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Post by Fernando on Thu 20 Aug 2015, 10:49 am

It's been four weeks since the chequered flag dropped on the manic Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest. For two of those weeks, every factory has been shut away under lock and key but it will be the work conducted in the other two weeks which will cause the most intrigue this weekend. Honda arrives in Belgium with bold predictions about the potential of its upgraded power unit. Mercedes returns to the scene of last year's controversial collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with ruffled feathers and fresh fears of losing one championship after Sebastian Vettel's brilliant win in Hungary, while Sauber finally has its hands on Ferrari's upgraded power unit.

While there will be several unknowns for the teams in Belgium, the biggest will be the revised starting procedures. Drivers will no longer be able to adjust their clutch bite point after leaving the garage on their way to the grid, and cannot be given information from the pit wall about which clutch settings to choose. As we saw in Silverstone and Budapest, slow starts from the front row equal entertaining races and the new rules add another dimension to this weekend's race.

Kimi Raikkonen has been handed another year at Ferrari despite a less-than-satisfactory season so far. His poor form - he has less than half the points of team-mate Sebastian Vettel - fuelled speculation Ferrari could sign Valtteri Bottas as his replacement in 2016. But throughout the year it has seemed that Ferrari was looking for a reason to extend Raikkonen's contract for another year rather than a reason to end it and his performance in Hungary appears to have been enough to save his job. But Maurizio Arrivabene's words following the extension - "we expect this faith will be well rewarded" - is a clear message to Raikkonen: Performances must improve. A podium at his favourite circuit, Spa-Francorchamps, will be the perfect way to repay Ferrari's show of faith.

There are several. Sauber has struggled since its brilliant start to the season with no significant upgrades brought to the car all year. It scored a solitary point in the closing stages in Hungary through Marcus Ericsson but will hope to see both its drivers battling for points on merit with its now it finally has its hands on Ferrari's upgraded engine. Pastor Maldonado has not scored points in the last two races and needs to start turning his raw speed into consistent results for a Lotus outfit yet to maximise its potential this season. McLaren will also be looking to build on the points it scored in Hungary, even though it is not expecting to get the best from its upgraded Honda power unit until F1 visits the twisty confines of the Singapore street circuit.

The weather is notoriously treacherous in Belgium and the chance of rain could spice up the action this weekend. It looks set to be a sunny day for qualifying on Saturday, which should reach highs of 25 degrees, before forecasted showers for Sunday - which may well provide the best chance of a non-Mercedes victory in Spa.

Prime: Medium

Option: Prime

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director, says: "We have the same tyre nomination for Spa as we did for the Hungaroring - which turned out to be one of the most thrilling races of the season - but the two circuits present a very marked contrast. Whereas Hungary was tight and twisty, Spa is open and flat-out, making it a favourite among all the drivers. We've got plenty of high-energy loads going through the tyres in many directions due to all the different forces at work, but ambient temperatures still tend to be quite low, so the soft and medium tyres represent the best compromise between performance and durability.

"Spa is a race where anything can happen, with a high incidence of safety cars and changing weather, so tyre strategy is important, as well as each team's ability to constantly read the race and react quickly to any opportunities that present themselves. The recent Spa 24 Hours - which is our biggest event of the year - featured more changes of lead than you could count, as well as a succession of incidents and safety cars in the first half of the race. That showcases just what a spectacular and unpredictable competition this amazing circuit can regularly provide."



Renault Sport details the stresses and strains the Spa-Francorchamps circuit places on the main components of the power unit.

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE): Spa is the hardest circuit of the year for the Power Units. Over 65% of the 7km track is spent flat out, which translates as around 73secs per lap, the longest accumulative wide open throttle time of the year. The first period of sustained throttle is the climb from the La Source hairpin to the chicane at Les Combes. It takes around 25secs with the driver flat on the throttle throughout. The distance is only slighter shorter than a runway at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Almost all of sector three is taken flat out. From Stavelot through Blanchimont to the Bus Stop chicane, the Renault Energy F1 will be at wide open throttle for 20secs. The remainder of the throttle time comes from the bursts of power between corners.

The track's layout can be likened to a rollercoaster circuit where parts are loaded and unloaded in quick succession. The track drops over 40m from La Source before climbing over 80m back to Les Combes, equivalent to a gradient of 1 in 4. The descent compresses the internals but going over the crest of the hill, the vertical force is suddenly lifted and the parts unloaded, with the vertical forces switching to -3g. It can be equated to the feeling on a rollercoaster drop when your body feels compressed and pushed down into the seat but weightless when you go over a bump.

The altitude of Spa also affects fuel consumption. At its highest point the circuit is around 500m and the air is approximately 5% less oxygen rich than at sea level. With less oxygen going into the engine, around 1% less fuel is burned at Les Combes than at La Source.

