Five hours 45 minutes after the race

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Nico Rosberg drove a faultless race from pole position to chequered flag on the streets of Baku in Azerbaijan. He won by 17 seconds but it was clear that he had had plenty in hand and did not go as fast as he might because there was no real threat from Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. In the closing laps Sergio Perez overtook Kimi Raikkonen for third, although he did not need to do it as the Finn had a penalty that would have given Perez the place no matter what happened. Lewis Hamilton did a sterling job to finish fifth, but he was hampered on his way by problems with his car. Amazingly, the race ran full distance without any Safety Cars, a bit surprise considering the chaos in GP2

Also in GP+ this week…

– Daniel Ricciardo’s future
– Kurt Busch drops into Formula 1. We interview him…
– Gerhard Berger’s Imola crash remembered
– A dark day in hydroplane racing
– JS looks into the history of Azerbaijan
– DT enjoys Baku
– The Hack praises Sebastian Vettel
– Plus the usual fabulous photography from the artists of Nygaardland

GP+ is the fastest F1 magazine. It comes out before some of the teams have even managed to get a press release out. It is an e-magazine that you can download and keep on your own devices and it works on computers, tablets and even smartphones. And it’s a magazine written by real F1 journalists not virtual wannabes… Our team have attended more than 2,000 Grands Prix between us.

GP+ is an amazing bargain – and it is designed to be, so that fans will sign up and share the passion that we have for the sport. We don’t want to exploit you, we want you to join the fun. You get 23 issues for £32.99, covering the entire 2016 Formula 1 season.

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64 thoughts on “Five hours 45 minutes after the race

  1. Joe
    From a brief replay on Channel 4, I thought that Kimi’s penalty was not on pit exit but on pit entry – he was following closely behind a car that suddenly went in to pit and Kim pulled out too late and, in so doing, crossed back over the white line as he continued on his lap

  2. Joe, I’ve been here in Baku for some days.
    Tomorrow I’ll visit Nobel brothers former resident. The old start to oil industry. No tyre change or pit stops needed at that time.
    Then back to Finland via Kiev

  3. I was, after initial doubts, highly impressed by the circuit layout. The high speed nature of the track made the Mercedes superiority in all aspects obvious for all to see.

    Turn 8, leading up into the old section, seems extremely dangerous and narrow, I can’t believe we didn’t see serious contact with multiple cars collected.

    Joe, from a TV perspective, it seemed lightly attended, with not many grandstands for spectators? Your perspectives?

      1. Trackside, it seemed there were more marshalls than spectators and the grandstands were 30% full. The apartments with prime position balconys told a story – one was festooned with Ferrari flags but some were unoccupied. The most amusing vignette was one lady appearing on her balcony who almost seemed to be wondering what all the noise was about and she had come out for a look.

        In the meantime, the FIA has to revisit the radio rules. I can understand the coaching stuff being banned – brake 20m later here, etc. But to expect drivers to have an intimate knowledge of engine modes and then to be debugging the systems while driving at 200mph is silly.

        1. The owners of the apartments were probably in detention at the local nick.

          I agree with Lewis and Fernando, they’re not software engineers.

        2. David I respectfully disagree.

          These guys are paid an absolute motza and are constantly held up as the “best drivers in the world”.

          The teams have simulators. They know the rules forbid them from telling the drivers what is going on unless there is a safety issue.

          They should use the simulators the same way the airline industry does.

          I understand the cars are complicated. However I refuse to believe that with the aid of simulators and a bit of graft by the drivers that they couldn’t be trained to better be able to respond to in car issues.

          I see no reason to change the rules. I think it adds an extra dimension to the races to have the driver have to deal with car issues just has they’ve had to since the dawn of motorsport. All that’s changed are the sorts of issues they have to deal with.

          The FIA wanted it to be about the drivers. For mine, if these guys really are the best drivers in the world, then they should at least be able to put in the time to understand what the controls on their cars do, rather than just pushing buttons like monkeys.

