Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 23nd January 2014

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F1 getting self-conscious (09:00)

McLaren ready to go (09:00)

Lotus brain drain continues (09:00)

Bar Exam Reminder (09:00)

Rumour: Martini Williams-Mercedes? (09:00)

Williams bares it all (09:25)

2014 Car design and launches (11:39)

FIA meeting in Geneva (12:17)

McLaren renew Santander deal

Dare you look? More FIA changes to the Sporting/Technical regulations

F1 getting self-conscious

When I had a jolly good rant yesterday about the Miss Quasimodo contest that is currently going on in F1, one reader accused us of ‘engaging in FUD’. For those unfamiliar with the term: FUD describes a foul tactic in economic competition called “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt”. The most prominent example of such tactics is Microsoft’s crusade against the opensource movement about a decade ago. The gory details can be read in the Halloween Documents.

Needless to say, such an accusation was as well received as a slap in the face with a wet fish. First of all FUD is targeted at destruction and chasing off customers, which implies that we have the goal of discrediting Formula 1 with the goal of chasing people away from it. Since we don’t have a habit of waking up in the morning thinking that we are an onion, such an idea is pretty silly as we would basically just chase off our own readers. Seriously, not even a fat hippo is that thick.

The most important thing to remember about the Fat Hippo Rant’s: They are not to be taken literally. To a degree they are meant for comic relief while still trying to convey a message. We have enough cringe-worthy and downright sad stuff to deal with that a little light-hearted content isn’t the worst idea. I may not always get it right, as English is not my native language, but there’re always helpful souls, who point out if I make a dog’s dinner of some phrase or other, so even the obese river dweller is learning new tricks along the way. But that’s not even my main point.

The reason why we keep talking and writing about it so frequently is, because the world of F1 has been preparing us for it with all the subtlety of a clown at a funeral for over half a year. That is quite unprecedented. Even the hideous stepped noses of 2012 didn’t leak out until a few weeks before the season. For someone like Adrian Newey to come out and say ‘our car will be a minger’ at summer time is quite telling. It goes against everything he used to do. By saying that, he basically sent a big honking memo to all other designers, saying “if your car makes you hurl, you’re on the right track”. That is coming from a man, who is super secretive about his solutions.

The people in F1 aren’t stupid, not even the toad from Suffolk, he merely doesn’t give a flying expletive. They know that the shift towards pay-TV, gimmicks like DRS and things like the much hated double-point idea have stretched the patience and equanimity of the viewers past the breaking point. They all know that the fugly noses are the aerodynamically best solution, but nobody really wants it. Everybody hopes and waits that someone else comes up and says “Come on folks, let’s not go there”.

A first step in that direction has been made by the lately quite vocal Cyril Abiteboul of Caterham, who urges his fellow competitors to stop the impeding train wreck. “I think F1 is still show business and it should still be attractive to people. Kids should be dreaming when they see an F1 car – I don’t know about the dream or nightmare you will be having when you look at those cars. It does remind me of the ‘Alien’ film with it coming out the mouth.”

Further indication of people being utterly uncomfortable with what they are about to do to people’s eyeballs can be found on the surprise picture that Force India sprang on us yesterday. The car is extremely carefully tilted at an angle to hide the ugly bits. The right front tyre hides the ugly drop-off of the chassis and the front-wing endplate covers up the willy that’s hanging out of the trousers.

Let’s hope that the teams have mercy on us and come to a late agreement not to go there…


McLaren ready to go

When McLaren failed a FIA crash test last week, a lot of people came out of the woodwork and Nostradamus’ed that the Woking gang would be a no-show at Jerez, but the opposite seems to be true as the team fired up the Mercedes engine in the back of their car for the first time. I’d say that sounds quite ready to go.


Lotus brain drain continues

It appears that Red Bull and Lotus are becoming the unofficial employment agency of F1, with other teams poaching staff by the bucket load. In the case of Lotus, one can only imagine that it isn’t a major difficulty to lure people away from a team that has major problems performing simple tasks, like paying wages.

