Post-race evaluations – Hungarian GP

Evals Hungary GP top 6

eval Hungary GP restEvals Hungary GP bott 4

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Convenient 107% rule

What an application of the 107% rule by the GP2 stewards!   While both Perera and Grosjean exceeded DiGrassi’s time by 107%, only the DPR driver will be excluded from today’s feature race.

My comments:

  • If Perera did something wrong (he didn’t), he should be penalized with a reasonable racing penalty (25 seconds, 10 grid positions, etc)
  • If what he did was soooo bad, why is he allowed to race in Sunday’s sprint race at all?  If you recall, when Teixeira did not qualify for Monaco, he was out of both races
  • Most surprisingly, why is Grosjean allowed to race at all?

I’m sorry, but this sort of decision is completely unacceptable, especially because there is no reason whatsoever to impose it.   I wonder if the same would have happened had this “incident” involved a paying driver – such as Kobayashi (Toyota’s cash) or Hulkenberg (Dekra, Willi Weber’s cash)…. you decide.

You can say whatever you want, but Romain is definitely very, very nervous these last few races.  Let’s hope he settles down in his Renault F1 seat.

Hungarian turning point

5 races to go in the 2009 GP2 season…

I had predicted Hungary would be the beginning of the end for at least one team. Though internal finances are still out of my reach, I don’t think I’m too far off.

The fact that Trident is in terrible financial difficulties is no secret. The Rigon-González-Rigon magical chairs is evidence of that.  These switches would be more common for this weekend had the expected Grosjean-Piquet substitution taken place.

Apparently, Piquet’s contract had an equality clause that could have put Renault in hot water had they put Romain in the second F1 car.   So for Hungary he will get the same equipment as Alonso, underperform as usual, and then we’ll see Grosjean in Renault at Valencia in late August.

So Hungary will mark a key point in the season, with teams aiming for very different objectives:

  • Barwa and ART fighting for the 2 championships
  • iSport trying to find its way with 2 drivers seriously disappointing this season
  • Trident, Durango and Super Nova aiming to survive the season
  • The others, riding out the season – looking to 2010 as a better year

Managers vs. Parents

It’s curious how during the GP2 television coverage we only see the driver’s managers and never their parents.

For example, this past weekend at the German GP we were bombarded with Willi Weber images during Hulkenberg’s exhibition (somewhat excessive, in my opinion).

In other races, we have seen various managers-agents at the wall or in the pits… most notably Oksana (Petrov’s manager), Nicolas Todt, Adrián Fernández (Sergio Pérez), even some ex-drivers (Piquet, Hamilton)… and Flavio, of course. But we have never seen a “dad”.

In F1 we are completely used to seeing the faces of Anthony Hamilton, Luiz Antonio Massa and John Button – apart from the occasional wife/girlfriend.

Just a curiosity, since I would think it makes more sense the other way around!

GP2 drivers are younger and should have family around, while F1 drivers are made men, but they bring their dads along to every race…. or at least that’s how we see it from the TV set.

Romain’s replacement

The rumor mill is working at full speed this past week, with 2 major changes in F1 for Hungary.

The first (practically confirmed by all media) is Jaime Alguersuari replacing Bourdais at Scuderia Toro Rosso. Seems like an intelligent move from Franz Tost. STR has nothing to lose, Jaime cannot test and Bourdais is definitely deserving to be set aside. Jaime will finally get some real F1 experience and I would not be surprised if he alternates with Brandon Hartley throughout the rest of the season. The lack of test time has this result.

The same vision seems to be illuminating Flavio Briatore’s eyes… with Piquet languishing in the back of the field and not adding any points to the team totals. Enter Grosjean, currently with a strong season in GP2 and who cannot do much worse than Nelsinho. As in STR, it’s better to sit Piquet if he’s not continuing in 2010 and give Grosjean a chance. He has been groomed for this and now is ready. The rest of the 2009 season will be his test sessions and he will be a breath of fresh air at Renault.

So, a highly coveted seat opens up in GP2, with the championship leader Barwa Addax team. With this, I am completely discarding that Romain will do double-duty in GP2 and F1… that would not make sense, right…. or would it?

Assuming the seat is paid for by Flavio and RDD, who will sit in it… or will they get a refund from Agag for unused mileage? If RDD is consistent and believes in their program, they have 3 options: Charles Pic, Adam Khan or Marco Sorensen.

My choice would be Pic. Preseason favorite in WSR, Charles has had a terrible start to the season (by his standards), though he has won the last race at Silverstone. The overall mediocrity of the WSR grid is saving his season. He is ready for GP2, much more than Khan who has an erratic bio or Sorensen who is still a bit young in his development.

Should Agag prefer to go shopping in the market, he needs to guarantee a competitive driver – not just a paying one – since he is aiming for the team title. Drivers who could fit that job are Adam Carroll, James Jakes, Giorgio Pantano or even the talented Davide Rigon…. Let’s wait and see.

Post-race evaluations – German GP

Evals German GP top 6

eval German GP restEvals German GP bott 4

…and Rigon is out

GP2 is not fair.   Several posts ago I wrote about Davide Rigon’s sponsors and how his entourage had fought to keep him in the Trident seat.  It seems that our wishes that those backers were for the remainder of the season have proven to be unfouded, and Rigon will be replaced with Venezuelan driver Rodolfo Gonzalez at the German GP this weekend.

GP2 is not fair, but it is a business.  Maurizio Salvadori of Trident now knows this well, after throwing away a strong start in the category.  Rodolfo Gonzalez is putting up the necessary minimum cash that Rigon cannot come up with any more, and Trident needs it.

Trident is now caught right where it should never have been: between a very competitive driver that has put Trident in the top 10 and another that has floated with little success through British F3, F3 Euroseries, GP2 Asia and now the F3000 Euroseries.  Problem is, and I have written about it many, many times, Trident is not the only team caught in this vicious cycle…

GP2 teams are starting to touch bottom….. let’s just hope some of the promised financial support kicks it soon.