Singapore GP Debrief: A New State of Play After Marina Bay?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    Dppi_00114015_722.jpg Amidst the FIA's attempts at stifling radio chatter, the Singapore Grand Prix gave F1 fans plenty to talk about.

    After Lewis Hamilton's triumph in Monza two weeks ago, the stage had been set for the Brit to mount an almighty comeback against championship-leader Nico Rosberg in the final six races. And yet while we were all wondering how Hamilton would scale that 22-point tower heading into Singapore, on Sunday the 2008 Driver's Champion simply rode an elevator to the top, thanks to Rosberg's second retirement of the season. Consider the script flipped.

    So what exactly does this mean for the final five races of the season? Let's have a look at that, and a couple of other things to take away from the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix.

    Rosberg DNF Turns Title Race On Its Head

    Some will say he was due, his detractors will say it was karma, the more cynical might say it was intentional, but with Nico Rosberg's retirement at the hands of an electrical failure, we essentially have a five-race duel for the 2014 driver's championship.

    It's an unfortunate reality of motorsport that sometimes drivers will fail to finish a race despite doing nothing wrong, but from a neutral perspective this is perhaps the best possible result for the season's stretch-run. Something that often gets thrown around in discussions about F1 is the idea of parity -- whether through multiple teams fighting for wins, or both drivers at a given team being provided the same opportunities, F1 is supposedly at its best when no one team or individual is allowed to dominate. It's why in recent memory, a season like 2012 stands out, or someone like Sebastian Vettel (rightly or wrongly) has so many detractors. It's been a topic constantly up for discussion throughout 2014 -- as evidenced by the ridiculous rumours of favouritism towards one Mercedes driver or the other are constantly bandied about, and yet after 14 races, we actually do have honest-to-goodness parity.

    On the surface this may not seem true, because even outside his one extra DNF, Hamilton has undoubtedly had more mechanical misfortune, so it's possible to argue his lead should be greater. I say we're going to get the champion we deserve, and the reason is simple -- both drivers have five races with the same mission in hand: go out and drive your butt off. There's no use trying to defend points, or play it safe. Both drivers have the same pressures on them, and the same tools with which to respond. It's not often that can be said, but this year that is most certainly the case, and that's what makes this so special. There's no doubt that right now, it's a great time to be an F1 fan.

    And yes, we could still see more mechanical misfortune thrown either Hamilton or Rosberg's way, but a writer can dream, can't he?

    498756423_MT_9194_BEA47014A6BCD220CF4F05AC9F88D917.jpg Is the Radio Ban More Trouble Than It's Worth?

    One race into the FIA's move to institute new restrictions on team radio, the F1 paddock was only left with more questions than answers.

    While the teams managed to get the more constrictive rule changes postponed until 2015, we saw firsthand the difficulty race stewards will have determining what is acceptable coaching with the electrical issues that beset Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo. Under the 2015 rules both drivers would be severely handicapped managing such issues as teams would be unable to give any advice relating to the performance of the car. It's already been raised as a point of concern by Red Bull's Christian Horner and Mercedes' Toto Wolff, and I tend to agree. Considering not just the increased risk this represents of retirements, but of damaging important components, such a rule change seems far from beneficial.

    There's no doubt that a move to ban drivers from receiving instructions on exactly how to drive their car is a good thing, but after Sunday's race, it seems trying to police such coaching might be more trouble than it's worth. It's understandable that the FIA would attempt to keep the onus on drivers in relation to their lap times, but can it be argued that the perceived boost in fan appreciation for such a move will outweigh the need to keep cars on track? Furthermore, Charlie Whiting himself admitted policing these new rules will be difficult, as teams can always attempt to employ coded messages. The one thing we can be sure to see more of is allegations like the one McLaren boss Eric Boullier levelled against Red Bull post-race in relation to Daniel Ricciardo -- and I fail to see how more confusion and finger pointing appeals to anyone.
    _X0W5106.jpg Youngsters Struggle as Heat Takes Its Toll

    Sometimes it's easy to forget just how hard it can be to be an F1 driver. It's not just one of the most glamourous jobs in sport, but in the world in general. Hell, it seems they all date a model and have a house in Monaco, plus drivers aren't athletes anyway, right? Wrong.

    Sunday's race gave us a timely reminder that competing at the pinnacle of motorsport goes beyond just driving the cars themselves -- the drivers have to be at the peak of their physical ability also, because races like Singapore are just a battle to stay conscious.

    During the course of a race around Marina Bay drivers can lose anywhere from three to four kilos in fluid -- an amount they can scarcely hope to make up by drinking during the race, but at least that can usually provide some respite. Unfortunately for Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat, neither was afforded that luxury on Sunday, and yet they somehow both still finished. Kvyat was quoted on team radio saying he was 'dying' without a drink, while Magnussen had to raise his arm out of the cockpit in an attempt to get some air into his race suit -- and the Dane wasn't just a bit hot under the collar, he was literally burning as he took his McLaren home in 10th.

    So besides having superb coordination, reflexes and a level of fitness that makes most triathletes jealous, there's occasions like Sunday where F1 drivers have to endure their own cockpit turning into a furnace, all while going round a track at 300+ kph for nearly two hours straight. It kind of takes a bit of the shine off it, don't you think?

    So what's your forecast for the title fight? Are the radio rules fair game? Got a story to share about feats of driver endurance? Sound off below.
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  2. Kurupt CDN

    Kurupt CDN
    DirtT Tuned Motorsports Premium

    Great read!
    As Mercedes has taken the position of red bull this season and have dominated I'd like to see hamilton come back and win the . Should be an interesting last 5 races :)
    As for the policing of communication it's gonna be tough as teams will most likely start using code or create a new language lol
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Philip Heck

    Philip Heck

    Which they are not allowed to do. ;)
  4. Maximiliano



    "I don't care about the cars, I'm too sexy for F1" - Christian Horner
    • Haha Haha x 3
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  5. Martin Maaskant

    Martin Maaskant

    I think it is only unfair if one team can use the radio for that kind of messages and another can't. I think F1 shoot itself in the foot by allowing more and more driver aids and more and more complex power packs. So you have to manage the car, and the only one who can do that is the driver because engineers aren't allowed to do that. I think this rule is really difficult to enforce.

    About the championship. I hope it is a fight until the last race. And I really don't care who wins it, but whoever wins it deserves it.
  6. Bakkster


    Here's my issue with it. The reason they dropped the ban on team orders was because they couldn't police coded messages. So either they need to ban team orders along with coded messages, or the radio ban will be equally pointless as the first team orders ban.
  7. Zem Zver

    Zem Zver

    A bit of justice at last. After the streak of misfortunes Hamilton had been made to suffer, dare I say by the overtly racist german team, karma has at last caught up to the germans. The mercedes patronage of their countrymen has been glaringly obvious and disgusting to say the least.

    Clearly Hamilton is superior in every way, and now through some divine justice of sorts, even the germans can not stop him. The knight in black shall be victorious. For the queen.

    I should imagine there are muffled sound of table banging and shouts of 'NEIN NEIN NEIN' coming from behind the closed doors of Toto Wolff's office.
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  8. Philip Heck

    Philip Heck

    I can only hope that you are joking... o.o
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Sk3ptik0n


    Here is the code for next year:

    Fernando is faster than you: Throttle position 1

    Or maybe they can lean one of those African click languages. Or morse code.
    • Haha Haha x 1