• Matthieu Piekarski

#13 Canada GP Review

Thank god there was a beaver to save the show during this Canadian GP, because in all honesty apart from that this was the most uneventful and boring race of the whole 2015 season.

Massa and Vettel gave us numerous overtaking actions, as both started from the back of the grid but that wasn’t enough to wake us up. Perhaps after the legendary 2011 GP (with Button winning it from the back of the grid) we have developped a very high expectations for an animated race in Montreal. Unfortunately, this weekend you were better off having a good time partying in the streets of Montreal than watching the Grand Prix.

My main concern and frustration with F1 at the moment, which is shared by almost everyone during the Sunday race (especially on Twitter) and as well by many F1 pundits, on the subject issued from two stupid words that have no place in F1: “Lift & Coast”.

For those not familiar with the definition of Lift & Coast, it is a way to save fuel by lifting off the throttle earlier in the heavy braking zones and then braking. In qualifications F1 Drivers on a qualifying lap will brake generally 80m before the corner. During a GP where the cars have 100kg of fuel on board and tracks such as in Montreal where consumption of fuel is high, when required to save fuel: drivers will lift 200m before the corner and brake 80m before the corner.

This fuel saving strategy has no place in Formula 1, this is a sport where the human body and the car are constantly on the limit both physically and mechanically. Lift and coast does not set the adrenaline flowing when spectators hear this. Constructors spent millions to develop an engine supposedly capable of consuming less, while at the same time delivering the same or higher performance. Spectators don’t pay to see drivers drive in an eco-friendly way, might as well replace all F1 cars then by Toyota Prius’. In our daily commute from home to work, we drive more or less with taking in consideration to save fuel directly or indirectly (our cars are now equipped with stop&go engine, hybrid, etc.), in F1 we want to see something different, something that we don’t see or experience in our daily routine lives. We want to see the pinnacle of performance, power and courage.

This reduces drastically the show within Formula 1, Nico Rosberg couldn’t attack once Lewis Hamilton because of this issue, it made the race boring. Fans deserve a proper racing show, filled with actions, furthermore, they need to be fascinated with the sport and the sport must be convincing to novice watchers. We must adress this situation as soon as possible, it cannot continue like this.

Bernie Ecclestone gave the best response to this lift & coast situation : “We got Formula E that doesn’t use fuel, so that will save the world, so we can get back to Show Business.”

As predicted this weekend in my Canada Preview post: Mercedes AMG finished with a 1-2 win and ironically it also confirms that when Nico’s wife is not around, Lewis is untouchable.

Let’s divert our attention towards Ferrari. Coming to the weekend, we had high hopes that their engine upgrades would challenge Mercedes AMG. Sadly such hopes disappeared rapidly after only one lap within the race. Furthermore, in my view, Canada was a turning point in Kimi’s future at Ferrari.I have four reasons why he won’t be at Ferrari next year:

Firstly; the new big boss of Ferrari (Sergio Marchionne) was present at the race, Canada is very special to him as he grew up here.

Secondly; on Sunday, Vettel started at the back of the grid due to both a 5 grid penalty and mechanical failure in Q1 of Qualifications. All hopes for at least a podium finish and also to convince Ferrari that he can be a good back-up to Seb relied therefore on Kimi Raikkonen.

Thirdly; Kimi repeated the same mistake he did last year at exactly the same corner. Insiders in the paddock, were not surprised to see how Arrivabene was furious at the end of the race at the post-media debriefing.

Last but not least; Since winning the championship in 2007, Kimi performance wise is on the decline. The numbers don’t speak in his favor.

For me, this will be his last season in F1, he simply cannot deliver when we expect him to, especially in such critical times. Yes, Ferrari main weakness lies in its inability to heat up the tyres quickly in comparison to Mercedes. But in the end, Vettel, delivered a stunning race with the same car specification as Kimi and even caught up to him at the end of the race. I am curious to know if you, readers agree with me or not?

McLaren is another team that is leaving Canada with their tails between their legs, they are 20 km/h speed wise down on Mercedes AMG (that’s a 75 horse power deficit). Alonso scored his third consecutive DNF (Did Not Finish) and showed the first signs of frustration with an epic team radio that you can YouTube “Alonso I don’t want to”.

Button also failed to finish the GP after a mechanical failure. When you look at the race standings, McLaren were the worst team of the day. After their performance this weekend, I have made a promise to restrain myself from any comments in regards to McLaren until the Hungarian GP. This will mark the half mark of the 2015 season, where by then they promised numerous upgrades that will make the difference. Hope for them and Honda that they will finally deliver.

Sauber as expected was a catastrophic weekend, unfortunately they were never close to battling for the points on Sunday. The damage limitations was unsuccessfull this weekend. With Nasr making the first rookie mistake of his season in Free Practice 3, it was reported that he caused for more than $80,000 of car damage, a cost that Sauber would have gladly avoided.

Lotus, Williams and Force India with “The Hulk” gathered well deserved points, which I am convince will continue into Austria, as the track characteristics are very similar, speed wise with Canada.

To conclude, I will give the 2015 Canadian Grand Prix a grade of 4out of 10. The reason for this grade are straight forward, after such an uneventful race, bored us spectators and we really hope that the show will come back in the coming next Grand Prix’s.

A big thank you for taking the time in reading my post and also for the supporting messages, I appreciate it greatly. I shall see you all in 10 days’ time on Red Bull territory for the Austrian Grand Prix. Gonna be a very tough one for Red Bull, I can already foreshadow it!

ps: Those who need motorsport action to be in a good mood, don’t forget to tune in for the 24h du Mans this Saturday at 15:00 GMT +2. As F1 fans, we wish naturally best of luck to Nico Hulkenberg!

Don’t forget to follow me on my Twitter: @m_piekarski

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