Five hours after the race…

Abu Dahbi cover 2015Nico Rosberg scored his third consecutive win for Mercedes in Abu Dhabi, with Lewis Hamilton again shadowing him to the flag. It was not a great race by any means, but the Formula 1 circuit is never that dull. Off track there was plenty of action as the sport tries to sort out its future. On track Nico may think he goes into next year as the favourite, but no doubt Lewis will recharge his batteries and be back on full song in 2016. Ferrari finished third and fourth, with Vettel doing a sterling job to work hi way up through the field. But the cars from Maranello were a long way behind at the finish.

Also in GP+ this week…

– We finish our chat with Bob Fernley
– We remember Graham Hill and Tony Brise – 40 years after their deaths
– We wonder whether F1 should have play-offs
– We look at the problems facing F1 – and how they can be solved

– JS talks to a man from Nepal
– DT recalls the dark day at Arkley
– The Hack ponders F1 television
– Peter and Lise Nygaard produce some great shots from Abu Dhabi

GP+ is the ultimate magazine for Formula 1 fans. If you want to know more about the sport this is the magazine to find out. The staff of GP+ are part of the furniture of F1. We go to all the races and we want to share our love for the sport with the fans. We are happy to fight for it and we don’t hold back. The magazine is packed full of good stories, great features, fun and a taste of what it is like to be part of the F1 circus. The magazine – usually around 90 pages – is published a few hours after each race. It is in PDF format, so you can download it and keep it in your computer, tablet or even your smartphone. There is nothing like it, and it’s a great bargain. We are now signing up for 2016… Don’t miss it.

For more information, go to

41 thoughts on “Five hours after the race…

  1. Quick question. Given its the end of this season can I buy as a one off this last GP edition and the 2016/2017 season ? It’s not clear from the site. All the best

  2. Joe looking at the quantity of marbles on the track to-day is anything done over the weekend to sweep the tracks to try and remove them and if not why not It is their presence that defeats so many possible overtakes by effectively restricting the track to a single lane on the racing line ?

    ps any idea why i should have to go off and find my user name again this evening ?

    1. If today’s tyres shed so much marbles, then I think this is an incredible restriction on close racing, moreso towards the latter stages of a race when the racing line narrows. Yet another nail in Bernie Ecclestone’s coffin for reducing the spectacle of F1 racing with his demand for tyres that wear out so quickly

      Solution – make two grades of tyres that go the distance, one hi-grip grade that holds corners well, and one lo-grip grade that allows faster speeds on straights. And keep the rule that says both must be used during a race

      Thoughts anyone?

  3. Hi Joe. While reading, I was disappointed to see both the Bob Fernley and Graham Hill stories to be cut short. Any chance to put an updated PDF online? I hope the other articles are okay. Just stopped reading getting a bit frustrated because they are most interesting so would like to read the rest.

    Many thanks.

      1. Many thanks for updating so quickly Joe. Fantastic piece on Tony Brise as well. One of my favourite issues so far.

  4. For the first time during a race I wished there was no radio between the pits and driver. It would have made the race much more interesting if the merc drivers had to figure out and decide their own strategies in the car.

    1. if u get rid of the radios, how do the drivers indicate to their garage which tyre type they want at their next stop? do they shout through their helmets after stopping? or maybe raise their left hand to indicate “primes” as they go down the straight, whereas raising their right hand will be for the “options”?

      what about the pit boards? then what about the other integrated technology that the drivers see & use?

      technology, it’s part of the F1 racing scene, so leave it be. please!

      1. Your first question is easy. Have you heard on the radio where the engineer says “Pit Confirm”. He’s asking the driver to press the pit confirm button which indicates in the car-> pit telemetry that he has understood. It’s no problem to have buttons to indicates which tyre he wants at the next stop.

        Secondly, this radio technology does nothing to improve the racing, and takes a lot of decisions away from the driver. Ditch it I say.

      2. You have one type of tyre. As to the rest not difficult to pre-set or leave it to the driver. You want closer racing? There’s your answer.

    2. Oxo

      I agree. I found Mercedes instructions on engine settings in the last five laps particularly surprising given the gap between their drivers.

      1. Maybe you didn’t get the BBC commentary. Lewis was using a higher Strat 10 engine mode to catch Nico. The engineers told him to drop to Strat 6 or they would let Nico use Strat 10 too.

