2014 Formula 1 Report: USA Edition
Drafting the Circuits
Grand Prix Date Tire Compounds
British Grand Prix July 4-6 Medium.Hard
German Grand Prix July 18-20 Supersoft/Soft
Hungary Grand Prix July 25-27 Medium/Soft
THE BRITISH GRAND PRIX
This racetrack is so well suited for a Formula 1 car.
Watching the cars work their way through Maggotts and Becketts is Formula 1 artwork. It is fast and the cars are running for all they are worth. Drivers love the track and it is a home race for many of the factory staff that build the cars. Many of the factories are just miles from the track which will provide incentive for top performances for the trackside crew.
This is magnified for Lewis Hamilton. The Englishman needs to stamp this race as his own if he is to gain some momentum going into the summer break after Hungary. If Hamilton can somehow trump Rosberg at Silverstobe, and in the two races afterwards, this would position him well for the second half of the season. Nico Rosberg captured victory last year at Silverstone, which will for sure provide him the confidence against the hometown favorite.
And lets not forget Red Bull. This is a track where aero is important and the paddock is singling out the RB-10 as the best car aerodynamically. With Renault under the gun, I would expect Red Bull’s performance to be strong here in England.
This year with the engines having more torque and less downforce, Silverstone will take on a different form. Many of the turns that were taken flat out last year will actually function as corners this year.
Jenson Button sums up Silverstone this year. Button said when you take away downforce, you need to compensate with mechanical grip. Given that the tires this year have less mechanical grip, the track will wind up being run differently. Look for Silverstone to still be dominated by Mercedes, but don’t be surprised to see a strong performance from Red Bull this week.
Christian Horner was quite clear in his displeasure with engine performance during the 2015 campaign. While many feel that the Red Bull design is strong, the lackluster performance from Renault has not allowed the design to reach its full potential. Austria was the perfect example as the Mercedes cars dominated the day leaving the Renault powered cars deep down the grid.
Unfortunately, homologation rules prevent changes to the engine this season. This will limit the ability of Renault to catch the Mercedes powered squads.
Renault engine wont improve until next year which could place friction between teams used to using the Renault engine as a winning platform.
FIA MAJOR RULE CHANGES
There has been a lot of talk about spicing up the Formula 1 show. The FIA approved a few changes that are designed to make the spectacle more appealing the fans.
The first visible change involves attaching small titanium skid blocks to the floor of the car which will produce sparks. This will look nice, especially at night races such as Singapore, but will add nothing to the racing.
The second change will definitely impact the racing…standing restarts after a safety car!
I understand this. There is nothing more exciting than the start of an F1 race…NOTHING. As the cars round the final turn and grid up, the excitement reaches fever pace every single time.
I however don’t think standing starts should be used on restarts.
Why? It’s simple for me. It will take away the magic that goes along with the opening scene in the Formula 1 drama. It’s like walking through the lower levels of Disney World and seeing Mickey Mouse without his costumed head.
I would never want to satiate on the standing restart. Seeing it once per race is enough.
There are many additional arguments concerning safety and the cars being able to handle more than one standing start each race, especially on old tires These all have merit, especially when it comes to driver safety. The show should never ever trump the safety of the drivers!
In this case, I think that NASCAR gets it right. Bunch the cars back up and double file the restarts. This keeps the cars cool and will still add some excitement to the restart process. It will also save the magic of the greatest spectacle in motorsports, the start of an F1 race.
For those who use twitter, you can follow me @steve_aibel or check us all out at Drafting the Circuits.