F1 2019 (Not the game) Spoiler-All


Stretch, squash.

I can't say I'm a fan of any of these new cars yet. The Mercedes W08 is the least worst so far, with its much subtler shark fin, but these angled front wings and low spoilers aren't doing it for me (I didn't like the high spoilers either, but there must be something in between). The WRC killed it with their new 2017 cars which look, and I believe this is the technical term, absolutely bonkers. After two rounds of watching those cars, seeing F1's new crop is a bit of an anticlimax.

Well, as long as they can push and overtake and scream. Or at least two out of three.

The Mercedes is my least favorite so far. I guess because it's livery looks just like last years. I'm sure they probably put the most money into getting a very technical livery, but in pictures it's hard to tell the difference.

Edit: Point proven


None of the liveries revealed yet take any risks. The Sauber is the biggest departure from the past, but I'm not sure I like the whole livery - all the white is a bit odd, but I do love the blue & gold combo. The Force India is actually the most disappointing to me - that car looks more like previous liveries than anyone else. At least the Merc has some new lines.


*Record Scratch*


They made a McLaren-orange purse out of a 2017 ear.

I think Ferrari made decent use of the shark fin:


How much do preseason test reflect the race reason? Seeing Ferrari having times quicker than Mercedes is exciting, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

These tests are useless for determining racing performance, essentially. Aside from all the weird sh*t they do during testing (most of the time, their goal isn't "how fast can we go"), we almost never have data on how much fuel they're carrying. Those fast laps could have been set with very low fuel.

Plus, there is so much sandbagging that happens in testing with different parts and different engine levels.

Force India got a new sponsor and new livery.


I love it. Force India is getting less and less Indian, but at least it's one fewer silver liveries, and the FI cars will really stand out now and what is turning out to be one of the most colourful grids. Hope the money is good for them too, I really want Perez to have the best chance he can.

After two practices it looks like it's going to be more of the same.

So, change is in the air! Vettel and Ferrari win. Hope this signals a great fight between Hamilton and Vettel this season.

Yup, great race and promising start. Hamilton couldn't get away from Vettel, Bottas drove really well, some complaining about impossible overtaking but Perez and Stroll certainly found a way. The new colourful grid looks great in motion too, very well appreciated as a spectator. I just feel sorry for Ricciardo's whole weekend, and too bad Stroll couldn't finish his first GP. And McLaren...

Last night was the first time I ever stayed up for a race. It was well worth it for Toto's reaction alone.


Here's hoping for a season full of Hamilton frustrations.

Right now it looks like the season could be very exciting. My hope is that not only Ferrari continues to see success but also that Red Bull or any other team start threatening for wins. I'll still be happy if Mercedes and Ferrari are the only strong teams as long as they trade top position all season.

On a different note, I agree with Gravey, the new color schemes for the grid is nice. The grid was suffering from a few of the teams matching a bit too closely. Comments from the grid about the new Toro Rosso's colors made me think that it might be as visually stunning as this.
I got to see it in person in the early 2000s and that paint was absolutely incredible.

So, somehow, thanks to YouTube and Codemasters, I've kind of been getting into F1 recently. Not a ton, I'm still learning a bunch of the terminology (I still have no idea what a tank slapper, an undercut or what a "switchback move" is), but I must admit, something about the technology on hand and the amazing ways it works I find very intriguing. Here's what I've learned/observed thus far, as a grossly casual observer:

1.) Fernando Alonso is stuck in some kind of dark comedy, or else he committed some serious sins in a past life and is paying for them now. Has a Honda car finished a race yet this year?

2.) Corners have names?

3.) The Baku circuit blows, other than that one chicane where every car nearly crashes.

4.) Apparently, everyone hates Lewis Hamilton (I personally find him to be no more of a dick than Vettel, who I find rather dickish as well).

5.) Red Bull is allowed to have TWO teams?

6.) I have no idea how practice or qualifying works. Why is everyone on the track at once?

7.) Do the rules and regulations change every year? How the hell does anyone keep up?

8.) The hell is a "virtual" safety car? I googled it and it still doesn't make sense.

Fernando has finished a race or two. He actually came in 6th in Hungary.

Yes, and some straights too.

The last race in Baku proved you can have an interesting race on a somewhat boring circuit.

Everyone is sick of seeing Lewis and that damned propeller.

Torro Rosso is a "Jr" team. It's being proposed that every team cna have a Jr team. I don't like that idea.

Practice is the team trying to get the right setup for each track. There are three stints in quali. Q1 is about 20 minutes long. In that time you have to set your best lap possible. Yes, in traffic. The top 15 move onto Q2. In Q2 you have 15 minutes. The top ten move on to Q3. Ten minutes.

The rules a regulation change from track to track. Since the rules are interpreted by stewards and they are different every race. It'll take you a season to understand the rules, but once you get it keeping up isn't a problem. Understanding why may be though. Download the podcast Shift F1. They did a rules episode at the beginning of the season.

Under a Virtual Safety car everyone has to slow down to the same speed, and not make any gains. They are not allowed to get closer to the person in front or pull away from the person behind. Imagine a safety car is in front of each driver.