        It’s all nonsense. Let the drivers decide, not the corporate types who are only interested in the 1-2 statistics

        1. Hello Oxo

          Thank you.

          I know it is sad but I played it again on iplayer as I thought it odd. Hamilton was told to go strat 10, which I assume is the lower setting or Rosberg would be told to go to strat 6, which subsequently happened.

          If I am right about strat 6 being the higher setting it says to me that Mercedes were prepared to put higher stress on Rosberg older engine to defend the six second gap that he had to prove the point that the “Pit Wall Rules”.

          Was Hamilton being put in the naughty corner for daring to question strategy. My real point is to agree with your comment that Mercedes, for reasons I fully understand, will continue to control matters whilst good for them detracts from the racing

  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Abu Dhabi 2012… “Leave me alone I know what I’m doing”

    Lewis Hamilton, Abu Dhabi 2015… “How many more laps do I have to push for”

    ’nuff said

  6. ‘It was not a great race by any means, but the Formula 1 circuit is never that dull. Off track there was plenty of action as the sport tries to sort out its future.’

    So, to the casual observer happening to watch on the BBC, it was a dull race. In fact, even to a seasoned journo such as yourself, it was dull too.

    I haven’t seen it yet, but know the result from looking at the BBC sport app as I whizzed my way back to London from Liverpool on the train, whilst the race was on and have decided I probably won’t bother to watch it.

    Great job F1. What hope does the sport have of attracting fresh pairs of eyes to spectate and watch if the long term fans are thinking ‘Nah.. I know it’s boring, I won’t bother to watch thanks..’

    1. Good luck with watching it if you thought you’d recorded it. I pressed the appropriate buttons to discover that the box in the corner had recorded three hours of 9;&)*#}€ tennis because the BBC had decided to swap the channels and broadcast the race on 2 instead.


      1. Interesting.
        With the wee fellow spruiking recently about things Beeb and contracts and not sounding particularly helpful to anyone other then Donald and himself, perhaps the Beeb was showing ways and means?

        1. Davis Cup coverage was flagged up well in advance to be fair (at least we won) however Lewis will obviously be relegated to No2 again, and lower, in ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year’ this year as a result!

      2. Had work to do myself and recorded BBC (I’m completely opposed to pay tv). First race I almost missed in 20 years. Was fuming. Why the swap? Some French-Belgian channel came to the rescue where I could rewind the race. I guess it also shows how much of a second rate horse F1 has become for BBC. All in all didn’t seem the choice of channel could make it even less exciting. Even as a longtime fan (12 y/o to now 38) I really would like just some nice racing on the screen. In fact I think what makes F1 interesting these days is all the lunacy going on behind the screens. I’m more excited about reading stuff on here then watching the races.

  7. On one hand I can see why Merc want to manage the strategies to be consistent, they need to mange their resources and get the best outcome for the team. BUT, and its a big but for me, this comes at the expense of the show. Could Lewis have eeked his tyres out and held Nico off? Probably not but we will never know.

    It seems like Merc are forcing their drivers to race with one hand tied behind their back if they can’t adapt the race strategy to maximsie THEIR chance of winning, then withthe current aero isses the chances of an overtake after the start must be below 20%. I mean given how close the two merc drivers are to each other in absolute lap time I bet there have been no more than five interteam overtakes this season if you discount the starts.


  8. Thanks Joe – Great read as usual.
    Unfortunately this race did nothing to restore my faith in the sport. The Mercedes engineers orchestrated the whole thing which unfortunately prevented Lewis making a fight of it.
    I first had my doubts at Melbourne in 2014 when D.Ricciardo was disqualified from 2nd because someone sat in an office somewhere said that his fuel flow rate was too high – really!!!
    I’ve stuck with it since then in the hope that things would improve.
    Since then I’ve watched Mercedes finish 1st & 2nd in virtually every single session because nobody is allowed to catch up because of the ridiculous token system. How can you have a situation where 2 ex world champions are starting on the back row because they’ve accumulated a laughable 105 grid place penalties between them??
    I’ve also watched the drivers being interviewed on the podium and they’re not even out of breath because they’ve spent the entire race lifting & coasting, saving fuel/tyres & following every command from their engineers.
    I read the press but journalists only write about the politics and who supposedly said what to who. There is hardly any mention of the wheel to wheel racing on the track because there isn’t any.
    We also have the situation where new teams may not be able to enter the sport because nobody will give them an engine if they think that they might be as quick as them!!
    I watched the finale of the MotoGP a few weeks ago with some friends and it reminded me of how I used to feel when I watched F1. Edge of the seat pure excitement!
    I sincerely hope that F1 sorts itself out one day. Unfortunately, because the teams have to agree to any changes, and they all have their own agendas, I fear that this day could be a very long way off.
    On that note Joe, unfortunately I won’t be renewing my subscription & I’ve also cancelled my TV subscription. I feel very sad about it but I don’t feel that the sport wants fans like me anymore and at least my bank balance will be healthier.
    Good luck with the magazine Joe, hopefully they can improve the show for you and you can concentrate on writing about what we all want – exciting racing!!
    I’m off to find my excitement elsewhere – maybe MotoGP will fill the void in the meantime.

