Grand Prix 2018 French Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

I know you all know this but the phrase Grand Prix means Great Prize, which is a bit of a clue as to the history of motor racing. The first ever Grand Prix took place in France in 1906. There was a race in the first season of the World Championships in 1950 and apart from 1955 (after the Le Mans tragedy) there was a race in France every year up until 2008.

The French Grand Prix was, is and will continue to be part of the history of F1 and the fact that the powers that run Formula One chose to drop it from the calendar from 2008 was a disgrace and insult to the heritage of the sport. Regardless of the finances, there are certain races which must be on the F1 Calendar and France is one of those. Liberty media would do well to look at the history of the sport and learn what the sport needs not just from a financial perspective but also from an historical one.

Anyway, enough of my ranting France is back. Hooray! The race is taking place at Paul Ricard. Hooray, sort of. Why sort of? Well, Paul Ricard has a history in F1 with the race taking place there at various times in the 70's and 80's, sharing duties with the circuit at Dijon Prenois. But the circuit which was used back then has been heavily revised for safety reasons since the 80's. The old back straight was over a mile long and watching the turbo cars of the 80's blast down this was something to behold. After the death of Elio de Angelis a chicane was put in to the straight and then the circuit was shortened. The bizarre thing is de Angelis' death had little to do with the length of the straight and more to do with the poor emergency support at the practice session.

By the way, we shall have to refer to the circuit as Le Castellet otherwise we are giving free advertising to an alcoholic drink maker who only paid for the track to be built. Not like he deserves any credit is it? Perhaps we should now call it the Circuit Bernie Ecclestone, after the current owner. In fairness to Bernie he has invested a lot of money to improve the facilities to the point where it can host a Grand Prix but then he has a lot of money doesn't he.

So along with the emasculated track comes another strange innovation. There are no gravel traps at Le Castellet, instead there are blue and red stripes painted around the edge of the track which are designed to slow the cars down should they enjoy an excursion off road. These painted run off areas are a mix of asphalt and tungsten and the red sections are deeper than the blue so give more grip to the tyres, slowing the cars down. Having watched a WTCC race it is sometimes difficult to work out where the track runs and, reading some stuff to write this article, found out that the circuit has 167 possible configurations. I wonder if any of the drivers will get lost?

Having just got over the "excitement" of Canada I can't be bothered to get too much into where we are in the 2018 championship. Suffice to say that pole will be either from Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull and the winner will also be from one of these teams. The test will be whether Merc bring their upgraded engine to France and if this will get them closer to Ferrari.

Enjoy one of the historically most important races Formula One could have. I hope it will provide some close action but I have a horrible feeling it will struggle to beat the number of overtakes in Canada. It should be better than Monaco though.
 
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Have any of you been foolish enough to watch reality TV programmes like Big Brother, X Factor, I'm a Celebrity or Top Model? You have villains, you have good guys & gals, you have those who don't contribute, you have those who look foolish, you have those who appear clever.

Do you know how we come to these opinions about those involved in these shows? It's how the producers edit the content and then present it to us. Someone who is a perfectly reasonable, genuine person can be presented as a deviant, humourless or a scoundrel simply by picking the right quote or sound bite, editing it into a situation where is doesn't fit or taking it completely out of context.

This is exactly what FOM do with most of the radio messages which we are permitted to hear during a GP. The volume of communication between the drivers and the pit wall must be huge but we get, perhaps, 20 clips throughout the race. These are supposed to give us an insight in to the thoughts, manner and personality of the drivers? In a situation where they are under maximum pressure both physically and emotionally.

If you enjoy being manipulated by TV producers and editors please feel free to take these all at face value. Me? I'll continue to take them with a pinch of salt the size of Wales.

:thumbsup: very nice post!
 
Cursing out Charlie Whiting in public over this was extremely inappropriate in my book.

he didn't curse charlie in public, he cursed Charlie during a private radio message aimed directly at Charlie, the powers that be can hear all radio messages and often drivers talk directly to the stewards because they know that they are listening to them (a bit like a client of mine who is under the impression that the police is tapping his phone, so every time that he picks up the phone he sends his greetings to the police officers overhearing his conversations LOL) the fact that the powers that be decided to shame Vettel publicly just goes to show how childish and inadequate they are
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Well, if this was one isolated incident, then everyone would wave it off. But, this is hardly the first time we have seen a melt-down by Vettel. I was a Vettel fan until he took Webber off the track in 2010 and then threw that infamous tantrum. This is not the only such incident. He deliberately crashed into Hamilton last year and there are many other such moments. This is not something caused by people editing sound clips, or showing select videos, or press bias; they are mostly caused by the driver's behavior. While you can explain away some, you simply cannot explain away all of these incidents.

