Thursday 28 November 2013

Further thoughts on the Brazilian Grand Prix

Bull or Troll?
Prior to Sunday's race, running at Interlagos was pretty much a wash-out, the surface being to varying degrees wet throughout. And Pirelli had more cause than most to regret this, as it'd specially brought some 2014 spec slick tyres for the teams to try out. The Italian company - that seems to have offended the Goddess Fortune at some point in the recent past - thus was deprived of running and data on its developing product, and we know by now that it rather craves that sort of thing.

Pirelli - not having much luck right now
Photo: Octane Photography
Well, almost totally deprived of data anyway. As one team did do a lap on the new tyres (albeit a slow one) even in the streaming conditions, equipped with data gathering appendages and then telling its driver in a rather sinister tone that the required data had been got. Yes, this was Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.

A few watching on interpreted this as just the latest evidence of Red Bull being a step ahead; leaving no stone unturned in the purist of an advantage. Ross Brawn - one ordinarily you have to get up early in the morning to catch out - didn't think so however: 'We always work on the principle that bad information is worse than no information' said Brawn subsequently. 'With all due to respect, Red Bull may well have found something out that we don’t anticipate but we couldn't understand what you could learn in those conditions, even though it looked like they were trying to take profiles of the tyres and so on, it was difficult to see how it could be useful...'

Was Red Bull trolling?
Photo: Octane Photography
And on the face of it he's right: at that reduced speed and in those conditions what exactly Red Bull could have learned, aerodynamically or otherwise, isn't clear. But the thought occurred to me that if it wasn't the case that Red Bull knew something that everyone else didn't, perhaps it was instead a deliberate - and rather cheeky - attempt to knock its rivals out of kilter. Or to 'troll' them, to use the modern parlance.

If so, perhaps it wouldn't be the first time. It put me in mind of a story I once heard, I think about Colin Chapman, though I warn you that it could be apocryphal.

Lotus boss/designer Chapman in his pomp was known for his rare capacity for innovation (an Adrian Newey of his day, if you will). One day, during an F1 race weekend, he was seen emerging from the Lotus pit carrying an object concealed under a towel.

This got the rest of the teams into a frenzy. What on earth was Chapman hiding from them? What great new stride that no one else had thought of had he made this time?

What was actually under the towel? A kettle...

It's nice to finish Further Thoughts for this Brazil race and for the season on a lighter note.

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