          If pilots can do it for a lot less reward and much more risk, then the molly coddled F1 drivers should be able to do it.

          1. Pilots use checklists all the time. They don’t even put the keys in the ignition without going through one.

            Drivers are not responsible for the cars in any way, shape or form. You only need look at what happens when a car goes into the garage during practice. The drivers pick their noses and the mechanic/engineers run around tending to the car. Neither are the race engineers the font of all knowledge, back in the days of ‘ship to shore’ F1 radio, we frequently heard the phrase “We are checking now”, whenever a problem occurred.

            Go back even further to the times when a hammer and adjustable spanner fixed most problems, racing cars carried an engineer in the passenger seat.

          2. Airline pilots have on-board super computers that are linked to more super computers at HQ via satellite. Auto pilot fly their planes and they don’t have dice with other 747s for a small piece of tarmac between concrete walls. If a Pilot has an issue, they have massive resources at their disposal and are not forbidden from asking for help. They have stacks of manuals by their side and a strict flight plan written and handily available. Your comparison is so flawed at to be just silly.

            Expecting a driver to be engineer and race driver is absurd. What’s even more absurd is expecting them to be that AND denying them the kind of information that the ACTUAL race engineer needs access to via computers and software that tells him what the issue is. It is another FIA rule that ignores the reality in favour of an ideology that has long ceased to exist. I don’t need to remind anyone that at one time a driver needed an on board engineer.

            1. Aircraft are also orders of magnitudes more complicated that an F1 car. Bit of a strawman there.

              Drivers already have checklists in their heads that they have to follow at the start of a GP to setup the car for the start, then to reconfigure it for later in the race.

              I don’t see it as unreasonable that they should learn a lot more about the cars they’re supposed to be driving.

              1. You bought up pilots. I suggest you stop digging, it’s obvious you don’t have any experience to bring to the table.

            2. Just to add a further comment. Do a search for the 2016 Mercedes F1 wheel.

              You’ll see that whilst there are lots of dials and buttons on the wheel, there are only three dials on there plus the RS button that are likely to have any impact on the state of the engine. The rest are brake balance, drs, radio, radio and diff settings.

              If a driver can’t manage three dials with a total of about 45 settings between them, then they aren’t worth money the claim they are.

        3. U.S. race commenters stated post race that Nico experienced the same problems Lewis did causing a loss of power, and Nico managed to resolve the issue whatever it was, fairly quickly. If it took Lewis longer and it cost him points, I’d wager he will become VERY familiar with his settings and all the different permutations they may entail.

          1. Rosberg altered his settings himself during the race. When the problem struck, he was told by his engineer to returned the settings to what they had been before he fiddled with them.

            Hamilton’s car was setup incorrectly before the race. If you watched the race, you will have heard his engineer advising him not to make any changes to the incorrect settings. Hamilton ignored the advice and fixed the problem. It took him over 10 laps as he was racing at the time – you know overtaking people and going at 200mph, etc.

            It is pretty obvious to me which driver has a better idea of how his car works.

        4. instead of the FIA revisiting the radio rules, the FIA out to make sure all drivers fully understands all buttons and switches functions on their cars before they are allowed to go racing.

      2. Hi Joe
        What a boring race, if this is the best that they can do with a new circuit…………….
        I think that the powers that be that sanctioned going to Baku and commissioned Mr Tilke or whatever his name is to design this circuit need to seriously up their game, dreadful circuit and of no watching interest whatever.. It just illustrates completely that Bernie and his stooges are just looking for money and forgetting totally about the fans?
        Everything always eventually goes full circle Bernie, shame about your legacy, spoilt by greed and overstaying your time.
        Great blog Joe

        1. I don’t think F1 will ever be good enough for you Chris H – it’s a great track for crying out loud!

        2. Yep Agreed Chris… I was literally trying not to fall asleep…. Finally turned off the TV from 20 laps to go as i knew who will win…Car manufactures have ruined F1….

