#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 29th September 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Polls: Driver of the Weekend Report: The year to date

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 7th: Porsche

OTD Lite: 2002 – Ferrari’s contrived US Grand Prix finish

F1 starting to recognise that the cars are too easy to drive

Ericsson to continue with Caterham in 2015 – if they are still competing

No handbags at Red Bull

Force India turns to Toyota for wind tunnel (GMM)

Ferrari loses legal battle with engineer (GMM)

McLaren expecting a ‘tricky’ Suzuka

Verstappen Japan debut

Tweeting it wrong

OTD Lite: 2002 – Ferrari’s contrived US Grand Prix finish

On this day – twelve years ago – Ferrari recorded the closest finish in F1 history. Well, at least since the timing system had changed to 1000ths of a second. Just 0.011 separated Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher as they crossed the line. Which in itself would suggest an almighty fight to the line.

Sadly in a season of Ferrari dominance, Schumacher had led the ‘race’ throughout and as they approached the line attempted to stage a dead heat.


Many felt that it was Schumi repaying his team-mate after the Brazilian had given up victory in Austria that year. The team had been vilified after the Austrian debacle and the tirade of abuse continued here. The arrogance of the management of Ferrari seemingly astonished that the public wasn’t taken in by their simple explanations of manipulating events in their quest for glory.

Ferrari’s reputation has never really recovered from those days – thanks Mr Todt – and to many remains an organisation run on a sense of entitlement. Most members of the tifosi enjoyed the success of the team whilst despairing at the contrived nature of the races.

Ultimately, when a team has built a dominant car the best method of publicity is to let the young warriors fight – irrespective of good or ill fortune.

The Jackal


F1 starting to recognise that the cars are too easy to drive

“Today, you could take a young child from school and put him into an F1 car and he would be able to sustain the forces. From the physical side F1 has never been easier.”

Josef Leberer works for the Sauber F1 team but is most famously known for his close friendship with Ayrton Senna and as his personal trainer back in 1990. Following the recent SIngapore Grand Prix he was speaking about the differences between the current F1 and that of the late 80’s – early 90’s and suggested looking at drivers finishing races back then to see how far F1 has come in terms of driver comfort.

“I’m sure many current drivers would like to show their ability in comparison to the drivers in the past, but things have changed a lot on the physical and mental side. Back then drivers would be in pain for days with bruises on elbows, pain in the hands from gear changes and their necks would need rest following a race – it was much harder than today…

“It’s nice to have young drivers, but I have memories of drivers exhausted at the end of races, sweaty and having pushed their physical limits to almost be fainting by the end of races. Now drivers don’t even sweat anymore.

Daniel Ricciardo seemingly sings from the same hymn sheet, “From the physical point of view, it is definitely not a walk in the park, but it is easier than it was a couple of years ago. If the cars are quicker they’ll be physically harder to drive.”

Alain Prost also believes that the public perception of the F1 ‘Playstation’ era has lessened the interest in the sport and the time is ripe to make the cars harder to drive.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Max Verstappen, but it’s true that he’s going to be able to drive the car no problem, this was absolutely not possible in our time – the cars were so difficult to drive. the first time we went to Portugal it was not possible to make a complete day of testing at all, no way!”

“It was physically really difficult, which is not the case today, I think the speed of the cars during the races and the grip is not very good. It’s quite slow, so you need to have a proper Formula 1.”

The FIA have said they will look at the regulations which allow drivers to become accredited for an FIA super license, though the implication is they will enforce restrictions to ensure drivers aged 17 are no longer eligible – and all this by 2017.


Ericsson to continue with Caterham in 2015 – if they are still competing

Max Chilton is supposedly too pretty and his daddy too wealthy to worry about not being in Formula One with one of the tail-end teams. His performance matters little even if the British media felt it worthy his record of finishing all his races in his rookie season…

Likewise Marcus Ericsson trails round at the back at a speed that should require the safety car lights mounted on his rear wing. His speed is beyond question – the world and any debutant drivers in the other Caterham have already seen that it is classed as ‘SLOW‘ and yet the new Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto claims that Ericsson demonstrated his ability in Singapore.