Ciaron Pilbeam, former race engineer of Mark Webber at Red Bull is setting up shop at Woking after only one year with the Enstone squad. He is supposed to take up the role of Chief Race Engineer.

Like Mercedes, McLaren seems to poach whoever doesn’t run fast enough. They already signed Peter Podromou, Chief Aerodynamicist at Red Bull and his 2IC Dan Fellows, Ferrari aerodynamicist Matteo Sansavini and Sauber designer Matt Morris.


Bar Exam Reminder

In about 9 hours time, the new Bar Exam is coming out, so please make sure you’ve finished last week’s edition. We are currently finalizing the leaderboard widget, which will appear on the right side of the page.


Rumour: Martini Williams-Mercedes?

Brazilian website diariomotorsport.com.br posted a short news snippet in Portuguese, claiming that drinks company Martini, which gave us one of the most iconic liveries in history on the Lancia Delta Integrale Rallye Cars of the late 80s, might return to the big stage as Williams F1’s title sponsor this year. So far, only a Hungarian, some brazilian websites and a reddit user have picked up on the story, so one should take the info with a grain of salt, but the sheer thought of a Martini livery in F1 is truly mouthwatering prospect, even if the car has it’s genital hanging out.

An exceedingly yummy fictional livery by Matteo Scala

Rendering by Martini Paddock Racing. Original design is by Monil Santilal and it was repainted by Maikel de Boer


Williams bares it all

A Williams pre-launch rendering has just appeared on Twitter. It’s probably the best-looking of all renderings so far, in the same way like Syphillis is the best of sexually transmitted deseases. The solid blue unpainted car would hint at a major surprise yet to come in terms of the paint job. Could the Martini rumours be true?

“I’m confident that we’ll be closer to the front aerodynamically than we were last year,” says technical boss Pat Symonds. “Our ambition for the year ahead is to have a strong 2014 season.” The team have set a target to challenge for the F1 titles in 2016.

Notice the new Williams branding, reminds me of a certain hotel chain.



2014 Car design and launches

I arrive in chambers and I see the docket is filled with matters surrounding the 2014 F1 cars. The courtroom is buzzing awaiting the first of the ‘reveals’ from the McLaren team tomorrow at high noon GMT.

As we know this year brings a seismic change in regulations. The powertrains are – to be honest – a mystery to most, and even those building the respective drive units have absolutely no idea how theirs will compare to the others.

Renault have been briefing on matters of the heart of an F1 car this week, and head of track operations, Remi Taffin explains the main difficulty for the French powertrain as he sees it. “First of all it will be how to dissipate the heat. The turbo and the electrical motors generate huge temperatures but the internal components will be running very hot too. Of course making everything work together – without interference – is a major challenge. The electromagnetic forces will be very high so managing all the systems simultaneously will be somewhat stressful.”

For those who believe they are F1 purists, celebrations will be breaking out due to the fact that we are talking about proper automotive engineering challenges this year. However, do be not deceived, over the next few days the aerodynamicists will take centre stage before the cars roll out on track on Tuesday.

TJ13 has been musing over the regulations and in collaboration with a well known F1 tech analyst believe we may see a nose solution, something like this

2014 nose

The thinking man’s designer may well increase the severity of the curve of the nose from where it joins the chassis and the aerodynamic device often found on the front of a ships keel may be smaller (for the sake of simplicity – we shall call this ‘the bollock’).

Another solution would be to run the curve of the nose over the bollock, thus creating the much discussed ‘hooked nose’ effect.

All will be revealed over the next 5 days, however TJ13 is confident some whiz out there will have realised this solution with the ‘bollock’ offers some excellent wake management properties, particularly with the new front wing regulations.


FIA meeting in Geneva

We reported a couple of weeks ago, Luca Montezemolo’s proposed symposium in Maranello for the teams this month was hijacked by the FIA who called them to gather yesterday in Geneva.

TJ13 stated then, the double points matter was a red lined by Ecclestone who in fact is pressing for this to be extended to the final three races of 2014. The BBC cite an anonymous leading team stating prior to the meeting, “most participants would agree to ditch it”, adding, “ that Ecclestone and the FIA had “completely misjudged the predictable negative response from the public”.

