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. @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 in a gravel trap, sustaining terminal damage to the car in some way or even losing a lot of time would be a sufficient punishment for a mistake. What is not a proper punishment is running wide onto tarmac and rejoining, only losing a handful of seconds at the most. It’s not right for Formula One.

    6. “‘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.’”

      Another reason not to scrap Friday practice, then, and extend the race weekend.

      1. Indeed. I think Sutil makes a valid point (seen from the perspective of the driver off course) about there not being much opportunity to fine tune your driving, shortening the weekend would make it even more hit or miss.

    7. Lowe’s article sounds like he’s a bit too desperate to be seen as instrumental to this years Mercedes’ success.
      He does say that he built his own things on the foundations that Ross set up and that new things that he brought were mostly to fill in the gaps, but then he is trying to say that F1 is changing so fast, that what happened in December (when Ross left), is such a distant past in F1 terms, that nothing Ross did back then matters now. Like Ross’ influence wore out by now and everything they are achieving today is mostly down to him and not down to what Ross did.
      If anything is true in F1, it’s that success has a very long lead times.

      1. I think you are reading things in that interview that are not there. He clearly says “Rarely are there places where I’ll go ‘what was done before was wrong, and we’re going to go 180 degrees.’ It’s more about adding to what existed before.” to emphasize that the team already was in a good place.

        But yeah, the season goes on and things like that become a given and the team moves on, without thinking about “what Ross would have done/wanted”

    8. The Russian Foreign Ministry is making it easier for fans to visit the Sochi, while at the same time Putin is making Europeans and Americans feel unwelcome with import bans on certain products och there’s even talk about flight restrictions over the Russian airspace. I can’t be the only one who still thinks there would’ve been much better places for a race than Russia in this (political) climate.

      1. This needs highlighting, yes. I think its a pretty big thing to just go on with Sochi as if nothing is happening

        1. I wouldn’t be sending my money to Russia for tickets, at least not until the last minute if I was going to go regardless of the situation.

      2. I am sure that the media will explode as we get closer to the Sochi weekend. That alone will be entertaining…
        Btw, the tickets will be very expensive given the fact that you don`t have a lot to choose from.

      3. Don’t mix politics and sport in this case. I for one don’t feel unwelcomed in Europe following their sanctions so why should you? And about airspace i doubt it would come to it but it certainly would be forced political measure that Russia are considering after EU forced to shut down several russian airlines.

      4. @kerbbi @bascb @hohum
        Are you aware that Russian restrictions are just a response to sanctions that US and many other EU nations have already imposed on Russia?

        I’m still failing to see how come people are seeing Russia as some perpetual bad guy for over 60-70 years now, when it was US who kept invading, bombing and killing people all over the world, while Russia only responded to the situation in its very vicinity in order to preserve their immediate territories.

        You have to realize that it’s not all black and white.

        1. ‘Preserve their immediate territories’ is a very interesting description of the events in Georgia and Ukraine.

          1. Are you aware that current Georgian authorities accused Saakashvili of igniting war in 2008 and it has nothing to do with Russia being aggressor as western media would like to present it. And Ukraine situation is far from over and i’m not talking about their civil war.
            And being serious do you believe if Russia somehow overthrow Mexico government and instead put pro-russian one US would just sit and watch?

            But this is politics and have nothing to do with GP being just GP as cancelling event on political ground probably would provoke even more tension.

            1. Tension between Russia and whom, though? F1 does not represent a singular country and has money from investors worldwide running it. Would canceling the GP mean Bahrain, Dubai and India would also face sanctions because F1 cancels the GP? That seems a bit far fetched.

              Then again, you start off with a far fetched scenario. You’re not going to do your argument of ‘the west views Russia as bad guys’ any wonders by complaining about the US. I’d say most young Western Europeans have a more constant disdain for the US than for Russia, which is more ‘seasonal’ anyway.

            2. Too bad those young people don’t watch F1, btw.

            3. A better analogy that the Mexico one would be the Scots applying to join the Russian Federation whilst it still had the British Nuclear base (Faslane?) on it’s coast!

      5. Are you serious? Russia is not one of EU countries that gladly does what ever US tells them regardless of what their people think.

        If you start accusing people without any evidence, then sanction them and expect nothing back, such people should have a head check. I think many politicians in the world getting away with treason, but undermining their countries future and current interests.

