Grand Prix 2016 European Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

As if to highlight the madness of a 21 race calendar, no sooner have the champagne bubbles dried on the Montreal podium and every team will be frantically packing to have their gear sent 5552 miles around the world to Baku in Azerbaijan. This must be without doubt the longest distance between back to back races in F1 history.

Azerbaijan is located in the Transcaucasia region between south west Asia and south eastern Europe. With a population of 10 million people it has a high rate of economic development and ranks on par with many European countries for human development, literacy and living standards. Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan, sitting on the Caspian sea is a UNESCO world heritage site. A city that has grown through the discovery of oil, it is now home to over a fifth of the population of the country.

Quite how this race came to be given the European Grand Prix tag, I'm not quite sure. Azerbaijan did win the 2011 Eurovision song contest so this may have had something to do with it but we'll never now. If that is the case, we may expect the European GP tag to be awarded to Australia at some point in the future.

The name 'Grand Prix of Europe' was given to races as an honorific title originating in 1925 and from 1950 onward, specifically in Formula 1. That was until 1983 when, at the 11th hour, Bernie was once again let down by the organising team of the New York Grand Prix. Brands Hatch circuit were able to step in with 3 months notice and thus that years calendar contained the first 'stand alone' GP of Europe. The event itself was deemed a major success and so the decision was made to continue with an event given that title. For 84 the race moved to a re-designed Nurburgring before moving back to Brands Hatch in 85 for the last but one F1 race to be held there. For a short while, Europe's once again dropped from the schedule to be replaced by Hungary. It then reappeared to be held at a rain soaked Donington park in 1994. Moving between Jerez, the Nurburgring and finally the much loathed Valencia, the race has finally ended up at Baku for this season. What makes this unusual is that normally the European GP title was given to the second race to be held in a country in a calendar year.

The track itself at 6km long is the second longest of the season after Spa. It winds its way through the old town of Baku and through some insanely narrow sections. It also contains a 2.2km straight before the start finish line. Everyone's favourite circuit designer Herman Tilke has been behind the pencil on this project. Supposedly designed to be the fastest street circuit in the world, what the lap times will be like here are anyone's guess. Expect the grip to be non existent for the best part of the weekend until the cars lay some rubber into the track. I would imagine there will be plenty of scenes of damaged carbon fibre, especially on Friday.

As for the teams, it looks like this is going to be a power circuit. Judging by their respective performances in Canada, Mercedes should have the advantage here but it's clear that Ferrari and Red Bull are now hot on their heels. With Bottas also putting in a decent shift at Montreal and the Mercedes engine in the back of his Williams, a fourth team enters the mix when it comes to belting down that insanely long straight. Nimble handling will be required around the narrow twist section between turns 5 and 13 so a well balanced car could make up some ground here.

It's almost impossible to predict anything beyond that. As I said above, the low level of initial grip, the new circuit layout and the fact that Canada has shown that the Mercedes lead is no longer as totally dominant as it once was, could see an almighty dust up or it could lead to a snooze-fest. For those who don't pay Murdoch's sport viewing ransom, the race will be shown live on C4. I'm not sure about everyone else but I'm actually looking forward to it.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
but Hakkinen's reputation as one of the sports greatest is completely at odds with what he actually achieved relative to his team mates.

Yeah but the team made measurement on greatness is notoriously a dodgy one as it doesn't take into account what happens during the season.

I mean if you looked at the current seasons stats you'd say Rosberg had been dominating Hamilton. We all know that's not the case and there have been mechanical issues at stake but stats Don't tell you that.
 

ATL11

Podium Finisher
Yeah but the team made measurement on greatness is notoriously a dodgy one as it doesn't take into account what happens during the season.

I mean if you looked at the current seasons stats you'd say Rosberg had been dominating Hamilton. We all know that's not the case and there have been mechanical issues at stake but stats Don't tell you that.

