Have you noticed the lack of punishments for drivers who make mistakes during the race in 2013? Most cases are now investigated after the race and dealt with that way. It has come about after secret meetings between Jean Todt of the FIA, Charlie Whiting and all the F1 drivers.
They have all decided that every small touch or small incident in the race, should be investigated afterwards. This is for two reasons, one is so it does not upset the race itself, it does not ruin the outcome of perhaps a great battle on track and the other reason is to promote extra overtaking. Drivers were beginning to feel that if they get punished each time they touch a car, there is no longer the need to take the risk, they may as well sit back and wait for either the car in front to make an error, or collect the points they are currently earning from their position, instead of risking a drive through penalty for any calamitous manoeuvre.
The race organisers and stewards have implemented the new provisions in the first four races consistently. There have been few drive-through penalties and the grid displacements that we saw at Bahrain were due to aggressive driving. Especially in the case of Esteban Gutierrez who completely destroyed Adrian Sutil’s race. So the main punishments are now being handed down from the FIA because they are preventable collisions.
In Bahrain we saw an incident at Turn 2 with Webber and Rosberg, to which only a warning was handed down from the FIA to Webber and also between Sergio Perez and Alonso at the exit of Turn 4. The FIA took the view that Perez was in front and inclined to take the racing line, it was Fernando’s fault for trying to overtake around the outside of the corner. Sky F1’s Martin Brundle also agreed, “He [Alonso] went on the racing line. Why should he make room for Alonso on the left side when Fernando tried it anyway, he has to stop to take into account that it is bumpy on the sand next to the track.”
The FIA also took a similar approach towards Perez with his incident with Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn complaining that Perez was moving in the braking zone, but the FIA took the view that he was ahead and therefore could take whichever line he suited.
It now means that drivers will be able to fight and go into combat with much more risk in 2013.
The weather for this weekends race is looking mostly dry and sunny.
With no overnighgt rain anticipated, conditions for Free Practice 3 and Qualifying on Saturday should remain dry but cloudy with some spots of sun. The temperature will be a moderately warm 22-25 degrees centigrade.
Race day conditions on Sunday should reamin unaltered with perhaps more sun and higher temperatures of up to 25 degrees centigrade. Although there is a risk of some very small showers to the south of Shanghai, it should not affect the race circuit come the Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez has been struggling for pace in Shanghai. His first two practice sessions were blighted by incidents, in Practice 1 he ran straight on at the pit lane entry and broke his front wing, whilst in Free Practice 2 he found himself sliding off backwards around the fast Turn 7 Turn 8 complex, flat-spotting his tyres and lightly touching the barrier with the right rear of his Mclaren.
The young Mexican conceded that the two Friday sessions were not perfect preparation for Sundays race and that his incidents have left him lacking in confidence and feeling uneasy “Today was a difficult day for me, but an important one for the team. Still, I’m sure we will improve tomorrow.”
Perez is pining his hopes on changing the cars balance before Free Practice 3 on Saturday, “I’ll effectively be starting from zero because I’ll adopt a completely new set-up.”
Gary Paffett had begun work back in the Mclaren simulator in Woking straight after the sessions in China, to find a different set up which may help Sergio get back up to speed and on the right track for the rest of the weekend. The pair even had a conversation on Twitter to complement each others work: