F1 Driver Simulator’s, Formula E’s 1st team, PIrelli’s organic tyres, RB9 launch date and Britney, FanVision withdraws from F1, Have F1 hosting fee’s peaked?

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Red Bull: will launch their RB9 on the 3rd of February at their base in Milton Keynes. Sebastian Vettel is calling in a promise made by Horner that he could have ‘anything’ if he won his 3rd consecutive title in 2012 – well each of his car’s are christened with a girl’s name so he has insisted Christian Horner allows US pop idol Britney Spears to whisk the sheet from the car amidst paper fireworks and with ‘Baby one more time’ blasting through giant rock band speakers ( 😉 ) – can anyone actually think of anything worse?

FanVision withdraw from F1: I asked for it – this is the worst F1 news I’ve heard for quite some time. Utterly disastrous. FanVision I count as an essential for any of the F1 GP’s I attend each year. It was formally called Kangaroo TV and it gives track side fans the clarity of viewing a race that they would get at home.

Some think its expensive, but at 50 Euro’s for Mrs Judge and I (we put a headphone splitter in) to have all the practice sessions, qualifying, the support races and the main event – we think adding 5-6% to the total cost of us visiting a  race other than Silverstone is well worth it.

F1Fanataic are reporting that FanVision will not be covering F1 this year. A spokesman for the company told them “We have, for some months, been trying to find the basis of an agreement between FanVision and FOM in order to continue providing the service in F1 in 2013. Unfortunately it is now clear that we are not going to be able to agree terms with FOM and very reluctantly we have to confirm that we won’t be in F1 in 2013. It’s a big blow for us.” (F1Fanatic)

It really is time for Mr. E to depart.

Still as I heard said today, “Fans at races are more of a hinderance than anything else to FOM – so long as TV land is happy – so are FOM”. Another wit in twittershpere reported “BREAKING NEWS. Fans fail to reach agreement with FOM. There will be no fans in F1 this year”.

Here is a demo if you’ve never seen this before.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/piL1HfKdU0I?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

UPDATE: Seen an interesting cryptic conversation on twitter since I published. One comment and a link – ‘platform,business plan and marketing all ready to go” (The F1 Fan Centre). Problem is even if Bernie has something like this ready – which I’d be surprised at – the 3G is woeful at circuits.

Maybe Tata can provide some Mega local WIFI/3G coverage, otherwise it won’t work – and this has probably never been done anywhere yet on a scale required to stream live video on thousands of devices simultaneously in one location.

The there would also need to be charging points everywhere as 90 mins of streaming would wipe my IPhone out completely. Ok – so here’s the plan. Everyone needs to buy a second mobile device from FOM at the circuit to watch the race. Mmm.

Roll up, races going for a song: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided not to approve the  deal to bring the return of F1 to Istanbul in 2013 reports the local Hurriyet daily news. There have been protracted negotiations ongoing since the F1 season gala finale in early December.

Race promoters had offered around $6m and were relying on the Turkish government to put up $13m to reach agreement with the F1 supremo. Turkey joined the F1 calendar in 2005 but was dropped in 2012 following a disagreement with Ecclestone over the funding to stage the race.

Rightly or wrongly less than 10m euro’s has prevented the F1 world putting on a 20th race for only the second year ever. This fee is ridiculously low compared to the $25m paid by Silverstone and the $30-50m paid by a number of the Asian race promoters. Yet there are few who stand up to Ecclestone and prime minister Erdogan is now in a very select club indeed.

You could suggest the F1 vast hosting fee model that forces the circuits to scrabble around all year for other events to make a small profit has finally peaked – and that may be so. But Russia, New Jersey and probably Mexico are preparing to enter the F1 calendar so this could be just a blip for the time being.

Monaco pays nothing and its a shame that FOM and Mr. E couldn’t do a one-off deal to make race number 20 happen.

Read more: http://www.indiavision.com/news/article/sports/385918/istanbuls-return-to-f1-denied/#ixzz2Haa4nHO9

Formula E: I’m quite looking forward to this – not as competition to F1, but I’m fascinated by the concept. Here’s some dull information first. The series is licensed to a Hong Kong based consortium whose CEO is  Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag. I wonder what he’s done in the past? Oh yes that’s it he was chairman of QPR Premier League football club when a certain Mr. Ecclestone had ownership.