It appears there was little discussion over this, as the teams focused on the issue of costs in F1.

The idea of a budget cap has been gaining ground over recent weeks, and it appears the teams have agreed on a way forward – whilst the actual number of the upper spend limit is to be discussed further at a meeting of the team’s directors of finance.

The FIA World Council will next Thursday will rubber stamp the decisions made yesterday.

It appears el Presidente had some red lines of his own, as expectations were low of any agreement on cost reduction emanating from the Geneva meeting. The implementation of spending limits will initially be set at a high figure, but tapering down each year to a much smaller amount then the top teams are spending at present.

The FIA support Ecclestone over double points, and Ecclestone weighs in support on matters of cost. That’s how the new rules of the game appear to be operating.

This could be another Richter 9 moment. Is common sense breaking out to ensure the barriers to entry are not too high for new teams and the competition is improved for those outside the big 4?

Strange times indeed….


McLaren renew Santander deal

After weeks of debating the origins of the universe and humanistic world views, the news is coming thick and fast at present – and testing is still 5 days away.

There has been concern about the ability of McLaren to be competitive in 2014 since the team confirmed that the unveiling of the MP4-29 chassis will not be accompanied by any new major backing as had been expected.

Yet Jonathan Neale insisted the teams finances are in good order due to the numerous long term sponsors which include, Hugo Boss, Tag Heuer and Hilton. Further, the McLaren group will be investing profits into the F1 team as shareholders will forgo their dividends this year.

Neale claimed the 2014 budget is the biggest in the history of the team and today the team announce an extension of their relationship with Santander.

“In such a competitive international sponsorship market, the fact that such a prestigious company has chosen to partner with McLaren Mercedes is a reflection of the strength of our brand,” said Ekrem Sami, managing director of McLaren Marketing.

Jenson is set to continue to visit UK TV watches screens during prime time viewing, as the adverts for the Spanish owned Bank continue to be rolled out.


Dare you look? More FIA changes to the Sporting/Technical regulations

An extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) took place today (23 January) in Geneva, Switzerland. The following decisions were taken:

Changes to the 2014 Sporting Regulations, which are subject to the rubber stamp of the F1 commission and teams are:-

1)    The Stewards may now impose a five second time penalty which can be taken before work is carried out on the car in a pit stop

2)    Team personnel must also wear helmets during qualifying, as well as the race

3)    Drivers may not stop on the slowing down lap to save fuel for sampling and subsequent analysis; this will not be considered justifiable reason for stopping

4)    For 2014 only, each team will be allowed six curfew ‘jokers’, previously there were two permitted. This is to allow more flexibility for working on the new engines and cars


There are also amendments to the 2014 Technical Regulations, subject to agreement of the F1 Commission and teams:

1)    The weight of the car, without fuel, must not be less than 691kg at all times during the Event. The weight limit has increased by 1kg to take into account the difference in weight between the tyres in 2013 and 2014

Looking forward, the FIA are legislating for changes in the 2015 Sporting Regulations, again subject to agreement of the F1 Commission:

1)    To be considered as a constructor, teams will now not need to design and manufacture suspension and brake ducts

And here are the 2015 amendments to the 2015 Technical Regulations, also subject to agreement of the F1 Commission:

1)    The car minimum weight has been increased by 10kg, to 701kg, for 2015

2)    All tyre heating devices will be prohibited in 2015

3)    For safety reasons, the front part of the chassis will not be able to climb too steeply rearward of the front of the chassis.

The FIA’s plan to introduce cost control regulations was also advanced with teams agreeing unanimously to prepare draft regulations to go before the World Motor Sport Council in June.

No mention was made of any change to the rule to award double points for the final race of the season.

Chew on that TJ13 courtroom commentators


75 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 23nd January 2014

  1. Someone (the editor of the Erotic Review/similar whilst writing in car magazine, I think) said something along the lines of “if a red F1 Ferrari was the ultimate penis extension, a MPV (like a Ford Galaxy) was a womb on wheels)”.