Welcome! I was pretty much where you are at last year. So, I'll attempt to let you in on what I've been able to glean from watching and keeping in touch with some local GWJ'ers while watching some of these races (spoilering for length):


1. Hoo boy. Yeah, Alonso has basically had the worst luck this season, which is even more depressing because he's a really great racer. I believe he's finished three races total this year. Out of eleven total.

2. Corners do have names. I do not know why nor have I been able to know which names are which. I mean, the basic idea is that the labels are easier to understand that just simply turn numbers? I don't know--someone else can answer that.

3. Baku is actually Azerbaijan, which was the race that took place on June 25th. The most recent race was Belgium (which is also known as Spa). Just wanted to clarify in case you were talking about the race this past weekend.

4. Everyone hates Lewis Hamilton aside from Sky Sports. They looooove him. You've nailed the reason why most people hate him though--he's a bit of an arrogant dick. I'm also no fan of Vettel, either. His radio chatter is entertaining, but he tends to just complain about everyone else not moving out of the way for him

5. Red Bull uses Toro Rosso as kind of a minor league team. Essentially if any team has enough money, they can buy/create whatever they want. No rules against it, and as far as the Constructor (Team) points go, Toro Rosso is a separate team that just happens to be owned by Red Bull.

6. Qualifying is split into three sections:

  • Q1: All cars have 18 minutes to put in their fastest lap. After that time, the five slowest cars are done for the day and make up the back of the grid.
  • Q2: Remaining cars have 15 minutes and all times reset--meaning whoever was fastest in Q1 is not automatically fastest in Q2. Once the 15 minutes are up, the top 10 move on.
  • Q3: Top 10 have 12 minutes and that determines starting order

7. Rules and regulations can change during the season. You catch up by getting hit with a penalty and knowing to not do that thing again

8. "Virtual" safety car is just a way to get the cars to slow down and not overtake after a more minor racing incident that doesn't require everyone to follow behind an actual car

Naturally, this is by no means a complete rundown, but it's just what I've figured out from my brief foray into F1 racing.

A more precise explanation of a Virtual Safety Car:

The VSC was implemented in another series first - I forget which - but the concept is used as a way to get the entire field to slow down rapidly. This is either because they need to clear something but don't want to deploy an actual safety car, so as to keep the race slowed down for as little time as possible, or to get everyone slowed down quickly in prep for an actual safety car (when circumstances demand that - sometimes they just deploy the regular safety car without deploying a VSC first).

The VSC works as follows:

When it is "deployed," Race Control sends a message to all drivers on their displays in the middle of the steering controls (photograph of F1 steering controls) that the Virtual Safety Car has been deployed (just a big flashing "VSC" graphic on the screen). The driver's engineer will also communicate this.

In Formula 1, each track is divided into three sectors. Sectors serve a number of purposes, but specifically with a VSC, sectors are the means by which a driver is measured as obeying the VSC. When under VSC, drivers must traverse each sector no faster than a specific time. For example, under race conditions, it may take 30 seconds to traverse Sector 1, but under VSC, a driver must not traverse Sector 1 any quicker than one minute.

Because of the technical limitations and demands of an F1 car, it is assumed that a driver will maintain a steady speed to keep engine cooling, brake temp, and tire temp at optimum, but technically, a driver could go race pace through most of a sector, and then stop and wait at the sector line until the required amount of time has passed before crossing, and still be obeying VSC rules. That's not very healthy for the car, but it is possible.

VSC ending is communicated to the driver in the same way as it being deployed - they're notified on their screens, and the engineers tell them. Or at least they should. Some VSC restarts have been interesting because they caught drivers by surprise, and they were not moving at speed as soon as they could. Once a VSC ends, that's it - unlike a regular safety car, which has a specific on-track line that indicates when drivers can resume race pace, VSC can end anywhere, at any time.

VSC rules can also be different for each racing series. For example in F2, drivers cannot pit under VSC, whereas F1 has no such restriction.

The GP2 series (renamed to Formula 2 as of this year) had a very interesting experience with VSC last year in Monaco. It's spoilered below because it's a long story.


In this particular race, Sergey Sirotkin was on pole, and Norman Nato was in P2.

Nato had a great start and took the lead from Sirotkin, who later crashed out. Crashing out became a bit of a theme for GP2 Monaco, as there were six retirements, and quite a few VSCs throughout the course of the race. The big stink came about, however because of three factors. One - driver Artem Markelov qualified P15, but unlike anyone else, had started on Soft tires (the tire compounds are the same as F1, but sizes differ). Like the F1 Monaco race last year, once they were dialed in, the Softs were a really good tire for the track. So good, that in a 42-lap race, they might have lasted the entire time, and by lap 38, were proving faster than other tire compounds. The other two factors were two VSCs near the very end of the race.

This gets a bit complicated. First, GP2 rules state that all drivers must complete one mandatory pit stop in the feature race. Since Markelov's tires had lasted so long, he had not yet pit, but he was required to, even if there was no need. As a result, with everyone else having already pit at least once, he became the de-facto race leader.