As a newcomer dealing with a team that is collapsing from within – Ravetto’s demeanour would seem simply staggering as he states they have been talking to Marcus’s management and sponsors about his seat next year “because this year the team has invested in the growth of the driver.

Then he states the real reason behind Leafield’s enthusiasm for the slowest driver on the grid: “Next year we will be glad to have him back in our car and… make money from this investment rather than see it end up in some other machine.”

Attento Manfredi – don’t let Mr E. hear you can make money from F1 – he’ll decrease your share of the F1 purse even further.


No handbags at Red Bull

Despite the fact that Daniel Ricciardo easily beat his team mate and having taken all three non-Mercedes wins this year, he maintains that this had no detrimental effect on the relationship with his team-mate. Unlike his predecessor, Danny boy has so far had no public spat with his colleague from the other side of the garage.

“We are at a point where I have won three races and he none, yet he relates to me the same as he did from the very start,” the Australian explains in an interview with Channel 7. “We still exchange data and info about the car. He tells me how his daughter is doing and much more. Considering that it is a relationship between motorsports team mates, it couldn’t be better.”

TJ13 comment: The relationship between the Red Bull drivers could have gone spectacularly wrong, but it didn’t for several reasons. The first is, Daniel Ricciardo does not carry the baggage of history which Mark Webber did. Webber’s relationship with Vettel  began in 2007, when an inexperienced Sebastian clattered into the back of his car during a safety car period, yet the very same ‘Kid’ came in two years later, scored the first win for Red Bull and dominated within the the RB senior team.

The second reason us Daniel does not do smack talk. With him comprehensively outscoring Vettel this year, he could have been smug, yet he isn’t and pays proper respect to his team mate. In return he receives the same respect back. Vettel congratulated him for each and every win and even posed for the winners photo’s without pulling a sour face like Rosberg did after Singapore. For all the explosive climate at RB over the last few years, there seems to be an air of harmony in Milton Keynes. Maybe it’s that very climate which makes Vettel cope rather well with what can only be described as an annus horribilis.


(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Force India turns to Toyota for wind tunnel

Force India is the latest F1 team turning to Toyota’s state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Cologne. It emerged in Singapore recently that Caterham is developing its 2015 car in the Cologne tunnel.

Previously, Ferrari relied heavily on the Toyota facilities amid its troubles with its own tunnel at Maranello. “We haven’t used the one in Cologne for really quite some time,” said technical boss James Allison recently.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport also reports that, with McLaren leasing wind tunnel time to Marussia, the Woking based team also uses the Toyota facility. And Force India is now beginning to turn to Toyota. “Our wind tunnel was originally built for 30 per cent models,” said technical boss Andy Green, “so we don’t have enough room around the 50 per cent model.

From next year, a new cost cutting measure is that each team can only use one wind tunnel per season, so Force India has nominated Cologne. The report said Toyota charges about EUR 100,000 a week for the privilege.

TJ13 comment: So the promised $50m investment from Vijay – made to years ago – and a wind tunnel for the Silverstone team is now finally revealed to be a fantasy.

Wind tunnels are an important part of modern F1 comeptition and Ferrari have had their own share of wind tunnel difficulties. The Maranello facility was repaired, upgraded and recalibrated by October 2013, but previously they too had been using the Toyota tunnel from 2012 and designed this year’s car fully in the Cologne based complex.

Mclaren also have been using the same facility for the last couple of seasons with it would appear similar results.

Of course it could be mere coincidence that these two ‘grandees’ have suffered some of their worst form in a generation – it could be that the people in charge of aero really don’t have a clue – but could it simply be that the Toyota facility has a reputation that has been unjustly earnt.


(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Ferrari loses legal battle with engineer

Ferrari has lost a legal battle with a disgruntled F1 engineer. For 2012, Briton Steve Clark joined the fabled Maranello team from Mercedes, where he was a highly respected senior technical advisor. It was reported at the time that Clark’s new role would be in charge of Ferrari’s race engineers.

But Italy’s specialist Autosprint and La Gazzetta dello Sport separately report that Clark was subsequently ‘demoted’ to a role in Ferrari’s non-F1 projects, including working on the Italian olympic team’s bobsled design.