    9. While i do understand why they did it, Im still a bit sad over the tarmac run-off. Certainly for F1, it’s a step backwards.

      1. But at the same time, as the comment of the day rightly highlights, the circuits have to achieve the best compromise between multiple racing series – just look at Silverstone choosing to reconfigure their layout in order to secure the MotoGP event, since their riders were refusing to use the old complex through Bridge.

        Those circuits are not solely used by F1 – putting barriers at one location might be acceptable for F1 if a driver crashes there, but could cause severe injuries if a motorcycle rider or GT racer, say, was to crash at that same location.

        1. Silverstone had lost the GP when it made the modifications and Monza (Sadly) looks to be losing the GP as well. It makes and made perfect sense for them both to prepare for life after F1. Especially if it has no real effect on F1 either way.

    10. I think F1 should stoop thinking it’s football. F1 is not going to achieve World Cup numbers anytime soon.

    11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      8th August 2014, 9:29

      I thought the headline was a typo; based on Sutil and Gutierrez’s performance this year it would made more sense if the word “driving” was followed by the word “well”…

      1. It’s a little unrealistic to expect Sutil to be capable of reflecting on his own performances and deeds, as he has proven time and again to think of himself as immaculate.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          8th August 2014, 12:48

          @npf1 – Isn’t that merely a trait of all racing drivers, save perhaps the constantly self bashing Hamilton?

          1. @william-brierty Most drivers don’t get involved in violence and then publicly call out another driver for being a poor friend, though. He has done little to show remorse for that incident and has taken more jabs at Hamilton, so something tells me Sutil is a special case.

            1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
              8th August 2014, 13:25

              @npf1 – That I can’t disagree with. You see Jennifer, I told you that you’d be better off with me…

            2. It’s even poorer to be more concerned with your image rather than helping out a friend in need. But we have already seen this season how Lewis’ definition of friend is a little different to most peoples.

    12. Maldonado, Sutil, Ericsson and Gutierrez have no place in F1. They should go back to GP3 or karting, where they really belong because not only have they not been impressive or fast this season or any season, they have been binning it crashing into walls or taking out other drivers. The only reason why they are in F1 is to pay money to their teams but with them crashing all the time making the team have to pay for new equipment, most of the money they bring goes down the drain so I see no point of any of them in F1.

      1. I think you’re being a little harsh there. While I agree Sutil is past it and Ericsson is useless. Maldonado and Gutierrez and have show flashes of potential. When given the car Maldoando won a race and was challenging for pole positions, sure he’s caused a fair number of crashes but aside from Bahrain he hasn’t really done much wrong. He’s had a terrible car and probably has had the worst luck on the grid along with Hamilton and Vergne.

        Gutierrez is also in a terrible car and while I agree, his first year was nothing special I can think of a few drivers who’ve had average starts to their F1 careers and then go on to win races. I’m not saying Gutierrez is a future race winner but he’s hardly been given a chance, 2 poor cars in his first 2 years against 2 experienced drivers isn’t going to be easy for anyone. Funny you should say he should go back to GP3 as it was a series he won on his first attempt.

        1. @davef1 The thing with Gutierrez however, is he admitted he didn’t feel ready for F1 last year. To be truthful, I don’t think he is ready now.

          While he has shown he can beat Sutil over a single lap (who isn’t the worst qualifier, compared to his team mates), his race performances have been really weak, apart from Hungary. He simply does not seem to advance all that much in races. In my opinion, he is yet to do something that would guarantee a seat for 2015, apart from bringing in Mexican millions. But then again, I’m not working for Sauber, who definitely seem to have faith in him, still.

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            8th August 2014, 14:16

            @npf1 – And yet Gutierrez had done a successful GP3 campaign in 2010, plus two full seasons in scary and leary GP2, whereas Kvyat on the other hand is doing an excellent job having come directly from GP3 into the most undriveable F1 cars since the late ’80s having never driven in GP2 or FR3.5. If he wasn’t ready last year he never will be. Ferrari, I implore you, do something decent for F1 and use those many millions you make selling 458s to Russians on the UN’s sanction list to subsidize Sauber drives for Bianchi and Marciello next year. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeasee…

            1. @william-brierty Some driver have ‘come back’ or came late (Grosjean springs to mind, hopelessly out of his depth in 2009, keeping up with a dominant team late into his second full season in 2013), maybe Gutierrez can, but I don’t see it happening either.