Turbocharger: Turbo response in Spa is one of the critical performance factors. The majority of slow corners, for example the Bus Stop chicane, Les Combes and La Source are followed by a burst of throttle. Engineers will therefore look specifically at the engine maps to bring the delay in response as close to zero as possible. In fact, the time lapse between the driver putting his foot on the throttle and the turbo kicking in is now around 0.2s

The turbo will be rotating at close to its maximum to keep pace with the high rotational speeds of the ICE. The altitude will further increase rpm. At its most extreme the turbo will be spinning at more than 95,000rpm or over 1,500 revs per second!

MGU-K: Spa is one of the most demanding tracks on the MGU-K. Each of the braking points comes after a long burst of power so the energy dissipated through the brakes is enormous. The best opportunity for the MGU-K to recover energy is the Bus Stop chicane, which the driver approaches at over 300kph and brakes down to just 75kph.

At La Source, car speeds drop to just 70kph and engine revs to around 8,700rpm. The combination of MGU-K, ICE and brakes need to dissipate 2MJ of energy during this braking event - front brake temperatures will rise by more than 300°C to achieve this, even though the MGU-K is at the full recovery allowed by the regulations.

MGU-H: Sector two has the majority of corners and is therefore the least power sensitive part of the track. This pushes us to recover as much energy as possible on the MGU-H whilst maintaining good turbo response. High-speed flowing corners such as Pouhon and Fagnes are the best opportunities and will feed the recovered energy to the MGU-K and ICE on the next period of throttle through Blanchimont.

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Post by Fernando on Thu 20 Aug 2015, 12:48 pm

Button to get a 5 place pen & Alonso 10 place for the weekend.

The following is a list of the permitted messages for 2016, with anything else regarded as a breach of article 20.1:

1. Indication of a critical problem with the car, e.g. puncture warning or damage.*
2. Indication of a problem with a competitor's car.*
3. Instruction to enter the pitlane in order to fix or retire the car.*
4. Marshalling information (yellow flag, red flag, race start aborted or other similar instructions or information from race control).*
5. Wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.*
6. Instructions to swap position with other drivers.*

* indicates these are the only messages that may be passed to the driver whilst he is in the car and on the track, from the time the car leaves the garage for the first time after the pit lane is open on the day of the race until the start of the race.

7. Acknowledgement that a driver message has been heard.
8. Lap or sector time detail.
9. Lap time detail of a competitor.
10. Gaps to a competitor during a practice session or race.
11. "Push hard", "push now", "you will be racing xx" or similar.
12. Helping with warning of traffic during a practice session or race.
13. Giving the gaps between cars in qualifying so as to better position the car for a clear lap.
14. Tyre choice at the next pitstop.
15. Number of laps a competitor has done on a set of tyres during a race.
16. Tyre specification of a competitor.
17. Information concerning a competitor's likely race strategy.
18. Safety car window.
19. Driving breaches by team driver or competitor, e.g. missing chicanes, running off track, time penalty will be applied etc.
20. Notification that DRS is enabled or disabled.
21. Dealing with a DRS system failure.
22. Change of front wing position at the next pitstop.
23. Oil transfer.
24. When to enter the pits.
25. Reminders to check for white lines, bollards, weighbridge lights when entering or leaving the pits.
26. Reminders about track limits.
27. Passing on messages from race control.
28. Information concerning damage to the car.
29. Number of laps remaining.
30. Test sequence information during practice sessions, e.g. aero-mapping.
31. Weather information.

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Post by Guest on Fri 21 Aug 2015, 9:54 am

Maldonado has just wrecked another Lotus LaughLaughpicard

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Post by Fernando on Fri 21 Aug 2015, 3:21 pm

Looks like we're heading towards a tyre farce weekend Laugh

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Post by Fernando on Fri 21 Aug 2015, 8:20 pm

Lotus is working on resolving a legal dispute with former test driver Charles Pic that has left it facing the risk of bailiff action over the Belgian Grand Prix.

Pic has gone to court over a claim that he was not given his full allocation of testing days when he signed up for the team last season.

It is understood that the claim resulted in bailiffs appearing at the Lotus garage at Spa-Francorchamps on Thursday night, before an agreement was made for them to leave without impounding any equipment.

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Post by Guest on Sat 22 Aug 2015, 2:11 pm

Hamilton pole by a mile, Rosberg second & Bottas third. Vettel is 9th.

Red Bull also terminating the engine deal with Renault at the end of the year

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Post by Fernando on Sat 22 Aug 2015, 8:14 pm

Well this had to hurt.


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Post by GSC on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 2:03 pm

Its all a little bit sedate
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Post by GSC on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 2:29 pm

Do wish the stewards would force the drivers to respect the track limits.