“Urban mobility and sustainability are a priority for our Championship,” said Agag. “And Formula E wants to become a showcase for these advances through an entertaining and all-inclusive spectacle.”

Anyway there are to be 10 races in 10 cities around the world with the series to begin in 2014. Two cities have signed up to host events, Rome and Rio de Janeiro and it is hoped there will be 20 drivers and 40 cars between them. I’m guessing there’s no time for a recharge and the drivers will have to change cars during the race then? – Like the idea of that too.

The cars will accelerate from 0-100km/h in under three seconds and will have a top speed of 220km/h.

The series will launch with cars supplied to Formula E, by Frederic Vasseur’s Spark Technology with power trains from McLaren. But the intention is to have teams designing and building their own cars and drive-trains so that the competition will drive development of the technology. Formula E will provide the platform for innovation in this emerging area of motorsports technology.

Anyway, yesterday the first team to sign up for the series declared their hand. Drayson Racing, will be run by British businessman and former Science Minister Paul Drayson who commented, We aim to be one of the front runners from the start, leveraging the knowhow we’ve built up over the past two years working on electric drivetrains and developing our 200 mph electric Le Mans prototype,” said Drayson – which is not hard at the moment as only they are ‘running’.

“We believe that FIA Formula E has very significant commercial potential, it will attract new fans and new sponsors to motorsport and is on track to become the world’s leading environmentally sustainable global sporting event.”

I think its a big ask to get this off the ground for 2014. 8 more cities and surely no less than 9 more teams – regardless of the ambitious target of 20 teams – have yet to be found and the clock is ticking.

Pirelli rice tyres: We appear to have a green theme going on today. Pirelli are apparently pushing the boundaries of tyre science as hard as the teams do in automotive design. Managing how the small patch of rubber interacts with the asphalt is as significant to an F1 cars performance as KERS, DRS, sequential gearboxes and just about any engineering innovation you can think of.

Tyre pressure affects fuel consumption as does the effect of ‘rolling resistance’, which is caused, in part, by a vehicle’s weight repeatedly squashing its tyres. You can see from the fantastic super slow motion camera’s during an F1 weekend, how the tyres bulge at the point of contact with the road when subjected to the G-forces the car creates going around a turn.

This process converts kinetic energy into heat which is wasted and this is called Hysteresis loss. It can be reduced by mixing a tyre’s rubber with powdered material that has strong chemical bonds in it. In the past ‘carbon black’ and silica have been used to cut rolling resistance by around 30% – saving 5-7% in fuel consumption.

However, the processing of the sand into silica is expensive yet Pirelli have discovered the natural resource that has delivered this conversion for them in abundance near to the number of grains of sand on the shores of the seas. Rice husk.

“Rice husks were once waste. These days they have some value because they are used as fuel in small-scale electricity generators. But from Pirelli’s point of view, that is a good thing, because what the firm is interested in is the phytoliths left behind in the ash—and until now the ash itself really was waste. The firm has set up a factory in Meleiro, a town in a rice-growing area of southern Brazil, to extract phytoliths and put them in tyres. The ash comes from rice husks burned to help power the factory.

A tonne of rice produces around 200kg of husks and those, in turn, yield 40kg of silica. According to Daniele Lorenzetti, who is in charge of the project, by 2015 the factory will be providing nearly a third of the silica Pirelli needs for the 400,000 tonnes of tyres it makes in Brazil.

The technology could spread fast, especially in other rice-growing areas. For Brazilians that would have a delicious irony. The Amazon rainforest was the original home of rubber trees, but Brazil’s rubber industry was devastated when seeds smuggled to Asia were used to set up rival plantations. By taking an Asian crop and using it to make better tyres, they will be getting their own back.” (The Economist – full article)

F1 driver simulator’s: Kimi Raikkonen has reiterated to Swiss publication Speed Week his nonplussed attitude toward F1 simulator technology, claiming he “learns nothing” at the computerised wheel. Lotus installed their new simulator before the inaugural GP in Austin, but Kimi refused to use it. “I learn a new track quickly, without a simulator,” commented Raikkonen.