Think also we've seen whenever a Merc is in traffic it suffers, just Lewis has been in that position more than Rosberg.....oh does that make them the same?:o:o:o
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Think also we've seen whenever a Merc is in traffic it suffers,

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I think that has been a tad overstated and the reason why is actually quite simple. The Mercedes is a great deal faster around a lap circuit than the other Mercedes-powered cars. In theory it has (roughly...) equivalent power output, That means it is faster around a lap circuit because it generates a great deal more downforce.

At the risk f stating the obvious you can't have your cake and eat it. Downforce will always come at the expense of low drag so everything is a question of compromise. THat is why we have often seen A merc in a race situation stuck behind a Williams or a Force India unable to overtake it, however faster it may be capable of lapping. So I don't think it's so much a question of the Mercedes suffering in dirty air. It's just that its overall pace advantage isn't huge enough for them to be capable of adopting a lower downforce set-up AND maintain its superiordownforce generation with the 2016 cars.
 
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The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
At the risk f stating the obvious you can't have your cake and eat it. Downforce will always come at the expense of low drag so everything is a question of compromise.

True only to a point. I would suggest that the difference is efficient downforce, otherwise teams like Manor and Sauber would be significantly faster than the Merc on a straight. If I understand things correctly, and probably one for a different thread, but ground effect downforce is relatively cheap in terms of drag, the downside being that it needs to be balanced with front downforce, and clean airflow from the front wing. So, cars which generate strong underbody downforce will have a front wing which generates more drag than others in order to balance things off. I would suggest that this could also explain the loss when following another car,
 

olegg

Race Winner
New unofficial record of Formula 1:
on the 2 km straight in the Baku Bottas achieved 378 km/h (235 miles per hour)

It is interesting which speed wil be on the 5 km straight :)
 
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Il_leone

Champion Elect
on his day Hakkinen was one of the fastest drivers even faster than Schumacher and one who pushed him to the limit there is no doubt about it

However I do think his world titles did owe to some fortune on the part of his teammate in 98 letting him through in Melbourne which proved critical

then in 1999 he seems incapable of securing the championship and finding ways to throw it away when Schumacher was absent

However problem those 4 years where he put so much effort physically and mentally against Schumacher took its toll on him
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I know this is straying off topic but in his eleven years in F1 Hakkinen had two good ones ('98 and 2000) and one mediocre one ('99). His first win was negotiated on the pit wall by Ron Dennis and (as ever) he had a significant car advantage in his first championship year and almost certainly wouldn't have the second title if Schumie hadn't busted his leg. He was also flattered by having a team mate who was the ultimate journey man and who was often beaten by his own ego.

But still, he won two World Titles which is more than I have so kudos to him.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
That top speed from max Verstappen in Q1 at 221mph that has got to be close to the outright top speed record


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It's probably quite a bit above that. If I got this right from what they were saying the speed trap in Baku is actually situated on the start/finish line rather than at the end of the straight so we don't don't really know what the absolute top speed is.


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I know this is slightly old news but just to elaborate on that, I've happened to have come across an old communication from Williams on the subject of Bottas's top-speed in Baku.
While the Finn was clocked at 366 k on the start/finish line their own telemetry showed that Bottas had accelerated another 12K going into the end of the straight.

So Bottas' s top-speed in Baku was actually 378 k/h. which is 234mph

So 234 mph thus becomes the highest top-speed ever recorded during a GP week-end.

I think the highest top-speed ever recorded by any racing car within an enclosed circuit still belongs to Paul Tracy who achieved 415 (256 mph) at Michigan in 1996.

Of couse both records would have been been eclipsed by the fastest Endurance prototypes at Le Mans had the Mulsannes straight been kept... straight. The fastest cars were already doing over 400k there in 1989 the year before they put a couple of chicanes in the middle.
 
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Incubus

Champion Elect
Well it' s not going to because there was no speed-trap at the end of the straight in Baku. The speed-trap there was on the start/finish line.

Only figures from FIA speed-traps are officially recognised so we never really know what the actual top-speeds are on any given circuits since the only figures that publicly released are those recorded on speed-traps, which are not necessarily situated at the fastest point of tracks.
 
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