    1. I feel a bit isolated because I was absorbed by the Abu Dhabi race. I concentrated a bit harder than usual and it all seemed more interesting.

      But I hope the F1 rule makers are listening to you, Bruno, about the token system. The next time there are major changes, teams and engine manufacturers should be allowed to make adjustments for a couple of seasons until everyone is at an equal-ish knowledge level. If you are in a hole, you learn to stop digging — unless you operate by F1 rules which disallow climbing out of the hole.

      I don’t think it is fair to blame Mercedes-Benz for orchestrating the race. The tyre design guidelines and engine power/fuel consumption rules were intended to create randomness and opportunity for different strategies. The consequence is the opposite — “safe” strategies are the way to score points or win. In response, we hear about sticking with status quo rules or adding more fake randomness.

      MotoGP racing is brilliant — but the rule makers try to rig the series so that private teams can compete against factories, so that factory teams don’t snaffle the top novices. Sometimes the rule makers get it wrong and the grid size shrinks. They’re pretty good at sharing the wealth so teams like LCR Honda and Tech3 have been around for years. The rules are more NASCAR than F1 but racing never has an artificial feel. Just remember that the rules will go wrong one year and the season will be dreadful to watch.

      Pseudo-equivalence rules work for MotoGP because there are two top teams, with another two nibbling at their back wheels. And Suzuki and Ducati have to try hard to beat private teams.

      F1 costs a lot more than MotoGP and both are perceived as high technology. Consider that aerospace engineers may piffle at F1; but aerospace engineers solve new problems within a budget.

      F1 rules (consider them like any other engineering constraint) need to be more closed in some ways and more open in others. Use budgets to restrict how teams and engine manufacturers introduce new parts and designs.

  9. Hi Joe,

    No point in repeating other comments about the bore-fest that was the last three races.

    In addition to NASCAR, NHRA drag racing, our own BSB and plenty more series simply draw a line at a certain race in the season, re-set the points for the top 10 say, drivers and call it something like Countdown To The Championship.

    I follow US drag racing and this year two of the 4 main titles went to the last race and the other two were only decided at the penultimate event.

    It ain’t rocket science, but when the mind set is such that even with both titles and 1st and 2nd in the driver championship wrapped up the front running team still refuse to allow their drivers to race.

    After 55 years of watching F1, I despair.

  10. I’m baffled as to why so-stated long-term fans of F1 have this view that there was some period in which we had close wheel-to-wheel racing for entire races, and in which the championship always went down to the last race.

    There have been many years in which the championship was decided long before the last race, (several of MSch’s for eg.), and there have been many years in which the last race was a total cliff-hanger, and sometimes finished off by some decidedly nasty manouvres.

    There have been some periods in which one manufacturer has dominated – Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Mercedes, Auto-Union, Bugatti, Alfa-Romeo have all had seasons in which no-one could touch them. And there have been some periods in which two or three teams have fought it out.

    In both areas, the points system has very little impact upon this. The regulations (wide tyres, high wings, no wings, turbos, DRS, limited fuel, limited tyres, unlimited fuel types, big engines or small) have rarely *caused* the domination or otherwise. It has been the engineers. Sometimes somebody just GETS IT RIGHT, and other times, the others catch up. The dominance never lasts very long.

    It’s amazing to me that the ‘long standing’ fans forget this.

    As for wheel to wheel racing… check out the coverage of races from the days when it was Raymond Baxter doing the commentary for the BBC, and you’ll realise just how AMAZINGLY close the racing is these days. You could easily time qualifying on a hand-held stopwatch when the lap-time differences were measured in seconds … Now? Not so much!

