At the British GP, we saw driver steward Nigel Mansell ruthlessly enforce the track limits at Copse corner with the drivers. During qualifying, 12 lap times were struck out for drivers who transgressed the white line delimiting the boundary of the track with all four wheels of their cars.
Pastor Maldonado was the only driver to lose more than one timed lap.
Of course in Mansell’s day, no such penalties were required, due to the gravel which lurked beyond the kerbs. Flirting with the kitty litter was highly inadvisable as the result would be a woeful lap time at best and at worst a car unable to continue with the on track session.
A pit lane speed limit was introduced following the black weekend that was the 1994 F1 Imola GP. This resulted not from Senna or Ratzenberger’s deaths, but because four mechanics were also injured by a flying loose wheel in the pits.
Niki Lauda now believes the current regulations on pit lane speeds are unnecessary and the 80km/h maximum should be increased to 150km/h.
The Mercedes AMG chairman’s reasoning is that with the exception of Monaco and Singapore, the area outside of the garages including the ‘box’ as “as wide as freeways,” Lauda told Welt am Sonnatag.
Lauda argues to improve the spectacle of modern F1, three maxims should be applied to all possible solutions; easier, more attractive, faster. Lauda’s philosophy is that regulation and restriction is inherently the wrong approach and where possible a more laissez-faire mindset should prevail.
The current goal of the F1 strategy group is allegedly to radicalise the 2017 regulations for car design. Evolution is cheaper for teams, but Lauda argues “you cannot improve F1 without spending more.”
With a view to easing the financial burdens this will place on the smaller teams, Lauda believes “you have to provide them with less expensive engines,” adding without detail, “Mercedes is very involved in the issue.”
The topic of cost capping the prices charged for F1 engines is very much the talk of those in power at present, though it was thought Mercedes and Ferrari would resist cutting the current prices they charge their engine customers.
Speculation will now abound that Mercedes may perceive a cost capped engine would hurt Ferrari’s short term F1 business plan more than it would Brackley and Brixworth.