      3. I, having been a severe critic, was very impressed by all that I could see on the TV with the notable exception of the picturesque town wall section that I don’t believe has any place on a modern race track. Whilst it caught out very few (notably LH) the penalty for an accident, even though it’s relatively low speed, would be significant and I have no doubt it’s an accident waiting to happen,
        The very high speeds were appealingly apparent, and whilst they too have the potential to be a problem, the width hopefully provides the necessary safety margins. The proximity of the buildings augments the noise that will no doubt please many.
        There was no excuse for the kerb plates’ fixing problems and the flying conduit covers that cost Williams dear and nearly amputated 2 legs was unforgivable. I hope Mr Chief Inspector Whiting will reimburse Frank.
        The ingenue’s race showed why most will never make it to F1.
        Overall a very promising debut. I look forward to reading your reflections beyond the initial bad odours.

      1. I think Jimmy was alluding to the lack of trackside sponsorship (with the exception of Rolex, and one Emirates logo on the side of a bridge), and the powers that be making up for it with masses of purple “Well done Baku” signs.
        It made for a bizarre sight on TV, especially with what appeared to be very empty grandstands.

        1. I have to say I really missed the Heineken advertising. There were so many stretches of vacant track wall that were begging for advertising coverage….

  4. Snooze fest Im afraid! After the excitement of Le Mans and the BTCC at Croft, F1 in Baku just seemed elitiste and was rather boring! I want to love it, but finding it hard to do so……..

  5. Following the tightening of the rules on what can and can’t be said over the radio, is there anything in the regulations to stop a team from poking a board through the fence with, for example, “mode 7 lewis u muppet” written on it? I was on holiday when the whole radio thing got overhauled and my stupid PVR decided not to bother recording the races I missed.

      1. I checked it very carefully before leaving home. “Record entire series” I said. It did qualifying at Spa, then lost interest. I missed three races. Bah!

        Anyway, the obvious answer to the communication breakdown is to bring back the riding mechanic. This will bring also allow cash-strapped teams like Sauber to rent the seat out to rich idiots during FP1.

  6. Joe, any comments on the driver situation with Renault for 2017? Nygaard is out in Danish media confirming speculations around a possible two driver switch.

    Of course we would be sad to see Kevin go – here in Denmark, but speculations about both Ocon and Sainz Jr. to be hot candidates don’t seem unrealistic.

    Nygaard also speaks of Perez as an option – not to mention one of the big grand old drivers spending their last years with a lucrative contract @ Renault.

    However, this would probably leave Kevin without a seat. I think it’s very fair to question his abilities, as he has had a sad tendency to be in the wrong spotlight most of the time, but it’s damn hard to judge his talent as a F1 driver in a car that lacks so much as the Renault does at the moment.

  7. Say what you like about the race itself, but it’s still very impressive that Nico has become the first man in history to win a European GP on Asian soil!

  8. I suppose with such expensive cars, a compromised prize winnings structure, very limited sponsorship opportunities, pay TV and no fags to pay for it all, it was pretty inevitable that F1 travels to these unusual and quiet destinations.

    Still, it does look like an interesting place to visit – was it a good time had by all Joe?

  9. Hi Joe,

    Well I am just wondering with all of this stuff on the wheel is this not promoting texting and driving? If a racing driver can do it then I can!

    All the best!


      1. I assume one of the two drivers actually listened to the engineer who was explaining what to do when engine modes/energy recovery systems go wrong.
        One of these guys last year didn’t want the engineer telling him what to do and didn’t want to listen.
        Hammy sounded like a little child wanting to change everything. I assume he told his teachers that the dog ate his homework too.
        I am disappointed that each race one of the top drivers complains about something he should be familiar with and say they need to change the rules. They seem like dumb robots with no character or brains.

      2. Well, if you read the race report in GP+ 190 it explains what happened. Maybe you could ask DT for a guest subscription, Joe. I’m sure he won’t mind.

        1. Have a subscription however I still will state that the excuses given are equivalent to saying the dog ate my homework when you did not do the work. Both for the driver and the engineers.