Clark reportedly sued the team in the local Modena courts, arguing that the demotion to a role outside of F1 caused “serious harm to his career”. The judge reportedly agreed, declaring that his ‘demotion’ was contrary to his contract. The reports say Ferrari has been ordered to reinstate Clark in his contracted F1 role or an equivalent, which could result in a departure settlement for the 48-year-old Briton.

TJ13 comment: An interesting article which demonstrates the dictatorial vision of the ex-President of Ferrari – Montezemolo. Clark was hired by Pat Fry and Stefano Domenicali to bring his expertise to Ferrari and was moved in the endless games of politics played out in Maranello.

As Costa explained earlier this year, every person recruited – and every decision on investment made – had to pass by Il Padrino – he refused to delegate authority. It will be interesting to see if the new regime empowers its people or disables them because simply – ‘We are Ferrari’

Of perhaps more pertinence is that once upon a time the power in Maranello was greater than the law – effectively. How times have changed..


McLaren expecting a ‘tricky’ Suzuka

Jenson Button appears not to be relishing the upcoming Japanaese Grand Prix in Suzuka.

“I think circuits that have a high-speed nature but not a big change of direction will be fine, like Brazil, but Suzuka could be tricky for us,” explained the British driver.

“It is a shame, especially for the future of this team, that it could be a really tricky race for the team. But we have a few little things that could help us.”

The McLaren has visibly been twitchy through the high speed corners at circuits with those characteristics through the 2014 season, though Jenson’s comments suggesting a disappointing result in Japan will affect “the future of this team” are surprising.

“Traction has been a big issue [this year], and also when the car is unsettled it is very difficult. In gradual high-speed corners we are reasonably good, but on corners with a sharp turn-in we are nowhere.

We have no initial turn-in, we don’t get it in, and then the rear falls over. The change of direction in high speed is the same. For the first part we are good, but as soon as you change direction and go over the central part of the steering wheel we lose speed.

It has been a weakness, and something that has improved over the year”.

The 2014 regulations have seen a substantial amount of aerodynamic downforce stripped from the cars and it is this which Button highlights has been problematic for the Woking team all year.

“I think it is just a lack of downforce. We started the year knowing we had a lack of downforce but wanting a driveable car – which it is. But the problem is we needed to start pushing it to make it more edgy – and we’ve done that!

But it’s all great planning for next year.”

McLaren have been 3rd or 4th best amongst the Mercedes engine cars for most of the year, and would be detached from that group of teams had Force India had the budget to deliver proper in season development.

2013 saw McLaren fail to score a podium, which was rectified in Australia 2014, however Button does not expect a repeat of this unless others fail. “I don’t think we will be quick enough to get a podium. We could get close enough for it if people in front make a mistake, but I don’t think we will get it [on merit alone].”

But why is Japan so important to McLaren that it may “affect the future of the team”?


Verstappen Japan debut

Franz Tost is known to be one of the most uncompromising of the team principals left in Formula 1. He allegedly got into a brawl with Scott Speed following the 2007 European GP at the Nurburgring.

Speed left the team immediately and Sebastian Vettel famously got his opportunity.

Back in Singapore Tost was his usual grumpy self with plenty to say at the team principal’s press conference. He dismissed the FIA’s proposals for changing pit/car radio broadcasts as, “absolutely not necessary,”

Tost argues, radio is entertainment and information which when shared improves the fans understanding and enjoyment of the sport.  “For me it’s absolutely nonsense what we are discussing here because in all the other kinds of sports a coach gives some information, instructions to a football player, for example, on the sideline or wherever.

“This does not mean that the sportsman is not able to do his job, he can do his job, he does do his job, but maybe he can do it in a better way, it’s just a performance improvement. Therefore I don’t understand it.”

During that same conference, Tost revealed to a rather surprised audience, that Max Verstappen had completed a test at the Adria International Raceway and fulfilled the requirements for his FIA superlicense. Further, Tost revealed Max would be driving FP1 in Japan.

Max will become the youngest ever F1 driver when he takes to the grid in Adelaide next March. “I am very much looking forward to taking part in a Free Practice session at a Grand Prix for the first time. It is good preparation for next year, even if it’s not something I could have imagined a few months ago. To already be participating in a practice session is of course a dream come true,” Verstappen said.

