I was looking through the LAT Photographic website the other day for some nice Red Bull action when I came upon these two images, courtesy of Alastair Staley. They were both taken during the race in India at the Turn 8/9 complex – a right-left change of direction of the type that in recent years has become a Seb Vettel signature section. I had to look twice, I have to confess, when I noted Seb’s head position. I rang Alastair to confirm that both photos were indeed taken during the race (ie, that Seb wasn’t on a formation lap) and that they were both travelling at racing speed (ie, that they weren’t behind a Safety Car). As you can see, the two photos captured almost exactly the same piece of road (which was fortunate, because Alastair then moved slightly, rendering further comparisons slightly more difficult). Whilst Mark is still looking at “the corner”, and looks to be carrying a little more load, Seb is already lining up for T9. His car also appears to be “flatter” and carrying slightly less lateral load. As we chatted, Alastair allowed that he had often noticed Seb’s very different mid-corner head position but that it was difficult to capture this. We’re talking a millisecond here, a moment in time. I dare say that other great drivers have in the past “been able to get their corners over sooner”; it’s only now that we are in the digital age that the law of averages is coming into play. I don’t profess to have all the answers – and nor does Rob Wilson, who openly admits that he is learning something new (about the business of driving) every day. I could think of no-one better than Rob, though, to analyse these two photos. As well as winning all over the world in a variety of motor racing disciplines, Rob has coached, or coaches, many of today’s stars, including Giedo van der Garde, with whom we talk in Part 3 of this week’s show, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado, Kevin Magnussen and – right back in his Formula Renault days – Kimi Raikkonen.
I think you will enjoy his detailed observations (below) in Part 1 of The Racer’s Edge, Episode 36.