Another GP2 rule is that you cannot pit under VSC. I forget the reasoning, but something happened the prior season that precipitated that rule. So, things got interesting when Markelov was out front by 15 seconds (less time than the Monaco pit delta, since GP2 pit crews can only have one man per tire, unlike F1, so their pits are markedly slower), when the first VSC hit. After this VSC was lifted, Markelov had planned to pit, but before he could, another VSC hit, and this is where the race changed.

Prior to the second VSC, Markelov would have pitted, the pit delta would have put him behind a good bit, since there were some close battles in the top 4, and Nato would have won outright. But the second VSC hit at just the right moment. At the time it began, Markelov was in a section of the track with heavy cornering, and was much slower, whereas Nato was on a faster portion of the track, and had to brake heavily to meet the required VSC sector times. To add insult to injury, when the VSC lifted, their positions were reversed, and Markelov was just exiting the final turn before the tunnel, whereas Nato was just entering heavy cornering. As a result, Markelov pulled more than 20 seconds ahead of Nato, in addition to the 15 he had prior to the VSCs, more than enough to cover the pit delta. Markelov then pitted and came out in front of Nato, who stayed very close behind him while he warmed up his tires (GP2 does not have tire blankets). Nato ultimately could not find a way to pass him. And that's how the VSC made someone who qualified in P15 a race winner.

Prederick wrote:

2.) Corners have names?

It's more interesting than "turn one". Some corners have names that describe them (Monza's Curve Grande is self-explanatory; Suzuka's 130R is so named because it has a radius of 130m), some are named after people or companies (Senna S, Porsche curves), and many are named for nearby towns and landmarks (Circuit de la Sarthe's Mulsanne is named for the nearby village; Spa's Eau Rouge corner is near the river that goes through the circuit). Some of Magny-Cours' corners are named after other tracks.

Here's an article about Silverstone's corners: What’s in a name? The history behind Silverstone’s iconic corners

Newer circuits' corners don't always have names, typically because they're nouveau riche cookie-cutters plunked down in the middle of deserts, with zero legacy or even a nearby feature for naming. So they should fittingly have anonymous corners.


Well, Lewis said he needed a miracle.

I wonder how mad Vettel is with Kimi after that start. It might cost him the championship. I'm not blaming anyone but it was very aggressive when teammate is fighting for championship.

Distantsound wrote:

I wonder how mad Vettel is with Kimi after that start. It might cost him the championship. I'm not blaming anyone but it was very aggressive when teammate is fighting for championship.

It was aggressive the way VET came across VER. VER had a bad start and RAI took advantage. Stewards don't agree, but I put all the blame on VET for this one.

Gravey wrote:

It was aggressive the way VET came across VER. VER had a bad start and RAI took advantage. Stewards don't agree, but I put all the blame on VET for this one.

If you remove Kimi from the equiation, that's valid move to prepare for the first. Vettel assumed he got a better start than Max or enough that he could force Max behind him. Vettel wanted Max to be on the outside for turn 1 since it is a chicane and very tough to pass, but Kimi's perfect start made Vettel's move impossible. I would love to know if there was any radio communication at the start information the drivers of what is happening. I think there was plenty of time if Vettel's spotter let me know it's 3 wide and he is on the outside to prevent what happen.

I was super looking forward to this race, especially after qualis, where it sure looked like Ferrari's better performance in the curves was going to be dominant over Mercedes' straight line speed. Anything to keep goddamn Hamilton off the podium again.

Then the whole thing went to hell in the first thirty seconds. What was going to be a potentially interesting race turned into the most boring two hours in a while (and that's saying something after the snoozefest at Monza). It was super telling that by the end of the race, the video feed just kept focused on Hamilton doing his final laps, because there was literally nothing worth paying attention to. Now I know how the rest of the country feels about the Yankees and Patriots. I just want to watch something besides Hamilton winning.

@Prederick - I'm pretty new as well, I only started watching for Singapore last year (so it's my one year anniversary!). Something I found super helpful is the podcast Shift+F1. It's done by Drew Scanlon (formerly of Giant Bomb) and Danny O'Dwyer. They do a pre-race episode for each GP talking about news, the track, what to watch for, etc, and then do a post-race recap. It's a nice mix because Drew is pretty new to F1 himself, while Danny's been watching his whole life, but both are more casual fans, so they don't get too deep into race strategy and such. They also did a really good primer episode last season talking about the basics that's worth listening too. Fair warning, they kind of get muddled in the new rules for qualifying, since it was brand new that season.

Ready for the last race in Malaysia. Will Vettel catch up?

I'm going to go ahead and write off Ferrari. That way I'm not as bummed by all the Petronas on the podium.

I'm so incredibly bored with Hamilton winning. I was really excited to see Vettel looking like he was going to be a contender for the championship, but that all fell apart and now it looks like it's going to be another "oh, Hamilton's winning again" end to the season.

On the one hand, yeah, he's obviously a fantastic driver, and Mercedes has got things working in a way that other teams either can't match, or can't afford to match, and kudos for them. But it's super boring to watch.

We need some blue shells up in here.

Have we considered the possibility that, at some point between qualifying and the actual race in Singapore, Vettel pissed off some traditional Singaporean folk gods?