“I have actually been to Suzuka before, to take part in a go-kart race on the track that is located next to the main circuit’s back straight. My dad has raced at Suzuka many times and he told me it’s not an easy track to start on. 

For me it will be a very valuable experience, spending some time in the car and also getting used to working with everyone in the team, to prepare myself for next year. I am not going there to break any records, I just want to gain experience. I have spent one day driving this track on the simulator, which helps a bit, but it’s no substitute for driving it for real. 

My first impression is that it’s not an easy track and for example it looks hard to get the combination right in the first esses. I have one and a half hours to drive there and I’m looking forward to doing a good job, for myself and for the team.”

For JEV fighting to save his F1 career, missing FP1 in Japan is a blow.


Tweeting it wrong

Mercedes conducted a “forensic analysis” of the issue that affected Nico Rosberg’s car during the recent Singapore race. It showed the steering column electronics had been “contaminated with a foreign substance”.
“The contamination was not visible and did not manifest itself until Sunday as Nico went to the grid,” Mercedes said on Twitter.

The timing of the announcement could not have come at a better time for the conspiracy theorists to have a field day, dreaming up all sorts of wonderful schemes from the Stuttgart team. With just 5 races to go, the twittersphere was sent into overdrive when Mercedes tweeted, “To clarify, the contaminant was a substance used in normal pre-event servicing of the component. Not a conspiracy!”

William of Occam would be having a field day with his razor at the moment, given raft of theories abounding at the moment. But loose lips do sink ships and Mercedes team management and drivers have all at times made pronouncements that feed into the current speculative fever.

Mercedes currently appear rather sensitive to the charges, but lies the truth is that as the end of the season approaches and resources are deployed more and more into next year’s project, backroom politics becomes increasingly important to the quest for the WDC. Both drivers have been around long enough to know how to play the game and each is doing their utmost to swing the pendulum in their favour.

Though Mercedes’ PR department may be ruing it currently, the fact of the matter is the current drama is all that stands between the fans and possibly one of the most boring seasons ever imaginable, and eventually they will reap the benefits. Sometimes doing things the wrong way, turns out to be the best way.


50 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 29th September 2014

  1. Ultimately, when a team has built a dominant car the best method of publicity is to let the young warriors fight – irrespective of good or ill fortune.

    Which, despite all that has been written here, is to a great extent what Mercedes have done this season.

    They might not be the least inept management team on the planet, but for me, their failures have been in poor race management, not race fixing.
    (I reserve judgment on the Monza thing. I don’t dismiss the ‘sources’ out of hand, but neither do I assume it proved.)

    • @Nigel
      I tend to agree with you. After a week of holiday – in which I just lurked this site, I think it’s incompetence not fixing.

      Monza was Nico’s decision – to try to avoid nasty radio messages and to get it over with. So to me no real conspiracy but merely his interpretation of ‘giving back a win’. Consistent with the sources and the sheer incompetence at Brackley.

      Extra illustration: I have a friend who gets angry in traffic because of aggressive behaviour. In most cases it turns out to be an elderly person with his nose on the steeringwheel: incompetence, not intent.

  2. Re Handbags at RBR

    I think the good atmosphere between Ric and Seb at the moment has a lot to do with the fact they’re not fighting for the title this year. Lewis and Nico were best buddies last year. Look what happened now…

    • …..Indeed, but were the Mercedes management more experienced – with 20 odd years of ‘been there seen that’ – both drivers would have been warned early season – ‘do x,y,z’ and you sit out a race.

      Now it appears every team meeting including the management and the drivers is now some emo ridden desperate attempt to present a united front to the world.

      • I think everyone can agree, that at times the management team has been inept, but for me, i’m somewhat happy Ross is no longer in charge. I feel if he was still in charge, the racing would not be as intense as it is between the Lewis and Nico. With Ross and coupled with the Mercs dominance, we could have been subjected to watching boring processional racing at the front of the grid and instead we’d still be arguing about the noise of the cars.

        So if i was to give them a score out of 10, they’d get a 8.

    • a lot to do with the fact they’re not fighting for the title this year.