Doesn't seem like anyone plans to actually take Eau Rouge on the track
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Post by GSC on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 2:30 pm

Ferraris one stop fails as Vettel gets a puncture
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Post by GSC on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 2:34 pm

Well that was a return to to meh.

Mercedes win by a mile again, race was over after Rosbergs crap start.

Great results for Grosjean and Perez.

Aside from that, not much happened. Ferrari tried an odd strategy and Williams were nowhere.
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Post by Guest on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 3:40 pm

Comfortable for Hamilton. Rosberg just performing like Rosberg does, not really doing anything. Max was entertaining & Grosjean drove brilliantly for third. 

Monza next, which should be pretty much a copy of this race.

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Post by GSC on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 4:12 pm

I'm not really sure about the virtual safety car. Seems very arbitrary lap time, and basically just harsher yellow flags.
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Post by Guest on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 5:04 pm

I'm not a fan really, same thing happened at Silverstone, people behind Hamilton were doing laps upto four seconds quicker than the leader during the VSC & today, Rosberg got the near four second gap down to as low as 1.8, no wonder Lewis was complaining over the radio.

As for the track limits, it should be enforced but rarely is. They took away the higher curb at the top of eu rouge after practice, as the drivers weren't happy. Sums it up.

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Post by wheelchair1991 on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 6:19 pm

That VSC does seem to be unfair on some drivers

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Post by daraghj82 on Mon 24 Aug 2015, 10:41 am


seb was really peeved after the race, imo Ferrari gamble on the one stop did not pay off rather than all of the fault being Pirellis

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Post by dyrewolfe on Tue 25 Aug 2015, 5:13 pm

Really needed some rain to liven this one up. As GSC said, a real comedown after Hungary (or a return to business as usual).

Horrible start by Rosberg killed any prospect of a battle for the lead. Did okay and partially redeemed himself by getting 2nd place.

Great drives by Grosjean, Kvyat and Perez to claim top 6 finishes. Shame Hulkenberg's race was over before it began. He could have had a good result too.

Williams seem to be on the slide again. They're definitely not as competitive as last season. They've got the best engine on the grid, so maybe they need to tweak the chassis and aero some more?

Exciting drive by Verstappen to salvage some points after starting near the back. More straightforward performance by Kimi. Think he's a bit lucky Ferrari offered him a new contract...not sure I would've, based on his recent performances (when the car hasn't let him down).

Big controversy of course over Vettel's tyre blow-out. Apparently the teams were advised not to exceed 40 laps on the prime tyres. Vettel had done 28 or so when it gave out, so I think his anger is at least somewhat justified...especially given what happened to Rosberg in practice and the lack of a satisfying explanation from Pirelli as to what caused Nico's tyre failure.

Think this should put more pressure on the FIA and Pirelli to start producing more durable tyres. Drivers are going to use the kerbs...they will also quite often drive over debris from accidents. The tyres need to be able to withstand this kind of abuse...or at least not suffer sudden, catastrophic failures if they are damaged.
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Post by banbrotam on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 12:09 pm

Sometimes F1 makes me laugh. They take unbelievable risks, i.e. travelling around bends at 150mph, but contradict themselves by wanting absolute guarantees about something that will vary in usage depending on the driver / car - so hence can't be given any

Vettel's moan is preposterous. The teams were advised against a one-stop, but because they weren't told that they mustn't do this - they're now trying to bully Pirelli, using 'concern for safety' as a convenient excuse

Rosberg's admittedly is less clear cut, but if there was a cut on the tyre and no others blew, why can't it be accepted as one of those things

It's as though they want stringent Health and Safety and to act like a bunch of neurotic safety inspectors on one hand - but the freedom to take incredible risk when it suits them

Significantly the voices of sanity (i.e. Lauda etc) were all part of the old school, that realised occasionally a tyre will blow - especially if you're daft enough to try a one-stop at Spa

I actually deal in Health and Safety, so fully understand the need to eliminate daft risks but you simply cannot ever eliminate all of them

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Post by GSC on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 12:35 pm

If they are advised it can go 40 and it explodes after 28 then that is unacceptable. Also Pirelli have history here.
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Post by banbrotam on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 1:54 pm

GSC wrote:If they are advised it can go 40 and it explodes after 28 then that is unacceptable. Also Pirelli have history here.


You're ignoring that they were also told that a one stop is 'inadvisable'. Strange that no-one wants to take that advice into account. I mean in 2009 Hamilton put to bed the "can't manage his tyres" myth, but doing a one-stop at Monaco, but that's not exactly got the fast sweeping rising and falling bends of Spa has it? Why on earth would any team think that one-stop at Spa wasn't anything other than risky?

Of course, I suppose you're right, they could do 40. That is if you never touch the kerb / lines and drive in a smooth manner all race. Perhaps a steady 56 mph would do it? Rolling Eyes

My point is that, as you stated Pirelli do have have history and that's why we've got this OTT reaction

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Post by GSC on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 2:35 pm

If the tyres cant last 40 without driving it like a roadcar, why did Pirelli say they can.