Of course, the original question I believe was: is Charlie Whiting biased against Vettel?
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Ruslan once again I refer you to all the other drivers countless tantrums and misgivings of which they are many. They match all of what you've said about him above. Hell Verstappen has been nothing but a spoilt entilted brat since he entered the sport and grown men pretty much throw their moist underwear at him everytime he goes on the track.

People dislike Vettel because he won a lot and had a period of dominance. People like to make out winners aren't as good as they are. Look at any driver who has ever had a period of dominance and you'll find at the time people hated them. I don't know why but that's our culture.
 
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Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Ruslan once again I refer you to all the other drivers countless tantrums and misgivings of which they are many. They match all of what you've said about him above. Hell Verstappen has been nothing but a spoilt entilted brat since he entered the sport and grown men pretty much throw their moist underwear at him everytime he goes on the track.

Rasputin, Verstappen is hardly are good comparison. He is a "spoilt entitled brat" on steroids. Vettel can be quite charming and likeable for most of the time. One commentator claimed after one of Vettel's "hissy fits" that Bambi had turned into a werewolf.

This is a high pressure situation, and every driver losses it at some point. But, Vettel's poor behavior does sort of slot him into the bottom third of drivers.

People dislike Vettel because he won a lot and had a period of dominance. People like to make out winners aren't as good as they are. Look at any driver who has ever had a period of dominance and you'll find at the time people hated them. I don't know why but that's our culture.

Not sure that is my culture. ;)

Anyhow, I think the original direction of this discussion was is Charlie Whiting biased against Vettel and is that part of the reason he got the 5 second penalty last weekend...or did Vettel simply deserve a 5 second (or worse) penalty for hitting Bottas (or to take Scipio always very informed opinion...which I think is no for Vettel but yes for hitting Grosjean)
 

Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
Ruslan you know I love you as a good friend and have for a long time, but I still don't see Vettel as you do and I doubt I ever will. I know he gets annoyed at times, but then who doesn't? Even I do that and we both know it takes a lot to make me lose it.

Pressure gets to everyone in the end and Vettel is no different, he just gets more attention when it happens to him because of who he is. He's fighting for a world championship and that is a huge pressure on anyone, mistakes happen and people get annoyed, just look at Hamilton and how he behaved during the last race in 2016, he tried everything and acted like a baby so he could try to make sure Rosberg didn't become champion instead of him. Was that behaviour any better? Vettel didn't deliberately hit anyone this last race as far as I could tell, for me he was maybe trying too hard and that sometimes causes silly errors, but that doesn't make him a bad person.
 
Anyhow, I think the original direction of this discussion was is Charlie Whiting biased against Vettel and is that part of the reason he got the 5 second penalty last weekend...or did Vettel simply deserve a 5 second (or worse) penalty for hitting Bottas (or to take Scipio always very informed opinion...which I think is no for Vettel but yes for hitting Grosjean)

I personally think that the stewards are always a bit harsh on Vettel, but in the end I also believe that last Sunday he should have been punished for hitting Grosjean so there you go, fair enough he got a 5 seconds penalty (which isn't the end of the world). I also happen to think that Verstappen and Hamilton always get away with things that would result in a punishment for drivers (if it was Sirotkin, he would probably be hanged, drawn and quartered). Mind you it happened in the past, Senna and Schumacher (although not in his fiunal Ferrari years), for example, were always treated rather kindly by the powers that be, I'd say that generally the best drivers tend to get some sort of preferential treatment, Vettel seem to be the exemption to the rule, I wonder why because he looks like a down to earth and reasonable chap
 
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Ruslan

Podium Finisher
RuslanVettel didn't deliberately hit anyone this last race as far as I could tell, for me he was maybe trying too hard and that sometimes causes silly errors, but that doesn't make him a bad person.

No, it was not deliberate. On the other hand, he certainly did cause an accident (for which Bottas does not share much fault for).
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I personally think that the stewards are always a bit harsh on Vettel, but in the end I also believe that last Sunday he should have been punished for hitting Grosjean so there you go, fair enough he got a 5 seconds penalty (which isn't the end of the world).

