time.

              A second issue is that a number of racing series have races which clash with F1 events – for example, three rounds of the WEC clash with F1 races, and there are similar issues with many of the European GT racing series clashing with F1 events too.

              Asides from that, there is the catch that manufacturers in either series might not necessarily approve of the move. For example, would the manufacturers in sportscar racing appreciate having a driver from F1 who was primarily associated with a different manufacturer? Similarly, would an F1 manufacturer want one of their drivers competing for a rival manufacturer in a different series?

      3. @frankjaeger He isn’t driving WELL enough :)

      4. Yep, he should try spending a second or two less driving every lap.

    2. “Credit to Ross, he had been part of that process. I think I’ve come in and taken that forward to the next level.

      “It’s not so much about changing where Ross had been leading, it’s more augmenting.

      “I see gaps that Ross hadn’t covered and fill in those gaps.

      Yes, Paddy. That’s why you were so successful at Mclaren in your last years, or in the same team while poor old Ross was bumbling along at Ferrari, tripping over his own shoelaces and forgetting where he left his pen. Likewise at Brawn. And Benetton. And in Le Mans….

      “Ross Brawn, shortsighted journeyman”, they’ll write in his obituary…

      1. Hahaha.

        At least he’s come close to success a number of times…

      2. Just because there were areas still to be improved isn’t really any critique on the man who had built the team up to such a level that they could actually start to compete.

        1. The tone of his comments belie that excuse. It’s a massively arrogant piece, one in which he clearly attempts to ensure that he’s not seen as “inheriting” a winning team and that he’s a large part of its success.

          I think we’re seeing one of the reasons why McLaren became a dysfunctional and unsuccessful team.

          1. @hairs That makes no sense. Ross had been in Brackley since 2008 and if you’re staring at the same problem day in, day out, you start to miss things. The Mercedes hiring spree gave them lots of fresh new eyes and opinions on the matter.

            Also, McLaren haven’t exactly gotten better since Paddy left… or are you saying the reason they were good was because Paddy *was* there? :/

            1. There’s a fundamental difference between acknowledging that an f1 team requires the input of all its staff, and one man brashly beating his own drum, trying to make himself appear greater than a legend.

      3. You sir, made my day :D

      4. Well, I think the difference might have been that Ross put a lot of good in place there, allowing Loewe to “augment” the gaps, while at McLaren they came from their odd/even paralell design team idea which showed as not really much good for current f1

      5. Its nice to see so many nice comments coming in support of Ross Brawn. When he was axed, there were quite a few fans suggesting that Ross hadn’t achieved much at his time at Mercedes and that his successes were prior. I’m starting to think that he never got to hang around long enough to see the new era of rules kick in and see what he’s been working on all this time with the team… I’ve always thought Ross planned his politics around his teams, now I’m certain of it… Ross has raised the stakes to such a level that I think Paddie Lowe should perhaps sit back and learn a bit from him.

        1. Also, while the situation within the team has exactly imploded (yet) Brawn would have had better control over the two drivers this season. The second half is almost certain to see more intense confrontations between Hamilton and Rosberg, so far the team hasn’t proved it can handle the fallout well either on track or off.

      6. I suspect things went awry somewhere along the lines of Ross and his relationship with Mercedes. Could it have led to the man not getting as much respect and recognition at Mercedes for his efforts?
        Paddy’s comments certainly sound like Ross’ achievements are undervalued and that is a shame.
        Well, Britain have a knack for throwing their own under the bus. So no surprises here.

        1. Ahhh Paddy Lowe….Oversaw McLarens slide into obscurity and will inevitably do the same to Mercedes!

    3. Guy Peeke-Vout
      8th August 2014, 0:22

      Surprised by Lowes comments. Started in June 2013 and appears to be claiming much of the credit for 2014, albeit with a slight nod to Ross. Maybe it’s the reporting, but slightly leaves a slightly sour taste … This car was in development for several years.

    4. The over-reaction to the new tarmac at the Parabolica is laughable.

      “They’ve ruined the corner” apparently. No, they haven’t. If the ruined the corner, they’d have replicated the new Peraltada with infield section.

      1. I think the point is more that people are used to seeing this classic corner punish drivers who get it wrong.

        Now, they’ll run wide, and just rejoin the track a second or two behind.

        I remember a few times in the past seeing a driver run wide and end their race because of their mistake. I think that was part of why the corner remained a classic – it bit back.

        See ‘Eau Rouge’

        1. Last year Hamilton ran straight through the gravel and nothing too terrible happened.

          1. @austus Nothing too terrible? He cracked his chassis and needed a new one!

        2. DK (@seijakessen)
          8th August 2014, 1:51

          I like Spa, but all the tarmac runoff they added turned the whole circuit into a joke.

          1. @seijakessen I’m sorry? You’ll have to take that back.

          2. If you mean visually, I agree, the new Bus Stop looks terrible. Yet, we never see people going off intentionally at Spa, because there is a ton of strips and artificial grass everywhere. Spa has gotten the ‘asphalt for safety’ right, by not just dumping level asphalt everywhere, but making sure there is nothing to be gained by cutting a corner.