Grosjean however, lapped the virtual circuit many times yet was still outpaced by his Finnish team mate whose first look at the track was in Friday Practice 1 that weekend. Maybe this justifies Kimi’s attitude or maybe if he did use the simulator he would have ben even quicker adapting to the new layout in Austin.

Michael Schumacher is known to also have an aversion to these modern driver trainer devices claiming simulators give the 7 times world champion motion sickness and felt claustrophobic.

Having been an avid racing gamer for many years (not so much now) I just couldn’t get my head around this until I got to try one in 2012. Okay, it was the Shell Motorsport simulator which doesn’t have some of the whistles and bells of the teams’ latest iterations. It did have DRS and tyre warming was factored into the driving feel.

I had to have the pedals fitted to my feet and I was assured the braking experience was pretty realistic. You sit in a cockpit like an F1 car and there is a wrap around screen of 180 degrees where the circuit is displayed, and when in position you can see nothing else.

I was ready to go, I got coached around the first lap and had 2 laps to show why F1’s greatest driver has not been discovered yet. I pulled out of the virtual pit and dutifully spent a lap warming my tyres – you could really feel the difference in handling quite markedly as the tyres warmed up. I hit the start finish line flat out and made the first hairpin La Source pretty tidily.

Next was the run down the hill to the ‘Webber kink’ before climbing up to Eau Rouge. I took the famous corner only in 5th 🙂 under the advice of my coach and onto the Kemmel straight I flew. When you watch Les Coombes on TV it appears fairly innocuous but I’ll tell you it was the most tricky corner for me on the lap – I misjudged the braking point and spun.

Anyway I recovered quite neatly and completed the lap – ultimately 2nd out of 10 of us – beaten by someone 20 years younger than me who’d been studying the simulator all afternoon (that’s my excuse). The point was not to talk you all through a lap of Spa – Grandmothers and eggs – but what happened next.

Pretty pleased with myself I jumped out and then I had no idea what hit me. I stumbled completely losing my balance and staggered towards a rather expensive giant plasma screen. Fortunately a rather attractive Shell promotions lady caught me and saved my blushes. I had to sit down – and made some Bravado comment about laces on racing boots.

After about a minute my balance returned but then it hit me. The mother of all splitting headaches – I cannot tell you how bad it was and it lasted for several hours.

So, my ‘get over it Michael you pussy’ attitude was revolutionised in a moment – and Kimi if you’ve been on a night out, under no circumstances should you try this mate.

On this day in F1, Jan 10th

1971 Italian driver Ignazio Giunti died competing in the Buenos Aires 1000km race. Unsighted by another car, Giunti’s Ferrari crashed into the back of the Matra of Jean-Piere Beltoise while he was trying push the car along the track to the pits – this was later banned. Giunti’s vehicle was thrown into the air, hitting the track 200 yards ahead and bursting into flames. Team-mate Arturo Merzario sprinted 500 yards from the pits and, just as he would do at the Nürburgring in 1976, pulled the driver from the blazing inferno. However, Giunti was already dead although some claimed he died shortly after being dragged from his car. Remarkably, Beltoise escaped unharmed as the impact was on one side of his stricken vehicle while he was pushing at the other.


19 responses to “F1 Driver Simulator’s, Formula E’s 1st team, PIrelli’s organic tyres, RB9 launch date and Britney, FanVision withdraws from F1, Have F1 hosting fee’s peaked?

    • I was overexcited by that double-downshift double-clutch!

      Your experience in the Shell F1 simulator sounds like it was good fun, until the after-effects kicked in.

      Maybe Kimi would have no problem, he is one of, if not the gnarliest party animal amongst the drivers. I’m sure he’s used to stumbling around with a headache.

      • lol. I had consumed a few ‘Amstel’ the night before – maybe that was part of the problem.

        The manual clutch puts into context the current driver’s compaints about all the buttons they have to press on the steering wheel.

    • My winter beater (live in canada and its kind of a requirement to owning a nice car) has no syncro for first. I’ve been able to double clutch it a handful of times but I couldn’t imagine doing it dropping two gears while in a race situation. I’ve got nothing but respect for the older generation of formula one drivers.