          I am sure the engineer explained everything to the drivers before the race however with glazed over eyes they said “Ok, I understand” however had not heard a word. Neither the driver or engineer had a proper meeting of the minds.

          As an engineering manager I have to deal with this same problem every day. Training/simulation however simple will eliminate a lot of mistakes. However I think the F1 engineers need to be smarter and do a better job of following the KISS theory.

          How have we not heard Red Bull will engine mode problems this year? Maybe with all the problems they had last year they know exactly what to do to get the maximum out of their engines when things are not optimal.

          Sorry for the start to a dissertation.

          1. Baseless speculation. You are not an F1 race engineer or driver and the team gave an explanation. Disagreeing with their assertion is disingenuous at best. You do not know what happened, they do. Your opinion on what may have happened has no value.

            1. Not baseless speculation just a statement of fact. Neither the driver or engineer had a proper meeting of the minds or this would not have happened.
              Do not have to be a “F1 race engineer” to see this. Sorry I do not buy BS like you seem to.
              Thanks for your response.

      3. From the reporting I’ve read and the coverage by C4, it would appear that NR only ended up in the wrongly configured mode because he changed the car *into* that mode some time after the start, and noticed the change in performance, and so was able to identify that change as the cause. Whereas LH was already in the wrongly configured mode from the start due to the need to overtake from his mid-grid position.
        It’s not exactly brain-surgery: you have a car that is performing, you change a switch, it stops performing so well, you change the switch back, it improves.
        No need for the “German team, ‘German’ driver, anti-British driver” conspiracy theorists to come out of the woodwork again.

        1. I had not even thought of the English/German thing.

          After the race Toto Wolf said that the required change was “counter-intuitive.” I wish they would give us more information.

    1. Because he made the switch to an engine mode that was iffy, so simply reverting to the previous setting was the logical and correct solution. Lewis started with the setting already in place. He did not set the mode it was done by Mercedes, so he had no idea where to look. He had no base line comparison to return to.

  10. Baku . A boring featureless track in a monochromatic ex Soviet city in a less than secure/safe country that exploits its population to the maximum attempting in vain to be a pastiche of Monaco/Montreal and winding up being yet another Tilke contrived Bernie’s Follies snoozefest begging the question ;

    What if an F1 race were held and nobody showed up ? At the track or on TV [ the Nielsen’s are in and they are disastrous ]

  11. Has anyone else noticed how the “boys” have gagged the President (with enhanced eyes) of this oasis in the east on the very last page of this issue of GP+?
    Very funny…….

  12. It’s nice to once again see a straight long enough for an F1 car to pass under full power instead of under braking. If only they hadn’t butchered the magnificent Hockenheim track, and then abandoned it.

    I also am surprised there wasn’t any pileup at the castle. Remarkable testament to precision driving all around. Overall, I thought the track was interesting at F1 speeds. Didn’t see the GP2 race, it would be nice to hear from someone who did.

    @ BenM – I don’t think you understand the situation. There’s no way any driver can solve such an issue without a lucky guess between MANY choices. If you are OK with that, fine, but “training on a simulator” would do NOTHING. I’m sure both Lewis and Nico understand the variables as well as possible. It’s still like pulling one special color marble from a jar blindfolded.

    1. We’ll have to agree to disagree then.

      Training people for unexpected situations using a simulator is the raison d’etre for the creation of simulators in the first place.

      What’s special about F1 that doesn’t apply to numerous other endeavours that use simulation technology to teach people to do things?

      There isn’t anything at all different about it.

  13. Unlike, it seems, the majority of comments here I found the circuit a pleasant surprise. I especially like the nuances and the fact that it is not simply a “boilerplate” Tilke setup. The speed in some sections was all to readily apparent, slightly scarily so in fact. That element of danger led to some increased respect for the challenge facing the drivers. The variations in track width provided interest in that whilst some sections proved a real challenge to master (with an absence of run-off areas and plenty of wall brushing) others provided ample overtaking opportunities.