              While I fully endorse a move up for Bianchi, I’m not sure Marciello should. To Sauber anyway. I think Marciello has things to prove in GP2 still (although he has had a lot of bad luck) and should probably enter with Marussia. I didn’t think Bianchi was fully ready after his somewhat chaotic FR3.5 campaign in 2012, but he has proven himself very worth of his seat. Marciello hasn’t had the performance people expected after his dominance in F3 last year, Ferrari should find out if that’s a thing or just bad luck.

            2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
              8th August 2014, 18:36

              @npf1 – A bit harsh on Lello there. What were you expecting from him his rookie GP2 campaign? The mixture of the Pirelli tyres and the rather unconventional (versus other junior categories) torque, balance and steering characteristics of the Dallara GP2/11 chassis has made experience as necessity for performance in GP2 nowadays, something Marciello doesn’t have. The Silverstone pole, brace of Austrian podiums and likely victory robbed by penalties/reliability is already an infinitely better showing than Maldonado, Kobayashi or even Perez managed in their rookie GP2 seasons. That said, Raffaele is still young, so he can afford not to be promoted this year, likely win the GP2 title next year, and enter F1 with Sauber, Haas or, as you say, Marussia in 2016.

              Not that Ferrari appear especially worried about young driver erraticism, with Bianchi the favourite to replace Kimi yet perhaps still a bit ragged around the edges in wheel-to-wheel combat. A season with Sauber to give Jules experience of more downforce and midfield F1 combat is surely a necessity to ensure a successful Ferrari promotion in 2016.

        2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          8th August 2014, 12:46

          @davef1 – I agree that @ultimateuzair is being a touch harsh, but harshness is arguably justified when drivers like Da Costa and Frijns aren’t getting seats because teams are reliant on driver sponsorship. We want the twenty-two best racing drivers in the world, not eighteen, a couple of guys who are “OK” (Gutierrez, Maldonado) and two that are plain slow (Sutil, Ericsson).

          Ericsson is clearly out of his depth, as should have been deduced by his midfield GP2 WDC rankings (in seasons with woefully poor GP2 grids also), whereas Sutil, who was a perfectly decent, if even promising, driver in 2009-11, has simply lost his speed and has failed to gel with the new era of chassis. Gutierrez’s career noticeably lost momentum as he moved towards higher powered chassis, and epically failed to live up to his rank as pre-season title favourite in GP2 in 2012; on this basis, and the basis that he tends to finish behind Adrian in races, it would be logical to argue that his career has no promise beyond that supplied by Telmex. Maldonado is the strangest case though. He has been plain poor but for a handful of inspired weekends in 2012. Is he a true talent hidden behind incredibly specific balance requirements (requirements only fulfilled in Spain ’12, Singapore ’12 and Abu Dhabi ’12)? Or are we going to have to own up to the possibility that the Mike Coughlan designed FW34 was an excellent car? On the evidence of his performances versus Grosjean this year, and his qualifying performances against Bottas last year, the later appears the more likely.

          1. Given how bad the Caterham is I don’t think Ericsson has been doing too bad a job. He hasn’t been that far off Kobayashi’s pace & has beat him in both qualifying & races a few times.

            I’d also point out that he has Caterham’s best finish of 11th at Monaco, Kobayashi was 2 places behind him that race in 13th.

            Also remember that he didn’t get a great deal of Pre-season running & hadn’t had a great deal of time in any f1 car until the season actually began. The car is clearly a handful to drive with poor reliability & next to no budget to fix the many problems with it.

            As to the others.
            Maldonado has the speed, He’s won an f1 race on merit by beating one of the best (Alonso) in a straght fight over a race.

            Guttierez has the talent, He’s just got to get everything together & start producing consistent results which is something Sauber haven’t really allowed him to do given how inconsistent this years car has been.

            Same with Sutil, He’s got the speed as he proved through last year with regular points finishes & by leading at Melbourne along with other good performances having been out for a year.
            His problem this year is the same at Guttierez, The car has been pretty bad & very inconsistent.

            1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
              8th August 2014, 19:19

              Regarding Ericsson, I would point out that although there was little in the way of prolifically talented opposition during his stint in GP2 (2010-13) his best championship ranking was 6th after his 2013 season with GP2 powerhouse DAMS: the team that took Grosjean and Valsecchi to the title and likely Palmer also. Also Kobayashi is perhaps not a great benchmark, in that he did not race a single seater throughout the entirety of 2013 and has as little experience of F1 2014 style as Marcus does. No matter how you cut it, Ericsson is a pay driver.