  1. Are those fanvision things those that ted, lee etc off the telly use to watch the race when they’re not interviewing people. If not, they lok very similar.

    • Not sure. But would make sense as only FanVision has a localised transmission covering the whole location. Tata will evolve what they do but I’m not sure how ready they are to handle big 3G or mass WIFI demand yet.

      The Tata offering was supposed to be more about ‘in the ground’ cabling back to ‘Com’s Central’ to reduce demand on satellite. I’ve heard nothing about them supplying on location services such as this.

      This is bad news for corporate hospitality who give their guests one of these each because a race for the ‘uneducated’ corporate guest is impossible to follow trackside. They have 1000’s of these units out each race weekend.

      Jokes aside FOM don’t care about the fans at the circuit – whether the venue is empty or full it affects them not one jot.

      • What the people use at the BBC are iPads. Not sure about the Sky team but guessing it’s something similar.

        After having FanVision at Melbourne 2011 and sitting on the pit straight I realise how much it helped. Silverstone this year with a radio was a far less impressive experience.

        I doubt Tata would do any of the same multi-race deals that FanVision did as well. Surely a portable handheld TV would be a solution for Silverstone, when you can buy them relatively cheap and the race is on the BBC live?

        Judge, do you really think people will stop going to GPs because of this though?

  2. “Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag. I wonder what he’s done in the past? Oh yes that’s it he was chairman of QPR Premier League football club when a certain Mr. Ecclestone had ownership.”………isn’t it more pertinent that he is the owner of the Addax GP2 team?

    • Welcome BTB and spot on. Even before that Agag, and Flavio years ago jointly held the Spanish F1 TV rights. He got involved in GP2 in 2007 buying the Addax team from Adrian Campos. That team has supplied F1 with Romain Grosjean, Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi.

      Look forward to hearing from you again…

  3. “And Formula E wants to become a showcase for these advances through an entertaining and all-inclusive spectacle.”

    Yeaahhhhh… because the existing Electric Car Grand Prix weren’t good enough..?
    I’d love to be more positive about FE – I really would – but this is a formula dreamed up by marketers and sold by PR executives. That they have already announced that the tech rules will be stagnant for the opening couple of seasons makes me question how committed they are to genuine development processes.

    Changing cars at halfway? Why bother focussing on the area of development that really needs works – battery life and cleaner materials – when you can just have an enforced pitstop for the folks at home to be suitably enticed.

    Lastly, the whole single-seater bodykit is a total nonsense and completely unnecessary. It’s just a shame that , this is the path is being followed in order to give the impression of technological advancement, especially when the machines for electric car racing already exist and have raced.

    • Eloqently put and some fair comment too. I’m just a racing junkie and seeing cars hurtling around 10 city centres in the world will be great – I hope.

      I suspect 2014 is looking most ambitious at present though. You’ll be used to the new V6’s by then Leigh and ready for a more sedate way of life 🙂

      • Agree completely – I’m a racing nut too, but am not convinced what the FIA have drawn up is the answer.
        As an aside, these cars are not “silent” either – quiet, but no silent. Their motors tend to sound like a blender going full whack, albeit softer in tone and lower pitch. The screeching sound of tyres can get irritating very quickly though.

        One thing left out of the post. They want the FE championship to start in 2014, but there are to be “a few” one-off exhibition races this year, starting with Rio.

  4. Kangaroo TV or fan vision was a brilliant innovation that certainly made it even more entertaining for the fans. My only complaint was that in the hot Aussie sun the screen was a bit hard to see, but the different feeds and information you could access was brilliant. Tv cannot even begin to cover what these devices do. Well certainly not in Australia anyway, where our coverage is interrupted by ads for hair loss replacement every 5 minutes 🙁

  5. ‘laces on racing boots’…
    I bet you waited years to use a line like that… 🙂

    A few years back I ‘tested’ a tricycle-rickshaw in Thailand and ‘raced’ an elderly local guy for about forty minutes before we both pulled over so as not to cause the other to lose face. I got off this odd machine, took one step, and my ankles collapsed under me… and I didn’t have laces in my sandals to blame… And neither had I been drinking…!
    But I did have two pretty ladies come to my aid…

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