Formula 1 Insight

McLaren in Hungary - Last Thoughts
Well, I hope they're my last thoughts on it, anyway. It just goes to show that sometimes it's better to wait until all the facts are known before rushing into print.

Maybe Heidfeld could win this one...

The stewards' decision on the botched McLaren pit stop is very detailed and makes it pretty clear that, just as Ron Dennis said, the fault was not all Alonso's. The trouble is that it seems just about everyone in the team was to blame for an incident that looked terrible on television and did the sport no good at all. And the whole thing began to unravel when Hamilton was able to be first in line for the start of Q3. According to the team's tactics for the session, Alonso should have been first but Lewis decided not to let him through when asked to do so.

Let's hold it right there for a moment. Why should it make any difference in which position you emerge for Q3? The reason is buried in McLaren's complex strategy for this stage of the proceedings, a strategy that has enabled them to provide one of their drivers with an extra fuel-burning lap and so have a slight advantage in the race. Apparently, it was Alonso's turn for this but Hamilton grabbed it rather than risk letting Raikkonen through at the same time.

It becomes ridiculous, doesn't it? Although one has to admire a team so efficient that it can calculate everything down to such fine details, does this really have anything to do with motor racing? If the rules have become so intricate and complex that such devious scheming is necessary to get ahead, surely there is something wrong. The sooner F1 gets back to a simple, straighforward system for qualifying, the better.

But the teams have to deal with things as they are for the moment and I am forced to reconsider my earlier assessment of Hamilton. Now his comments after the race seem irresponsible at best and it is clear that he knew a lot more about what was going on than he admitted to. In his defense, it can only be said that he had no idea of the damage to the team his action was about to cause.

Alonso was told before his final pit stop that he would be held for twenty seconds, even though it took only six to change the tires. Although there were complex excuses made referring to gaps in traffic, this was really to adjust the timing of the drivers' runs so that Lewis gained no advantage from his disobedience. But then Alonso made everything far too obvious by not moving for ten seconds after he was apparently allowed to go.

Big mistake. Without that, it is probable that nothing unusual would have been noticed and the team would still have two cars on the front of the grid. Both team and drivers have no-one to blame but themselves and the lesson becomes: flexibility is the key.

In being ultra-efficient, McLaren have reached a point where it becomes difficult to adjust strategy when circumstances change. Had Ross Brawn been in charge, you can bet that he would have accepted the status quo (with a mental note to have a word with Hamilton afterwards) and changed the strategy to suit the new situation. In attempting to get back to what was planned, McLaren managed to shoot themselves in the foot instead.

The damage to the team's hopes could have been worse; Ferrari blundered in Massa's pit stop and so took one of their cars out of contention. But it seems ironic that the man who set the whole fiasco rolling escaped without penalty and will probably win the race tomorrow. You see it's true - to win races and become champion, you have to be lucky as well as talented...


Number 38
Clipped from your text above, the most meaningful words ......
"The sooner F1 gets back to a simple, straighforward system for qualifying, the better." Well said, Clive. This three part system stinks, it encourages 'strategies' far removed from racing. Something simple like 60 or 90 minutes all comers qualifying. Any tyres, any fuel, a minimum number of laps in the first half, a minimum number of laps in the second half, qualifying in traffic which simulates race conditions, each cars best lap determines grid position. This won't really change the grid, Ferrari and McLaren will still find their way to the front, STR and Spyker will find their way to the rear but it's a more equitable system that works for TV also!

Date Added: 05/08/2007

What can I say, Number 38? I agree totally and would only add that that such a simplification of the rules should be just the first of many simplifications instituted to drag F1 back from the complex political mess it has become. Let the blighters race, for pete's sake!
Date Added: 05/08/2007

Number 38
AH !!! More nobel words ......... " first of many simplifications "
and "complex political mess ". You've got a way with words or perhaps you've just got THE words but your heading in the correct direction. I wonder when things will improve? I know we're all anxious to see the last of MadMax Mosley but I think some of the problems are "institutionalized". Certain figures are so enamoured with power it's going to be a long slow clean-up. The blokes running the show cause more harm throwing their power about than do the villians and victums.
Had no one mentioned the Alonso/Hamilton incident, the McLarens would have started from the front row, likely would have finished 1st and 2nd and the ticket holders in the stands would have been happier, they got what they paid for. But NO....... some FIA power broker got involved and made something from nothing and again I ask WHO besmerched the sport? Enough from me..............................
Date Added: 05/08/2007

All true, Number 38. I wrote a long comment on one Keith Collantine's F1 Fanatic posts pointing out how unnecessary the intervention of the stewards was, so I won't repeat it here. Over the weekend I started a post about the incident and it developed into a long account of what is wrong with the sport and how we can fix it - it became so depressing that I dared not post it! But perhaps I will divide it into more digestible lumps over the next few days or weeks and start a conversation towards finding some answers.

Certainly, it doesn't look as if Mighty Max has anything but more complication to offer!
Date Added: 05/08/2007

to change the tires?

Good god sir and i thought the pitlane fiasco was enough for the weekend
Date Added: 07/08/2007

Yes indeed, Keef, and you know that's how we spell "tyres" in the States. I distinctly remember having this conversation with you before, so you know I opt for American spelling in the blog but will change to Brit spelling when I know I am talking specifically to a Brit or Ozzie or Canadian.

You are incorrigible, you young whippersnapper! ;)
Date Added: 07/08/2007

insurance lead qualified sales
Hi. For the night was not impartial. No, the night loved some more than others, served some more than others.
I am from Ghana and , too, and now am writing in English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "When a life insurance sales lead comes in to your office, it very easy to feel congratulations you got an annuity insurance lead."

THX 8), insurance lead qualified sales.
Date Added: 19/08/2009

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