              Regarding Maldonado, I would point out that although Pastor won a race, it was likely the product of a) Mike Coughlan’s input in the design of the FW34 and b) the extra development time the car gained due to a woeful and prematurely aborted 2011 season. This is not an excellent driver masked by a balance requirement so specific that it was only satisfied on a handful of weekends in 2012, it was simply a pretty good car that benefited in Spain especially from the team’s reliability in pre-season testing that allowed it work on setup and tyre management. Certainly, the onboard balance versus the McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus was impressive on Maldonado’s car that weekend; easily the most stable settled. It was an excellent drive no doubt, but the car was quite capable of it.

              Regarding Gutierrez, I would point out that he simply can’t modulate the throttle pedal. Even on the beautifully mapped, highly grippy cars of last year on hot, sticky tyres running on fumes, you can hear tenths go missing on his final qualifying lap as the car squirms under his right foot with too much throttle, and the subsequent audibly detectable wince from Martin Brundle. The fact that his career takes such a defined decline as he moved into higher powered cars also suggests he has a bit of a leaden right foot and therein no long term F1 potential beyond that supplied by Telmex. Put simply he is currently failing to convincingly beat a driver profoundly alienated with the sport and past his best…

              Regarding Sutil, I would point out that he was indeed a good some seasons ago, especially in 2011, but has since lost much of speed, fallen out of love with F1 and failed to gel with the new generation of F1 car. His career is already over…

              But of course Peter, it’s not like there are marvellous young talents waiting on the outer reaches of F1 to replace these guys, so it’s fine that we have a grid of eighteen of the finest drivers in the world and four that are err…alright..ish…

            2. I hate the argument that GP2 had or has weak drivers so that anyone who comes in & does well isn’t really that good because they were up against a weak field.

              People keep going on about how great Robin Frijns is (I’m one of them), Yet he raced in GP2 against a supposedly weak field & didn’t exactly set the world alight. He won 1 race, Got 1 2nd but otherwise struggled to score points.

              There are people in/around F1 who seem genuinely excited about the 2 Americans Alexander Rossi & Connor Daly (Who wowed AJ Foyt after an Indycar test last year) yet neither of those have risen to the top in the supposedly weak GP2 field.

              If we look at this year Jolyon Palmer has been showing great, consistent speed & over the past few seasons has shown a natural racing ability by pulling off some brilliant overtakes fairly often. Yet there are a lot of fans out there who stick to the ‘weak field’ argument & just ignore the fact that Jolyon has been as I say fast, consistent & has consistently & regularly proved to be a great racer.
              He deserves a shot at F1 yet even if he gets one many will insist he doesn’t deserve it because GP2 has a weak field & his wins/championship means nothing.

              Felipe Nasr his main title rival has already driven an f1 car a couple times for Williams & did a good job in it, Yet again been in a ‘weak’ GP2 field means most fans have written him off regardless of how well he does when he does get to drive the Williams.

    13. For those who want the pre-paved run off version of monza, iracing scanned it before this. So you can have a millimeter accurate version pre-parking lot :)

    14. I’m pleased with the news about Parabolica. You only have to watch Hamilton’s crash at Hockenheim to see how poor gravel can be at slowing a car down. Cars get lifted by the retaining lip and then skate over the top, the pebbles spinning to lubricate the passage of the car.

      It’s only if the car digs in that it really slows it, when it can flip the car and then allow the roll hoop to sink in. Replay Massa landing and sliding on his roll hoop, but in gravel…

      Gravel is history, and rightly so IMO, for cars and bikes. Tarmac is far, far safer and for any given degree of risk allows the fans to be closer. It just needs to be designed with shape and furniture to make using it cost time, as Charlie was demonstrating to Brundle with a sawtooth kerb and astroturf, and maybe some sleeping policemen.

      Add in the Tecpro barriers and we have progress, as we should always have in F1.

      1. Tarmac is far, far safer

        Meh, if a driver is unconscious, he would be better off with a gravel tap. The same is true in the case of a major brake failure where a driver can’t brake at all.

        1. There are always situations where any given safety device is ineffective or counterproductive. Even seatbelts or helmets. They can’t prevent all injuries so you have to look at the probabilities, and because your scenarios are very rare they don’t change the overall picture that tarmac is far safer.

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