    Little did I know that one the first part would literally be he case!

  2. The Bollock!

    Nose-coffee, Nuf said!

    They should turn the ‘appendages’ on the nose of the car into a re-fueling wand similar to fighter jets and the like. Then we can have ‘in race refueling’ not only a funny sight when you see Fernando trying to line up with a Shell tanker on hanger straight, but also it becomes far less embarrassing for us die-hard F1 fans to explain to the casual viewer why the nose of the car is such a wierd shape rather than saying ‘coz that’s just the way it is’.

    • … do not mock ‘the bollock’ it will be on the track in 2014… whether it is the long term way to go – we shall have to wait and see 💡

        • “Your Honour was not taken by rolling re-fueling then?”

          … I am minded to appreciate the spectacle it would bring – similar to the notion of lining the outside of the corners with razor blades for cars straying from the prescribed limits of the track….

          • Razor blades ? Aerodynamically honed saw blades to slice the car up more like. Oh hang I think I ate too much cheese and watched too many Loony tunes….

          • That was kind of the idea. Though I think Mad Max Mosley would go for an automatic black flag for drivers going off the track on purpose, thus meaning no drivers would finish a race.

      • I’m dreading the prospect of someone combining Bob’s knob and a couple of his honour’s bollocks. WTFF…

      • Yes, but should we be concerned were it added to the Williams rendering about the fact that it would then be a case of “blue bollocks”?

        • Actually, if they painted the offending area black (to try to disguise it), that Williams is not too bad…

    • “They should turn the ‘appendages’ on the nose of the car into a re-fueling wand similar to fighter jets and the like” < – – – hahahaha! Finally something to laugh about w/ these things.


  3. Hey DS, the Martini livery was also used by the Porsche Endurance cars in the 70’s and was found on the Brabhams of that era too. Then the Lancia association began with the LC1 endurance racer too.
    If true, the Williams will be stunning to look at. Irrespective of it’s dangly bits 😉

  4. I have a question for any techy than can answer.

    On the new power train we have the MGU-H now that to me says it changes heat to power, but it just turns the spin of the turbo into electrical energy when the energy is not required for compressing the intake charge. Therefore it’s still only turning a rotary motion through a ‘dinamo’ (for simplicity’s sake) to generate electricity, so it doesn’t turn heat into energy at all.

    Have I got this right?

    I’ve been pondering it for a while and would be very greatful if someone could either tell me I got it spot on or explain where i have gone wrong.

    Also, would it not be possible for the heat removed by the intercooler to be converted into even more energy as this is going to be lost if the heat is just dissipated by air flow over the intercooler, I mean, the heat in the charge air is only there because compressing it causes it to heat up, this has taken energy to do, so surely it would be possible to recapture that energy and convert it into electical energy and have an even greater efficiency to the engine.

    Is this even possible?

    If anyone can stop my head spinning with these questions it would be very cool indeed.

    • I think you’re mistaking the MGU-H for the MGH-K, but I’m not sure.
      Here’s a google translate from an interesting Italian article, don’t have the time now to translate the whole thing for you, sorry.
      If there are some parts that are not clear because of Gtranslate, let me know, I’ll translate those parts for you 🙂


      • I understand how the kinetic energy is recovered but it’s the energy recover from the turbo that confuses me. As the turbo spins and there is generator unit on it surely that is still collecting kinetic energy, where does the recovery of heat come in?

      • Thanks Enzo, I read it through but it doesn’t explain how the heat energy is collected, it says the MGU-H can generate as well as spun the turbo up for anti-lag. This says to me it is still rotary motion turning a generator which I can’t see the difference from the way kinetic energy is recovered, I would expect that if you wanted to recover energy from heat there would not be moving parts as moving items are charged with kinetic energy (the spin of turbo/compressor) so it is still the same physics principal as the MGU-K. I understand that it is still recovering from the exhaust plume and this is comprised of super heated gasses but the system is collecting power from the high speed gas turning a generator fixed between the turbo and compressor, which brings me back to the fact that fast moving gas is still kinetially charged, so I still don’t understand the heat side apart from the exhaust gas is hot.


