The #F1 Bar Exam: 4 September 2014

Welcome to another week of TheJudge13 F1 Bar Exam.

Last week’s question(s): Can you name the driver, team, race and track where the photo was taken. Can you also name the car (type) and where the driver finished in the race?

Rial 1988

The answer(s) I was looking for were: The picture shows Andrea de Cesaris driving a Rial ARC1 with a Ford Cosworth DVZ 3.5 liter V8 engine at their inaugural race at the 1988 Brazilian Grand Prix. The race was held at the newly named Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Rio de Janeiro (formerly called the Jacarepaguá Circuit) after Brazilian Nelson Piquet who had just been crowned World Champion. Andrea de Cesaris qualified 14th on the grid but was forced to retire on lap 53 after his car ran out of fuel…

There are multiple managerial styles and if you investigate enough Formula One teams chances are you will be able to observe most of them. Team management controversies are currently in the limelight with the evolving antagonism between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg which is bringing out the worst in their “leaders” who are endeavouring to prevent implosion of the whole team.

Ross Brawn’s Authoritative style is being missed and has been replaced by the Participative style where the multiple “leaders” are free to give their own and increasingly diverse opinions. Mercedes is hoping (probably forlornly) that all those involved will decide that it is advantageous for everyone to work together. There seems little chance that either one of their drivers will give up the prospect of being World Champion for the “good” of Mercedes…

Rial Racing was characterized by a Directive style of management. Team owner Gunther Schmid knew he was always right and expected everyone to listen and obey him. Later, when the team began collapsing, he went as far as to tell the mechanics to ignore what the drivers said, he would tell them how to set up the car. Schmid had difficulty keeping employees of any kind for long – as long as they did what he wanted things were OK but he had no interest in listening to anyone else’s opinion.

Schmid had previously run the ATS team, funded by his ATS Wheels Company. They were forced to withdraw from F1 in 1985 after BMW declined to sell them engines…the team had such a unfavourable PR image that they refused to be associated with them! Schmid sold ATS Wheels and prior to 1988 bought a new wheel rim manufacturer, Rial, and used their advertising fund to bankroll Rial Racing. Gustav Brunner had designed his previous ATS car and had since moved on to Ferrari. Somehow Schmid persuaded him to return.

The 1987 Ferrari had won its last two races but Gustav Brunner had blacked out of his memory the downside of working for Schmid and returned to design a car for Rial. His creation was dubbed “The Little Blue Ferrari” because of its similarity to the 1987 Ferrari. It did have a major design flaw – its fuel tank was not large enough to allow them to complete every race. It’s hard to believe that a successful designer could have done such a thing accidentally…

For a team already full of emotion they chose Italian Andrea de Cesaris to drive their car…this unfortunately meant that the races the car didn’t run out of fuel frequently ended in de Cesaris crashing the car…

The car started out fast…though unreliable. At the first race of the season at Brazil De Cesaris qualified 14th, was running as high as 6th at one point and then…ran out of fuel. This may have explained the car’s apparent speed – it was always light due to its undersize fuel tank! It would be the story of their season: several cars written off by crashes, several races where the car ran out of fuel or had mechanical failures…and a high point of 4th  place at the US Grand Prix in Detroit.

Midway through the season designer Gustav Brunner departed for a more congenial work environment and with no further development the car began to slump through the field, qualifying lower and lower down the grid for each successive race. Schmid then attempted to race the same car for the 1989 season with minimal success…failing to qualify more often than not…

Well done to Mike, Ken, Cassius42, Milestone11, Taflach, Johnny, Andrew and Tony!

This week’s question(s): Can you name the driver, team, race and track where the photo was taken. Can you also name the car (type) and where the driver finished in the race?


Please provide your answers in the field below:

5 responses to “The #F1 Bar Exam: 4 September 2014

  1. Could you see a similar thought pattern passing through the mind of the designer of the first iteration of what’s now Marussia? 🙂

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