      That, and the fact that Vettel has nothing to prove.
      If he didn’t have four championships under his belt, I suspect there would be a great deal more tension even though this year’s championship isn’t at issue.

  3. I know there are Vettel detractors and I’m neither a hater nor a fanboy but there was some schadenfreude when he whined that his car was no good during testing and then in Melbourne. But through the year, he has either resigned to the fact that this years car is so different that he is unable to get anywhere close to peak performance or is putting on a very brave PR tactic. Either way, he seems to have piped down and admitting as much in his recent interviews. A good deal of respect for that, no matter what his motivations for doing so are.

    • He realises that he has won 4 titles in a row, yes of of course he will want to win at every opportunity, but a year where he is not challenging for the world title will not/should not have a massive effect. It’s when a driver has a string of years not challenging for the title, is when you start to see frustration creeping in and will be interesting to see how he handles that should he be in that situation.

      Right now he can take comfort in the fact that the chassis they have is as good, if not better than Merc’s. It’s only the engine letting them down, and despite that, they are still second fastest. He hasn’t had a car in a top team that is fighting for mid field places as of yet, and that is when we will see a test of character and if he can pull out of that phase stronger. Of course, there will be points when he can no longer hide his frustration if he is ever in a situation where the team is consistently fighting in the midfield. But, yes he has handled it well so far, but to be honest, it’s to be expected for the reasons mention above

  4. so the cars are way too easy to drive yet at the same time so complex to drive that drivers need to be coached by their engineers via radio on what to do?
    could it be that the difficulty of driving an f1 car is just different to what it was in the 1980’s? after all, driving any car has become less physically demanding than twenty, thirty or forty years ago. such is the way of progress. that doesn’t mean that driving in f1 isn’t a challenge, it just means the challenge is different.
    and could it be that the increasing lack of interest in f1 has more to do with pay walls, exorbitant ticket prices and on top of that, everybody involved in f1 constantly downtalking their own product? first everybody complained about lack of overtakes, than about artificial overtakes, than lack of noise and now it’s that supposedly five year olds could drive todays cars. and then of course there is the sanitization of f1. well guess what, that’s just a fancy word for saying people are not dying horrible deaths anymore. say it like that, and see how stupid your complaint is.

    you can’t artificially recreate the mystique drivers possessed in years gone by. it’s a different era, characterized by demystification. just like f1 drivers aren’t heros anymore, famous actors and singers aren’t stars anymore, they are celebreties whose nudes pictures get leaked and whose every step we can follow on twitter and reality tv. back then, there was just less information available, and that is what created the mystique. it had nothing to do with how hard the cars were to drive or how glamorous the entertainment industry used to be, it was the lack of information that left room for imagination. we live in the information age now, and if you tried going back to how things were, things won’t be more exciting, they will be out of date. what f1 need to do is embrace the new possibilities, not try and go back to the 80’s. they need to understand that good pr doesn’t consist of boring press conferences, that they need to become more accessible and that they need to stop talking bad about their own product.

    • I was just about to write a comment in relation to that article and then i saw yours, and i’d have to agree with everything you’ve said, well said.

    • There is quite a lot wrong with this comment…

      “so the cars are way too easy to drive yet at the same time so complex to drive that drivers need to be coached by their engineers via radio on what to do?” – anijs

      I can’t tell if you are being deliberately disingenuous, or are simply naive to the differences in “easy to drive” and “too complex” accusations. Both can, and in my opinion, are true. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume naivety.

      These accusations of F1 being too “easy” and too “complex” are not referring to the same phenomena in driving / operating a race car.

      When one is racing a car, there are many skills and instincts needed, many of which can be honed and developed. Throttle control, feel, courage, timing, coordination, focus, coping with fear and pressure, brake modulation, feeling lateral and longitudinal grip, shifting dynamic weight, racing awareness and managing slip / traction levels.

      Basically a driver is supposed to be racing the car on the ragged edge, in the main, and the driver should actually be “driving” the car. These skills are what “driving” and racing is about and this is why it is called a world DRIVERS championship. They have to drive the car.

      Now admitedly there has always been peripheral in car technical assistance, and certainly over the last 30 years. Historically these factors have supported the driver, but not overtly undermined the drivers impact. The systems were not so complex that they were anymore than a few settings to enhance balance or mapping or fuel management or turbo psi the like.

