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Previously on TheJudge13:
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OTD Lite: 1970 – Regazzoni wins his first Grand Prix
As ever in Formula One, the race carries on. For many generations the driver would be dying trackside and his compatriots would continue to circulate at racing speeds whilst the rescue crews went about their task. After the tragedy of the previous afternoon, at least the drivers had had an opportunity to recover from the loss of Rindt and remember that they chose this sport for equally selfish reason – pushing their skills to the limit.
On this day, in only his fifth race start, Clay Regazzoni won the Italian Grand Prix driving one of the most stunning cars to ever grace the tarmac – the Ferrari 312B. The glorious flat 12 engine singing its melody as it caressed the kerbs of the Autodromo. His team-mate, Jacky Ickx was Rindt’s closest challenger and his car retired after 25 laps with the clutch gone.
These days seeing fans celebrating a victory when there has been a serious injury or fatality is abhorrent but as recently as 1982, after Gilles VIlleneuve had lost his life the previous afternoon, the winning drivers sprayed champagne gleefully. In 1970 drivers were killed annually and it was accepted as part of the sport. Regazzoni would go on to win a further four races in his career and remained hugely popular throughout jis life.
Formula E will improve F1
Sleeping Beauty has truly awaken, and this time he speaks through his own mouth and not that of Ari Vatanen. Jean Todt insists that Formula E which kicks off next weekend in Beijing will contribute to all forms of motorsport including F1.
“We can expect development in batteries, motor technology and security issues that can be transferred with other series such as F1, WEC etc,” Todt tells the official Formula E website. “You always learn from one championship to another one. For example, what generates a lot of cost is aerodynamic development and in Formula E it’s quite limited, which I think is a good thing because sometime you see how complicated aerodynamics are on a car.
You take Formula 1 now with all the little winglets that require so much wind tunnel testing. So I would say let’s try to develop as much that can be transferred to a city car.”
This is Todt’s vision, though we will have to see whether we start to get big businesses investing in Formula E R&D. The current format is of a spec series which costs about $3-4m a year to run a team.
The face of the past?
Mercedes open to rival engine supppliers being allowed to catch up
I was being whimsical when I made the “David and Goliath” comment. I’m bigger and harder than the collective ‘Hamfosi’ 😉
Further in Spa I published a piece which I don’t think we saw elsewhere – asking the question re: defensive driving. It created debate.
Within 24 hours, a reader sent us a counter argument. We spent time tidying up the writing and put it straight out.
Both Ferrari and Renault have opened the debate about relaxing the engine regulations for 2015, which would allow them to ‘catch up’ on Mercedes.
Toto Wolff claims he and Mercedes are not opposed to the idea in principle. “It’s about defining what we want to do. Obviously we have a competitive advantage but we would take the challenge [of greater competition] on”.
Unanimous agreement between the 3 current engine manufacturer’s, along with Honda, would be required for the FIA to change the regulations which allow the teams to change up to around 46% of the components in the current engines.
“Is it the time to change the rules? Maybe,” says a reasonable sounding Wolff. “The discussions we’ve had so far were pretty open.”
Having taken a fair degree of ‘incoming’ for not regulating on the cost of the new powertrains, Todt and the boys in the Place de Concorde are highly unlikely to agree to another round of exorbitant spending.
Clearly this message is understood by the engine suppliers, as Toto continues, “There are various concepts on the table and if we decide to go completely in the opposite direction and open it up completely, this will increase costs quite dramatically. I’m not sure we could deliver all the same specification of engines to everybody – logistically it’s not feasible – so the devil lies in the detail.”
The devil may be more than in the detail because although we have heard from Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault on the matter – thus far Honda are silent.