    F1 goes in cycles, nobody stays on top forever. Let’s just look forward to some more racing next year, and hope that Ferrari, Renault and Williams (esp. Williams, IMO) can bring the challenge to Mercedes. (though given what Mercedes achieved in the late 1930’s I don’t think Mercedes will be resting on their laurels)

    1. I think we’re of the same era. You’re right of course but these days people expect so much more – from everything, be it TV’s, cars… the list goes on. ‘Everything’ has to be commensurate with their lifestyle.

      For me the problem is the manner in which those who watch F1 are treated by the organising bodies, which is nothing short of shameful. Attending races is often worse than 1960’s – least you could get into the pits for free after a race and it was a lot cheaper then! TV has progressed in the last 20-odd years but looks like it’s going to become affordable for many. That’s progress you know.

    2. When the Silver Arrows raced in the 1930s, two teams fell under the Silver Arrow banner: Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. And the smaller Auto Union team were on top a few times.

      A difference in thinking is that, in the past, we believed that an outsider could beat the dominant team. Auto Union did it in the 1930s. When Colin Chapman designed the Lotus 79, we knew that other teams would have a go. Other racers didn’t have a go at the Lotus 79 and its sad successor; they battered Lotus to kingdom come, and fans expected to see Ligier, Renault and Williams drivers on a podium.

      A lot of F1 viewers, sports fans who love sport in general but do not follow the intricacies of F1, will have been turned off by this season. They might be right. The tech rules are so narrow that the current set are pushing the sport in the wrong direction.

      But don’t kick the hybrid/fuel consumption limited model out of the window. Engine technology is the only stuff that is pertinent to road vehicles (and to boats or planes). Gearboxes don’t matter; the problem is solved and it is along to production engineers and psychologists to convince road car drivers that they’ve been driving in the wrong gear for the last ten years. The aerodynamic stuff is irrelevant to everything beyond F1; and it will be irrelevant next year, because F1 changes regulations every year.

      The engine stuff really matters. It is relevant technology, for all of the engines in road transport. So it is bonkers to define an F1 V6 engine with cylinders at a defined position. If a smart engineering or scientific team designed a material which allowed really small metal walls using conventional materials, the design would be banned under F1 engine rules. Daft.

      1. I’ve dispensed with manual boxes, modern autos are quicker and more efficient (Audi also give you the very clever manual option on S-Tronic boxes), but I agree with you to some extent with aero design on production cars when I see highly areodynamicaly designed cars speeding by with luggage boxes or worse on the roof!

  11. At last, I managed to find time to read MD’s piece on the BBC. I agree with Mike’s sentiments totally, mystified at the lack of response from the teams at the potential loss of FTA – and without ads. He raises many good points but should also realise that market rates apply with most appointments even though, like him, I find it difficult to swallow. Also Mike, as I’ve said before in replies on this subject, the U.K. Licence fee is very competitive with others around the globe and I think it would exist in one form or another BBC or no BBC.

    1. I had a major problem with MD’s attitude to the other stuff the BBC produces. For example, dismissing Strictly Come Dancing (which he erroneously calls Strictly Ballroom) simply because he doesn’t like it is a foolish argument. There are many BBC’s consumers (I might even suggest, the majority of them) who have no time for F1 (shock, horror, the very thought!), and so to them, F1 coverage is a waste of resources in exactly the same way that SCD is to MD.

      1. I offer profuse apologies for getting the name of the dancing programme wrong. An annoying pedant like me should have been more careful. I have watched the show because The Brunette is a member of a tango dancing club, but I stopped tuning in when she did (the manufactured “Latin American” stuff bears no relation to the real thing).

        My beef with the Beeb, which was probably not made sufficiently clear in my column, is that it squanders money. I read somewhere that a group of ex-footballers have lost a great deal of money in an investment scam. It may just be coincidence, but they have all worked as analysts on the BBC’s Match of the Day football show.

        Since the sum involved, according to the headline, was in the region of £10 million, something is telling me that these chaps were (or are) overpaid. I suspect that they would still be in line to do the job if the sums on offer were considerably smaller.

      2. I must say, I’m not a fan of Strictly (don’t understand it at all) but I confess to watching Bake Off – a trade-off with my wife for such things as F1….. There should be room for every taste, as you hinted at the end.

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