      Now the systems are so complex that it’s button pushing, delta driving, and lemans style mini endurance preservation dominates most of the race. Rarely are the car being pushed and therefore so to the drivers. Additionally the cars have such poor tyres and mech grip that race sims are best performed under delta driving scenarios, which means the cars are “easier” and “slower” to drive BUT also more “complex” to operate correctly – though not in a driving sense.

      This the DRIVERS championship has become about who is the best systems operator and car performance manager and not who is the best driver. In fact, if it were, I think Hamilton would be comfortably beating Rosberg. Unlike the past, now the predominant factor is no longer testing the cars and therefore the drivers on the limit, for the majority of the race, over a whole championship.

      I hope that helped.

      • you obviously didn’t read the sentence that followed, or didn’t understand my argument. the cars may be easier to drive in terms of physical strength, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a challenge to drive them. the challenge just has evolved and is now different. i’m pretty sure driving a car in the fangio era was different from driving a car in the early 90’s, yet that doesn’t mean that both didn’t challenge their drivers and required skills to control them. the same is true for todays cars. f1 has always been what the rules and technology available at the time made it. it’s pretty ironic that in a sport that always considered itself as being at the cutting edge of modern technology has so many fans looking at the past with rose tinted glasses.

        • Perhaps I didn’t understand it. I’ll read more thoroughly next time.

          My perspective is simply based on wanting to see a sport that tests drivers, as an ex-racer myself. I won’t repeat my previous comment.

      • So would going back to the “Best X results out of Y races” help? At least then the retirements wouldn’t be as devastating to HAM or ROS as they are now. Also, it would likely lessen the conspiracy theories, as Mercedes would really have to work hard to kneecap one of their drivers then.

        Certain DNF’s are simply out of any driver’s control, so shouldn’t be overly detrimental to them in the drivers’ championship.

          • It was a stupid idea when they last had it in F1.

            And it’s a stupid idea now ….

            It’s totally artificial – whereas now you score the points you score.

            Regardless of reliability or accidents or penalties.

          • “Whereas now you score the points you score” – Manky

            No Manky, now you score the points you score AND double for 1 single round at a shit track like Abu Dhabi… WTF?!

            There’s merit to the old system, mainly in high reliability failure environments, but I don’t think I’d support it’s return. Reliability isn’t bad enough to be the predominant factor in a 20 race championship to decide it in most cases. It’s reasonably equal.

            But if I HAD to choose that “drop a worst round” or “double points”, I’d rather the “drop a worst round” system. Double points is pointless (excuse the pun).

          • @ SIS

            this year is an aberration – hopefully ?

            I agree double points are a stupid idea –

            but still not as stupid as ” dropping ” points / races

            So I’m against BOTH

            Leave the system alone – you score what you score – no artificial meddling ….

  5. Also, I’d like to know exactly how cars this year are easier to drive. Is it that they’re slower in the corners or you can’t push them to the limits and hence easier or there is a lack of downforce and hence you can’t really go very fast or what ?

  6. “Webber’s relationship with Vettel began in 2007, when an inexperienced Sebastian clattered into the back of his car during a safety car period”

    I always, sort of, kind of felt that Hamilton was to blame for that accident. His behavior under the SC in heavy rain was fishy at best, and the way he slowed to almost a complete halt was very strange (and confusing for those behind him). Judge?

    • The initial 10 place grid penalty charged to Vettel was changed to a reprimand when the additional video of Hamilton’s erratic driving came to light. FIA investigated Hamilton but no action was taken. Memorable was Webber’s comment “it’s the f-ing kids” and Vettel sobbing in the garage.

    • Webber said as much himself in the presser at the next race.
      “It definitely contributed to Sebastian hitting me up the back because he (Hamilton) wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing (behind the safety car), clearly,” (from official F1 website). Vettel was penalized for that one though. The tensions with Vettel and Webber I feel started in Turkey 09 when the team didnt move Webber out of his way after he had slipped up on lap 1 allowing Button to slip past and sail into the distance. Kind of a reversal of what happened in the Singapore race.

