Before I get into F1, let me tell you about something that has always been a mystery to me. The popularity of radio and television soap operas. When I was young, I was subjected to weekly, or sometimes daily, sagas concerning the intricacies of other people’s lives at home or at work. Many of them featured the daily tours of the average fictitious family down to the smallest detail of insane behavior. A lot of people enjoy this kind of entertainment, but the need to make sure the listener or viewer stays loyal has led to storylines that push the imagination to a state of …
Before I get into F1, let me tell you about something that has always been a mystery to me. The popularity of radio and television soap operas.
When I was young, I was subjected to weekly, or sometimes daily, sagas concerning the intricacies of other people’s lives at home or in the workplace. Many of them featured the daily tours of the average fictitious family down to the smallest detail of insane behavior.
A lot of people enjoy this kind of entertainment, but the need to make sure the listener or viewer stays loyal has led to storylines that push the imagination to a state of utter disbelief. We would never waste our time following such unnecessary shenanigans, would we?
Which brings us back to F1, the sport we all love and never fail to follow as fans. Last Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix once again gave a strong indication that Red Bull currently has the upper hand. Max Verstappen’s lights to score the victory were an impressive display as Mercedes pursuers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled for pace and grip.
Another lap and it could have been a third place for Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez if Red Bull’s pitstop bet hadn’t gone wrong, wasting precious time for the Mexican.
It was an unusual event for Milton Keynes’ team, who won the record for a pitstop of 1.82 seconds at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. The team’s second stop for Verstappen at Paul Ricard two weeks ago gave him the advantage over Hamilton, to achieve victory in France.
It was interesting to hear Mercedes staff inform a disappointed Hamilton, who found the Red Bull out front as he returned to the track, that “we’ll see how it goes”. We were never part of the solution, but the pit stop surely played a role, although it was slower than the Hamilton stop?
I couldn’t believe the reports and press releases from last week regarding the publication by the FIA of a technical directive that warned teams of the tightening of regulations regarding F1 pit stop procedures and especially the equipment used to change the wheels.
Article 12.8.4 of the technical regulations specifies: “The devices used for the assembly or disassembly of the wheel fasteners can only be supplied with compressed air or nitrogen. Any sensor system can only act passively.
The governing body is concerned with safety and therefore requires prescribed time limits for wheel change procedures. For example, for the lug nuts to be considered tight, there is an interval of 0.15 s before a signal can be given to a jack to drop the car, in which case 0.2 Additional s must be allowed.
The directive continues. “For safety reasons, we would expect the minimum time lag between the start of the jack release procedure and the OK signal to the driver given by the green light to be at least 0.2 seconds.”
This decision is made because the FIA fears that the level of automation is at odds with human reaction times and therefore becomes a safety issue. The directive will come into force at the beginning of August for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
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Yet another decision in F1 and I have to ask who will watch it and enforce it? After all, there are four-wheeled shooters and about 18 other team members around the car during the stop. Some pundits have suggested that this was just another method of slowing down Red Bull’s pursuit for the championship.
Certainly not, but it certainly makes you think. We had the problem of the “curved” rear fenders, the possible manipulation of tire pressure, the possibility of the Honda engines being more than improved, all thrown in the general direction of Red Bull.
If you follow F1 it becomes the distorted reality of the world you live in. To see the latest F1 rankings, click on here.