Saturday, August 27, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal - The Hungaroring(Hungary Grand Prix Post Race Recap)

Welcome back faithful reader!  When F1 took a break this year we retreated into our Sensory Deprivation tanks and began the long and somewhat painful recharging process.   This season has been full, chock full, of excitement and quality racing.  When you last left us we were all eyeing Hungary hungrily. 

Thrown together in 8 months and first raced by F1 in 1986 while Hungary was still Communist, the Hungaroring was not the first major race track in Hungary.  There was one prior race in 1936 that was very successful and included Ferrari and Mercedes Benz.  Were it not for Hitler, the Hungaroring might have been on the first F1 Calendar.  How did this famously dusty circuit work with the new rules and tires?  Let's dive in.

To be honest, I wasn't really thinking this was going to be an interesting race.   I still have a sneaking suspicion that the exciting races we've seen are a statistical anomoly and the law of averages will catch up to us and the rest of the season is going to suck.   Happily this wasn't so. 

Drizzling at the start made for a wet but not soaked track.   F1 Intermediate tires move 350 gallons a minute off the racing line.  This is really what helps dry out a damp track (besides the not-raining part).

While not soaked the race starts out damp and it was just dry enough that the drivers felt they might-could(1) push harder than the track conditions really warranted.    Much commotion ensued. Button and Hamilton touch.  Alonso makes a great pass on Schumacher then runs wide and loses the position.  Vetteel runs wide and loses first.  Massa drives too close to a shark and gets his rear bit.

At this point everyone is on intermediate tires and things seem to be starting to dry out but it just didn't seem dry enough to warrant slicks.  That didn't stop Skeletor from deciding he would try.
Webber is the first on slicks and manages to keep it together.   Lewis and Vettel pit at the same time and you have to hand it to the pit crews as they manage a Ferrari, McLaren, and RedBull pitting all at the same time.  
As much as I hate to admit it , Webber seemed to call it right and had great pass on Alonso with warm tires.

Pastor Moldenado was speeding in the pits and there were some unsafe exits, but none compared to Heidfeld's pit exit.   Smoke, oil, fire and even worse, an explosion that injured a marshal trying to put the fire out.   It looks like there are some bugs to be worked out with the Renault design but if Renault were consitantly faster than Ferrari, I would expect to hear the FIA declare the design will be banned as it is unsafe (for Ferrari's chances to win a championship).

A word here about the stewards.  What the hell?   OK, that's more of a phrase really but what were they thinking?   The corner-workers/marshalls have a tough job but it is worse when Race Control has been "huffing" paint all morning.   The race stewards were appaling at this race.   The decision not bring out a safety car, was ridiculous.   The plan of pulling the exploded remains of Heidfeld's car back to the garage via the pit exit lane was beyond poor judgement, it was irresponsible.  Vettel nearly collided with them and I'm surprised more marshalls were not injured with this incident.

Here's a view you didn't see on the network coverage:

In direct opposition to the competency of Race Control was the Hungarian director of the coverage.  There were way more passes that we caught live from the best camera for the angle of the pass.  It was as if he was psychic.
A good race, and while not terribly dramatic it was very entertaining to watch Hamilton and Button go back and forth cleanly.

Now with the summer break over, our rest behind us, there is much activity going on.  We may even have a guest contributor or two.  Stay tuned dear reader as we start to ramp things up over at F1-Geeks.

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