          • I found an explanation for the MGU-H on the Renault website, it is simply a generator driven by the shaft between the turbine and compressor, so as the “hot” exhaust gasses spin the turbo it turns the shaft and generates energy. This is a big let down for me as I really thought there was some proper clever physics involved, instead the MGU-H is a mini version of the bigger MGU-K (KERS) system. I feel a little robbed with regards the revolutionary heat recovery as that is just semantics, to say that because the exhaust is hot the heat is being turned into recovered energy. I could blow down the exhaust manifold and generate energy (granted it wouldn’t me much, But so long as the turbo turns it generates)

            This is a true disappointment to me.

            I though the engine manufacturers were being super clever……

        • As far as I understand it, you have it right, CV. I think calling it a heat recovery device is a pretty poor description. If you consider that the exhaust gases downstream of the turbine (it’s both a turbocharger and a supercharger) will be cooler, at a lower pressure and flowing more slowly than they were upstream then you can say heat was recovered as well as gas pressure and gas kinetic energy. I think calling it a heat recovery device is an over-simplification driven by the marketing guys needing a quick, easy term to throw about for the casual fan. That the term is not entirely accurate is unfortunate, but not surprising.
          As an explanation, that’s the best I’ve got. Happy to be told otherwise…

          • As I posted above I feel a little robbed by this fact. I thought that the boffins had really be set a task, hence why I could not understand why, if heat was recoverable to the energy store, the heat from the intercooler was not being recovered, plus all this talk of extra cooling etc, why cool it, recover it! If the power train produces more heat, then surely that us more energy lost.

            I know that is a very literal way of looking at it, but I feel the PR guys have worked on the fact that ‘bullshit baffles brains’.

            It’s just a turbo/super charge engine with KERS……
            Not that special at all.
            Feeling deflated after this discovery, I guess ignorance is bliss afterall!

          • @ Clear View. The whole point of an internal combustion engine is that it is a heat recovery unit. Heat from the burning fuel is recovered as instantaneous torque by the piston and converted to rotary motion by the crankshaft. Heat from the exhaust gases drives the turbocharger, converting the heat to, again, rotary motion of the compressor. Heat from the exhaust gases is converted to electricity by the motor/generator unit driven by the turbo. Everything that goes on in an engine to generate power is heat recovery/conversion. Don’t know what else you would expect; that’s basic physics.

          • I thought it was the expansion of the gases (which does generate heat because it’s all connected) which technically drives the piston. Happy to be corrected if wrong, and not trying to nit pick, just sharpen my understanding.

            I think I get what CV was trying to say, that the MGU H would convert waste heat directly into energy that could be recycled, kind of like converting solar into heat into electricity, just starting with the heat phase.

            But I also get what you are saying. 🙂

          • I understand how you feel Clear View because I had the same feeling when I discovered that about the MGU-H a year ago. But nowadays I’m less peeved because actually the turbo also works because of the hot exhaust gasses. When you think about it the turbine part of a turbo wouldn’t be as efficient if cold air was blowing through the turbine (very simply put: cold air == air with little energy). Off course there is such a thing such as air pressure that makes things a bit more difficult in reality compared to this simplistic theoretical rule but it is still valid. Just think of it as air that is energized/pressurised by the combustion process. So it is heat that is generated by the energy in the fuel and the pressurized airflow from the combustion chambers, through the exhaust outlets, makes the turbo (and the electric motor) spin.

            Nevertheless it would have been cool if like the Voyager spacecraft there was some physical process that converts heat to electrical energy.

          • Thanks to all for your replies, of course I understand how an IC engine works and how turbo charging works, I supose I read too much into the heat recovery of the MGU-H, I thought it was going to be revolutionary with regards recovering energy. I love the tech side of things and have tried to read up all I can on the new power trsins. It’s only the heat recovery that I feel has maybe been misrepresented by the media coverage as the ‘ins and outs’ of them has been really hyped up almost as a new black art.