Tyre blowouts are massively dangerous, both for the driver who suffers it and anyone who might be following behind. That's the reason for the outrage
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Post by banbrotam on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 3:54 pm

GSC wrote:If the tyres cant last 40 without driving it like a roadcar, why did Pirelli say they can.

Tyre blowouts are massively dangerous, both for the driver who suffers it and anyone who might be following behind. That's the reason for the outrage

The tyres can probably last 40 laps at, say, Sochi. They could probably do the same at Spa, under certain conditions. It's a maximum, not a guarantee. Are they saying they could do 40 laps at Spa. If so, why did hey advise that a one-stop was inadvisable?

Surely any sensible pragmatic person would know that the tyres probably could do 40 laps, but only if they are used in an ideal manner - as there is other advise against a one-stop

Why do people chose one bit of advice, when there is other information which gives a more realistic picture?

Again, you're correct, tyre blow outs are frightening. Not certain that justifies every driver going always blaming Pirelli

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Post by GSC on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 4:32 pm

They were told 40 laps on the medium tyres at Spa. If its a maximum then Ferrari were still 12 laps shy.

Not sure why saying 40 laps regardless of track or tyre would make any sense.
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Post by GSC on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 4:35 pm

And saying a one stop is inadvisable isnt saying your tyres will explode 70% of the limit we gave you. Its saying it wont be particularly quick.
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Post by GSC on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 4:40 pm

The drivers dont like Pirelli partly because they think their tyres are Poopie, but there's a general unease since Silverstones 6 implosions and frustration that Pirelli seem to pass the buck and blame others every time.
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Post by Fernando on Tue 01 Sep 2015, 3:07 pm

Hulk signs new 2 year deal at Force India.

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Post by dyrewolfe on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 12:34 pm

Fernando wrote:Hulk signs new 2 year deal at Force India.

Happy to hear it!

As to the tyre situation, they should just do away with this hard, medium, soft, super-soft nonsense and just have a single (slick) compound which the teams can learn the limits of much more easily.
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Post by Trebs on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 1:21 pm

The strategies wouldn't be that varied with your idea dyrewolfe....

I'm looking forward to all the tyre compounds being available.

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Post by Fernando on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 9:11 pm

Appears Bernie paid the Lotus staff and dealt with the Pic situation so they could make it to Spa & Monza

#BernieForPresident Laugh

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Post by dyrewolfe on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 1:01 pm

Trebs wrote:The strategies wouldn't be that varied with your idea dyrewolfe....

I'm looking forward to all the tyre compounds being available.


They're not that varied as it is. Most teams use the same, or simply reversed tyre strategies. I don't think they have as big an impact on race results as some people think...except when they go BANG! Wink


Fernando wrote:
Appears Bernie paid the Lotus staff and dealt with the Pic situation so they could make it to Spa & Monza

#BernieForPresident  Laugh

Think Bernie's already got more power than most Presidents. Rolling Eyes Call me cynical but I can't help but wonder if it was a genuinely benevolent gesture, or just a way of getting more people indebted to him / owing him a favour.

#Nothings4Free

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Post by GSC on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 5:32 pm

The problem is the only way teams will drive flat out on tyres is if they will comfortably last an entire GP. We had this with bridgestone where although you had to stop, the soft/prime combination easily did race distances. And the upside of this is everyone did softs to about quarter distance, then stopped for primes to the end. In terms of strategy it was boring.

The flipside is if tyres has degradation, teams will always try to take them as long as possible, meaning tyre saving will be a thing. I'm kinda surprised Pirelli are keen to continue.
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Post by dyrewolfe on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:42 pm

GSC wrote:The problem is the only way teams will drive flat out on tyres is if they will comfortably last an entire GP. We had this with bridgestone where although you had to stop, the soft/prime combination easily did race distances. And the upside of this is everyone did softs to about quarter distance, then stopped for primes to the end. In terms of strategy it was boring.

The flipside is if tyres has degradation, teams will always try to take them as long as possible, meaning tyre saving will be a thing. I'm kinda surprised Pirelli are keen to continue.


But that was before we had DRS. Wink

I'm all in favour of returning to a single tyre compound that can do a race distance, now that overtaking has been made easier with DRS. This way racing becomes more about the car and driver skill.

Or, we can make the races more tactical. Do away with DRS and have two (or more) tyre compounds, which will mean overtaking becomes more dependent on who can look after their tyres best and which compound they are running on.

Either of these options makes sense IMO, but the current situation is just ridiculous, in that we have an overtaking aid that can be rendered ineffectual, either because drivers are afraid to take too much out of their tyres, or because they are too far into a stint and don't have enough grip.
dyrewolfe
dyrewolfe

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