        3. @ecwdanselby
          I’m under the impression that they have only added the tarmac runoff at the entrance of the parabolica. The runoff doesn’t extend much further than the apex of the corner. If a driver runs wide at parabolica, it is after the apex so they will still be punished by the gravel trap which is still there.

          Generally the only way a driver will run wide before the apex is if the car suffers from a failure similar to what happened to Webber a year to two ago. At which point Tarmac or gravel is irrelevant as their is a slim chance of the car returning to the track and continuing to race.

          It’s a massive overreaction to a change that has nothing to do with F1 or not punishing mistakes and everything to do with enticing super bikes back to the circuit.

          1. Turn 4 at Hungary is the perfect example.

            After Massa’s accident, they paved the entire outside of the corner. That’s what gives us the “track limits” debates. If they just laid tarmac to cover the “Massa line” (car failure that would make it go straight on and not even attempt to make the apex) they shouldn’t need to have tarmac all the way around, almost to Turn 5.

            If a car goes off after making the apex, then it has already decelerated enough to not need the tarmac run off and it is usually due to the driver not controlling the car well enough.

            That’s how I see the Parabolica. They only need enough tarmac to cover a car going straight on – as Webber in 2011 did. Also, a car rejoining the track from a gravel trap there will do so at a MUCH slower speed than a car rejoining from a tarmac run off also. That is a huge difference in closing speed in what is a largely blind corner exit.

            1. Somebody give this man a job at the FIA. @kazinho

            2. Massa didn’t have a car failure, he went straight on because he was unconscious!

        4. I wrote something a bit more detailed about it on another blog.

          But basically, the only way a driver can go off and rejoin without losing much time is if the tarmac extends all the way around the outside of the Parabolica to where the old oval circuit rejoins the current track. It’s a much different corner to most other “track limits” corners where we have debates over.

          If we want to complain about sanitising circuits, why not petition to bring back the old Lesmos?

          1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain about the gravel traps at the Lesmos, which might be a good reason.

        5. See ‘Eau Rouge’

          I know I’m nitpicking – but I don’t think you really mean Eau Rouge, which is but the first left-hander. The right-hander leading up the hill is the Raidillon. The last left-hander is unnamed.

          Unless you do really mean the first left-hander? But don’t (or “didn’t”) drivers who get these corners wrong usually go off-track at the top of the hill on the right-hand side of the track?

          1. I thought Eau Rouge was the left-right, and Raidillon the final left over the crest?

            1. There’s quite some confusion over these few corners, most people either call the whole complex Eau Rouge, others think Eau Rouge is the left-right and the Raidillon is the final left (as you indicate).

              In reality that final left kink is unnamed, the Raidillon is the one that takes up the hill.
              Originally the Raidillon didn’t exist but Eau Rouge was there, it was a longer left-hander that led towards a hairpin (called “Ancienne Douane”).
              The Raidillon was put in place and so Eau Rouge was shortened and the hairpin was bypassed.

            2. Most people do refer to the entire complex as Eau Rouge. As the other have also indicated, I always thought of Raidillon as the final left-hand bend and even the short straight up to the kink onto the rest of the straight.

        6. See ‘Eau Rouge’

          Eau rouge became less of a challenge not because of the tarmac runoff but because even the worst cars on the grid were able to take it easy flat from about 2004 because of how much aero they were producing.

          Anthony Davidson has said a few times on the F1 coverage that going through there in a car with less downforce where its either not flat or barely possible to stay flat is still a massive challenge & very rewarding as this video shows-

          The problem with the gravel trap at Eau Rouge was that it caused cars to flip & if they didn’t then gravel didn’t really do anything to slow them down anyway as at the sort of speed they were doing through there they just bounced over the top of it.

          1. Exactly – the cars were always unloaded going into it by virtue of the crest, meaning they never really bedded down into the gravel.

      2. It looks like lesmo to me anyhow.

    5. Regardless of the reason for “dumbing down” the parabolica, it’s just incredibly sad. I keep saying this but Formula One needs more risk. It has been known as the ultimate form of risk management but some of the circuits and corners which have been made “safer” is tarnishing that aspect of the sport. My favourite race weekend of the year is the Monaco Grand Prix, because if a driver makes a mistake, it’s game over. Inches away from the barriers and constantly on edge is when F1 really comes alive and it’s better for the fans and drivers this way. Seeing a track or corner where if a driver makes a mistake, he’s going to be heavily punished is what I always want to see. If these are the best drivers in the world, why are the mistakes not being punished more? Why at some tracks, such as Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, can drivers outbrake themselves by a couple of hundred metres and get away scot free with no damage?

      Compared with other motorsport categories such as motorcycle racing and rallying, F1 is a long way off in terms of risk on most corners and circuits in my opinion.

      1. I totally agree, but I think the wording of ‘more risk’ is a little off.

        I don’t think you’d ever want to change anything to heighten the risk of drivers being injured (or anything worse), but I think we just want to see driver’s races punished? After all, it was a mistake, and you should suffer the consequences. It’ll reward the most skillful drivers and level up the playing field, to a certain degree.

        After all, you can push too hard in a Mercedes, or a Caterham.

        1. @ecwdanselby What I mean with more risk is not wanting to see any driver injured or killed. Of course not. But to see that if they make a big mistake, they’ll be punished with the race or session being over for them – whether it’s because they’re stuck i