            I really wanted to make sure I was understanding it correctly and see how others had read into the information we have all been provided with over the last year or so,

            I genuinely believed that a system had been devised that would take any and all excess heat and cleverly convert it directly to energy that the car can utilize.

            Thanks again guys for helping me understand this aspect of the new units better.

            This is why I rate TJ1e

          • @ Robin –

            ” When you think about it the turbine part of a turbo wouldn’t be as efficient if cold air was blowing through the turbine (very simply put: cold air == air with little energy). ”

            Not true.

            It’s to do with the velocity of the air – not it’s temperature that’s important.

            Cold air at the same speed as the exhaust gasses would probably produce more power as it’s denser and therefore has greater mass.

            @ CV – re MGU-H / ERS-H.

            Like you I first wondered about it – then after reading the tech spec – realised it was actually another ERS-K

            But I guess the FIA had to differentiate it from the engine ERS-K
            and so as per usual came up with MGU-H / ERS-H rubbish ….

            Which of course has nothing to do with converting heat directly into electrical energy.

            FIA – these are the guys that write the regulations – you don’t expect them to know what they’re talking about ..

            Do you ?

          • @ Matt. The gas wants to expand (has pressure) because of the heat, not the other way around. As the gas expands and drives the piston it cools. That’s the heat extraction.

          • Thx Steve, appreciate the clarification. All I really remember is PVT all go together with a constant, LOL. HS chem was a long time ago

        • The ERS-H system is mounted to the Turbo charger, the energy recovered via the waste heat can either be fed into the engine via the ERS-K’s MGU or through yet another MGU to spin up the Turbo charger to reduce lag. Once the Kinetic energy or heat energy is converted into electrical energy it can be redirected (via batteries) to where it’s needed through the different Motor Generator Units.

  5. Ok, end of working day for the hippo. I’ll now go home and try out, how many beers it takes until that thing is pretty.

    • I know we do tongue in cheek stuff here regularly, but I sense no body is taking the ‘bollock’ nosed car seriously.

      You will see it very soon 😡

      • I’m expecting some wacky designs on the front noses. The BBC has dubbed the Williams solution the Anteater.

      • Maybe it’s because “Norris Bonehead of Dunstable” surely wouldn’t know anything about this 🙂 .

      • Well, this is just a reflection of how male-dominated F1 is.. or should this be the FIA… Cue the jokes when a female drives the anteater/bollock car well..

        • And given the current weight rules.. how long is it before we hear ‘knob-jockeys’? Next we just need a current driver to come out, to add to the lone list of Beuttler. How many F1 drivers have there been in total…

      • tj13.

        Oh I am taking you seriously. Especially if that signature is real. But the front wing looks wrong. On the left side, it doesn’t seem to take into consideration the position of the endplate in the middle of the front tyre for 2014. The RH side(drawing) looks more interesting.

      • Oh, absolutely taking you seriously, but you can’t expect us to ignore the possibility of grade school humor at the same time.

        Which, FYI here in the states we have a saying “blue balls” don’t know if you have a similar in UK, but putting a pair of those on the blue Williams, well, all I can do is plead weak moral fiber and ask for forgiveness 😉

      • I for once take it very serious. After seeing that ghastly shlong on the Williams, I won’t rule out that anything :s

  6. “For safety reasons, the front part of the chassis will not be able to climb too steeply rearward of the front of the chassis”.
    What the hell is “too steeply”? If they don’t provide a number it’s free to interpretation and the rule can’t be enforced.

    • And if they don’t like the finger-noses (or bollock-noses) that we’re going to see, wouldn’t some kind of restriction around the “rate of narrowing” (both vertically and horizontally) or something be a better idea?

  7. No tyre warmers, that’s gonna make things interesting on out laps during the race. Combine that with the massive torque and the 1st and possibly 2nd lap after a new set of boots have been fitted will certainly add to the show. I can an accident in the pit tunnel at Abu dahbi (i think) with cold tyres and tombs of power. I like this idea a lot.

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