    It is a shame Hamilton was crippled and that Perez suffered a grid penalty or the race would possibly have been rather more entertaining. I suspect that next year’s event will provide rather more on-track action and that yesterday was a bit of an anomaly with many drivers warned to take it more gently after a series of offs in Monaco and Montreal.

    The circuit looked far more interesting and unique than that other recent street circuit, Singapore, with more unique sections and excitement. I am giving Singapore a miss as I find it dull (although attending other close proximity races in Malaysia and Japan) but would gladly visit Baku next time round, depending on ease of obtaining a visa. I wonder if they offer a special 2 week visa for F1 attendees as with Bahrain?

  14. I really enjoyed the GP2 races, so naturally I was looking forward to the F1 race, but it seemed pretty dull and flat. There was no safety car and thus no restart, which would have been fun.

  15. A couple of thoughts on the Baku “European” Grand Prix…..

    1). I was impressed and somewhat surprised how better “behaved” the F1 drivers were over there GP2 counterparts. I know some of this was experience but even so, driving a much more powerful and technical car through those streets without any major mistake was very impressive. So hats off to the F1 drivers.

    2). I know this race was a little flat to watch (on TV) partly due point 1). but I believe the Baku race track has the makings to become a classic street circuit. Maybe there a odd tweak here or there but I particularly like the fact that overtaking is possible and that the barriers are right next to the racing line, so catching out the smallest of mistakes.

    3). Even from watching on TV, it was also evident and very impressive the amount of work and effort that had gone in to producing that circuit and it infrastructure. For that, Baku and the people who worked on creating that circuit should be rightly praised and credited.

  16. Thanks for pointing out the European GP race report in GP+, CBR, I was beginning to wonder why I’d bothered writing it after reading all the expert comment and speculation from those who clearly hadn’t read it…

    Re the much discussed subject of Lewis’ drive in an event where the top speeds were around 235 mph, the best I’ve reached so far in a car is 247, and I can definitely say I had zero time to worry about trying to reset anything, let alone continually juggle with it. And I was only running in a straight line on an open track. Just FYI, I’ve also flown a couple of flight simulators – I crashed an AirAsia A330 into the control tower at KLIA on one flight. And while pilots have the additional onerous task of keeping a plane in the air, they don’t normally have anything to hit while they are up there, so comparisons there are tricky.

    To expect any driver continually to try readjusting something while racing the best guys in the world at competitive speeds on a demanding and bumpy track surrounded but unforgiving walls is just naively unrealistic. Try it yourselves, and you’ll see it’s far from the cakewalk some would like to have us believe when they attack from a simplistic point of view.

    Re riding mechanics, I’ve often thought it would be fun to have F1 with riding journos, to let us see for ourselves what war a Grand Prix really is, and to teach us all some respect. The description by some of these brave fellows as engineers amused me. Generally they were there to keep the oil supply primed or to inform the driver of following cars. But on one occasion one went the further mile. I believe it was Malcolm Campbell’s mechanic Guilio Foresti who was required to employ his own private fire extinguisher to micturate on the clutch when it began slipping…

    David Tremayne

    1. Regarding your points David, it’s why hand engaged cell phone conversations and texting while driving are prohibited. Those things could get you, or some innocent, killed.

  17. Great article on Gerhard Berger’s crash at Tamburello. I remember back in my youth in Australia when the “live” races started at about 11pm dragging the tv into my bedroom to watch (or fall asleep in front of) the races. The TV had just finished warming up and the picture appeared just in time for me to see Berger hit the wall and disappear in flames. It has always stayed with me as it was the first time I had ever seen someone being killed ‘live’. Of course thankfully he wasn’t, but it was pretty shocking nonetheless. The other time this has happened for me was Kubica’s crash in Canada, again with a happy outcome.
    Although I saw Senna’s crash, it didn’t have the same impact because it looked like a minor crash, with more of a sense of disbelief that he was killed than the outright shock of the others.
    Returning to Berger’s crash, I remember being amazed at the safety levels which allowed him to survive it. Good to hear the story of the marshals who saved him.

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