Yea, five seconds is really the lightest penalty you could impose.

I also happen to think that Verstappen and Hamilton always get away with things that would result in a punishment for drivers (if it was Sirotkin, he would probably be hanged, drawn and quartered). Mind you it happened in the past, Senna and Schumacher (although not in his fiunal Ferrari years), for example, were always treated rather kindly by the powers that be, I'd say that generally the best drivers tend to get some sort of preferential treatment, Vettel seem to be the exemption to the rule, I wonder why because he looks like a down to earth and reasonable chap.

I am not entirely sure of all this.
 

Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
No, it was not deliberate. On the other hand, he certainly did cause an accident (for which Bottas does not share much fault for).

Yes, Bottas lost out this time but there are also times when Vettel has been the victim of such accidents. Kyvat hit him twice in the first lap in Russia in 2016 which not only put Vettel out of the race, it also affected Kvyat's own team mate as Vettel was pushed into Ricciardo. That was after also forcing Vettel into Kimi's car in China only two weeks before. Then you recall Grosjean and his early career, how many crashes did he have? None intentional I am sure, but the net result was other drivers had their races ruined by him. As I said, this is motor racing and these things happen unfortunately we all make mistakes and none of us are perfect. (Though I'm pretty close of course, as you well know :yes:).

Vettel held up his hands and apologised for what he'd done to Bottas, not that it helps Bottas of course, but by then there's nothing more he could do.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Yes, Bottas lost out this time but there are also times when Vettel has been the victim of such accidents. Kyvat hit him twice in the first lap in Russia in 2016 which not only put Vettel out of the race, it also affected Kvyat's own team mate as Vettel was pushed into Ricciardo. That was after also forcing Vettel into Kimi's car in China only two weeks before. Then you recall Grosjean and his early career, how many crashes did he have? None intentional I am sure, but the net result was other drivers had their races ruined by him. As I said, this is motor racing and these things happen unfortunately we all make mistakes and none of us are perfect. (Though I'm pretty close of course, as you well know :yes:).

Vettel held up his hands and apologised for what he'd done to Bottas, not that it helps Bottas of course, but by then there's nothing more he could do.

So, I guess the question is, when should they penalize drivers for causing accidents? There is a rule book (which is not specific) and a set of traditions (which are not particularly consistent) and it was determined by a committee of three, including a former driver. Was the ruling out of line with other rulings? I hear Lauda and other people at Mercedes saying it was not enough of a penalty.
 
So, I guess the question is, when should they penalize drivers for causing accidents?

ah, that's a million dollar question, I guess that a driver should be punished for causing an accident when it was either intentional or he accepted the risk of causing an accident, IMHO if you make a mistake and as a consequence you hit someone then you shouldn't be punished, next time it might be the other way round

My impression is that in F1 there is someone who believes that as soon as two cars touch each other then someone should be punished, I know that in recent times there has been some significant development but I still object to the underlying assumption that if a driver touches another car then there must be some sort of retribution because mistakes aren't supposed to happen. My personal take is that if you're a driver your duty is to try as hard as you can, and when you're close to the limit it is possible to make mistakes.

Just look at the approach that people have these days to a driver who spins his car: it's a capital sin, it shouldn't happen, and if it happens you're lucky if you don't get punished, in my days we all had several spins at each event, if you didn't have a spin you weren't trying hard enough, and that was true not only of the junior formulae but also of F1, most drivers had at least a spin at each event, ideally during practice, because the meaning of practice was that you got out there and tried to reach the limit. Nowadays the limit is set, you know at how many revs you have to take each turn and so on, it has all become very much formulaic and very risk averse. I know that crashing is not funny, even if you don't break a leg it still hurts, but the point that I'm trying to make is that until a few decades ago motorsport was all about how close you got to the limit and what risks you thereby accepted, now it's only about the technical element, risk should be erased from motorsport, or at least that is the case for F1, I would never ride a motorbike but I love MotoGP because in MotoGP the risk element is still there, whereas F1 has been completely sanitised and in the process it lost its soul (mind you I'm not advocating the return of times when drivers were sitting in high octane petrol that could ignite at any moment, nor I think that it would be justifiable to drive cars where your feet are in front of the front wheels)
 
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