  7. The speed of a F1 car is governed by 3 things: Horsepower (particular HP/Weight ratio), Aero and Tyres.

    At the moment, aero is still the dominant factor and this is shown by how close the cars were at Singapore qualifying, which is the longest and ‘most difficult’ track of the season. The cars have also got much heavier but now lack enough HP to make up for it. Heck, even the V8’s never looked feisty once we moved to no refueling and heavy tanks. We also now have low grip tyres and a lot of aero; it’s no surprise that a 16 year old can jump into a car and be expected to be competitive.

    Ideally we need:
    -Faster and wider tyres (at least 2 seconds faster than what we currently have). Low grip tyres don’t do the spectacle any favours.
    -More horsepower. The engine regulations will make this virtually impossible but ideally we need at least another 100-150 horsepower given how heavy the cars are. Torque is great but if you want the drivers to ‘fight’ the cars, you need more power.
    -Less aero.

    • Yes, don’t forget the turbos are barely dialed up to 1. With luck, teams will be allowed more latitude to turn them up as the regulations progress.

    • Development will take car of power (and its counterpart, weight). We are, after all, at the start of effectively a new formula.

      Otherwise, agreed.
      Addressing aero would make the cars (slightly) more road relevant.
      Obviously that doesn’t apply to fatter tyres, but is it not possible to make them both grippier and more durable anyway ? I had the impression that they are being artificially limited in order to help the racing. Sorting out the aero would remove the need for that.

      And all those genius aerodynamicists can get back to something socially useful.
      Like designing boats…

      • “Addressing aero would make the cars (slightly) more road relevant.”

        This is a pet hate, if I want road relevant I’ll look to Touring Cars, not the absolute pinnacle of motorsport. ABS and traction control weren’t developed to aid road cars, they were developed because they offered a performance advantage thanks to some freedom in regulations, and having regulations with virtually no freedom (even aero rules are tight now) means there is little trickle down effect.

        It’s not aero that makes F1 un-road relevant, it’s rules which say standardised electronics and little or no innovation with regards suspension are permitted that are areas that need addressing.

        The big innovations in F1 in recent years?
        Blown floors – Banned
        DRS (F-Duct) – Legalised
        FRIC – Banned
        Ride Height control – Banned
        K/ERS – Legalised

        It’s hardly a big list, which I feel really sums up the problem with the sport from a technological advancement perspective. It’s really disappointing that we have Williams Hybrid Performance out there and whilst their kit has been used by Audi to help win Le Mans, it’s not applicable to F1s tight rules.

        Would I like more flexible rules in F1? Heck yes, that would keep the great innovators of the sport like Newey in play. Do I care if it’s road relevant? Not a jot.

        • @ Paul

          ” … ABS and traction control weren’t developed to aid road cars … ”

          Of course not ….

          That’s why BOSCH installed them in TRUCKS

          because of the performance advantage they offered on the public highway ….. not for safety

          Possibly a short course in automotive history would help you.

          P.S. – FRIC and ride hight control as well as active suspension were developed by Lotus ROAD car division

          Pretty much everything outside of aero was developed for road cars and then copied and adapted into F1

          So I don’t think your agruement holds much water ….

    • Good comment. There are other factors also, for example the track (width at the wheels) of the cars was narrowed some time ago; this contributes to lower cornering speeds.

      It’s pretty interesting to view some of the early 90’s in car camera stuff; the cars were a handful and more difficult to drive (physically). I liken the cars now to flying; the pilots of commercial aircraft have computers to pretty much fly the planes, but have to remember to push the right buttons. The aircraft is more complex and harder to fly in one sense, but easier to fly in another. F1 seems a bit like that now.

  8. At least JEV has several weeks to impress a potential employer with his racing feats. Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari were dumped without any time of reaction.

  9. But why is Japan so important to McLaren that it may “affect the future of the team”?

    Not quite what Button said:
    “It is a shame, especially for the future of this team..”

    Honda is the future for McLaren, and naturally it’s going to be a shame for them if their new partner to be struggles in their backyard.
    All I read into it was Button being apologetic in advance.

    Part of the tendency to over-analyse/dramatise every comment from those involved in F1 ?

  10. I think people are a bit harsh on the Merc Twitter account, they get so much grief it’s unreal. I guess some of it is to be expected given what happened at Monaco/Monza and now the first ‘contaminant’ I can genuinely remember in F1 since the white powder and Stepney.

    Even so, the chances are the person behind the account is a simple dogsbody, paid £20k p/a and by and large tweeting whatever the Wolf demands. I have some sympathy with them, I really do.

  11. “Tweeting it wrong”

    Though Mercedes’ PR department may be ruing it currently, the fact of the matter is the current drama is all that stands between the fans and possibly one of the most boring seasons ever imaginable, and eventually they will reap the benefits.

    I’d like to know which contributor holds that opinion. I for one have enjoyed the season and the racing, aside from the Mercedes Drama.

    Many of the races have had enjoyable moments not related to the Stuttgart concern.

    I’ve been re-watching many classic races recently; Christ some of them are boring as hell. Races when the only time there is any moving around of the field is the 1 or 2 Pit Stops. (For reference I’m speaking more ’00-’08)

    Whether its an increase in the editing or overtaking, I have found this season compelling; and all my F1 watching friends agree. I believe this season has benefited enormously with the changes to the formula and regulations this year.

    I don’t agree with all the changes of course, I’m not a sycophant.

    • I agree. Its a 2 way battle for the title, what more do you want? A few more head to head battles but what else? It beats someone (like Vettel or Button) running away with it any day of the week.

      And I’d like to add that I really wonder how far they can develop these cars and engines. I mean the performance (especially Merc) they can already extract out of these engines…

    • @aiden

      I echo your sentiments on this being a very enjoyable season. Heck my barber is watching F1 and he hasn’t got the slightest clue about anything relating to sports, but he’s front and centre on a Sunday watching the races

        • Spanners, meant for WDC, natch, but try this on. There goes Vettel, he’s out of DRS. Rinse and repeat. Regardless of your feelings about him, Vettel driving away from the field repeatedly didn’t give people much to tune in for. And RB didn’t have near the advantage that Merc do. The same was true for Shumacher at the height of his dominance.

  12. I must agree with Aiden. I have enjoyed the racing a lot this year. I’m baffled that this season Could be described as boring.

  13. “Of course it could be mere coincidence that these two ‘grandees’ have suffered some of their worst form in a generation – it could be that the people in charge of aero really don’t have a clue – but could it simply be that the Toyota facility has a reputation that has been unjustly earnt.”

    And for the fun of it, Caterham is now going down the Toyota way (or at least so they say):
    “Although not finishing in the top 10 of the constructors’ championship would be a blow to Caterham, Ravetto insists the team’s future does not depend upon it.

    He said progress is already well underway on its 2015 car – which is being worked on in the windtunnel at Toyota’s Cologne facility.”

    At least that little is true: Whether they get 10th place or not, Caterham is waving while drowning.

  14. After watching Ted’s notebook immediately after quali it appeared Singapore had a small hurricane. With all that moisture in the air it seemed plausible to me that the foreign substance could of been just plain ol water in the electronics. But that wouldn’t be approved by the PR department. They want clickbait they want us gnashing our teeth digging into what foreign substance could be.

  15. I’m having great trouble understanding how an apologist for Formula E can point out what he sees are the weaknesses in Formula 1 presently.

    Faster and wider tyres.
    More horsepower.
    Less aero.

    Yeah, right………next he’ll be claiming that F 1 cars are physically too easy to drive, oh wait…..top of the pops on J A on F1 today. Whale-oil-beef-oct.

  16. TJ13 comment:” So the promised $50m investment from Vijay – made to years ago – and a wind tunnel for the Silverstone team is now finally revealed to be a fantasy.”

    Whilst there is an obvious element of truth to the missing 50m, this, combined with rather challenging circumstances of the main shareholders the main issue has been the shifting sands of WT use. The cost of a new tunnel is 20m+ and if the use is reduced almost on a whim of the rule makers as it recently was, you could be left with a rather expensive white elephant. This combined with increasing reliance on CFD – FI recently upgraded as you recently reported- may mean it’s far better to rent at least in the short term. Fi have used their own c/w Maclarens, latterly Toyota’s. Either way a lot of WT work is just validating CFD research.

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