Tim

Archive for the ‘Formula 1’ Category

F1 – My conspiracy theory

In Formula 1 on 05 June, 2009 at 11:00 pm

It’s no secret that Formula One is going through a very messy, political, money-orientated peiod at the moment, just when it should be promoting itself to new fans as not being all about Ferrari and McLaren, with BrawnGP and Red Bull leading the charge.

There’s even a #maxout campaign on Twitter, trying to get Max Mosley to resign from office, or at least not stand again, come November!

Max wants to impose a budget cap on the teams for next season, in a bid to attract new teams to the sport, and make the current teams more sustainable.  Originally, this also included more technical feedom fo the teams who accepted the budget cap, but apparently, this “Two Tier” F1 idea has been dropped.

The biggest problem is that F1 as a sport generates a HUGE amount of revenue… but only about 40% of that goes to the teams, and a miniscule amount to the FIA.  The rest goes to CVC Capital Partners, who in turn pay Bernie Ecclestone to find more ways of generating even more revenue – leading to F1 races being held in empty stadiums in countries whose governments have the cash to spend and see F1 as a marketing tool to promote their countries and improve their global image.  The teams have pointed out regularly that they help generate this money, but most of it goes to CVC to pay off their less profitable revenue streams and debts…

Give the teams a better share of the profits, and they could ALL focus more on developing their cars, and less on tying to find sponsors.

Here’s my theory, then.  Max and Bernie WANT the teams to leave F1.  They want them to go away and set up a new series that would be Formula One in all but name only.  Bernie could help broker track deals with venues no longer tied into F1 deals, without CVC’s involvement,  with FIA safety regulations, etc.  The circuits could afford to offer cheaper tickets, the fans would be able to attend more races, and the teams could all run at a profit.  What is left as F1 would slowly fade into a spec series, like a slightly faster GP2 or F2, while GP1 (a name that Bernie registered a few years ago) takes over as the “New Pinnacle of Motosport” with races in Canada, the USA, Silverstone, France, Germany, Italy, etc.

Over time, CVC would stop earning money fom F1, and offer to sell it back… and GP1 would simply become F1 again, but profiting the teams, like it was supposed to do, all those years ago, when Max and Bernie took on the FIA…

I hope something happens soon, because once again, the politics of F1 are starting to encrouch on what is a fabulous season of sport!

So I say, #CVCout!

General Update – Monday 25th May, 2009

In Comics, Formula 1, General on 25 May, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I’d like to apologise for my lack of blogging recently…

I blog mainly from my EeePC, and that has been having a lot of problems… Should all be solved now though, as I have installed a stripped-down version of Windows XP on it and that seems to be behaving itself nicely!

I will endeavour to catch up on my comic and F1 blogging over the next few weeks, and also hope to be able to redesign the blog slightly using some basic CSS skills and a bit of Photoshop wizardry.

Mainly I’d like to redesign the front page to give you a choice of Comics or F1 from the outset, with a few topical graphics.  I also would like to get permission to use pictures from the world of F1 and Comics, so you people can actually see what I’m talking about sometimes…

Maybe when Apple finally roll-out their iPhone OS3 update, it will be easier to blog from my iPhone, but lack of Copy/Paste is really hampering things at the moment…

In the meantime, I posted a sort of Race Report on DiffuseF1.com, a new website for the Twitter generation, put together by @SarahAnnGreen and @tkei – early days yet, but has a tonne of potential! Go and have a look!

Bye for now,

Tim

F1 – Kate’s Dirty Sister Likes It Wet!

In Formula 1 on 22 April, 2009 at 11:24 pm

So, the Chinese Grand Prix, eh?

Yet another wet race this year! Who needs Bernie’s joke suggestion of sprinklers at each track with a random spray time, when Mother Nature has so kindly provided us with the weather?

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F1 – Diffusers Confirmed Legal (Again)

In Formula 1 on 15 April, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Well, the ICA (International Court of Appeal) has rejected the appeal of the rejection of the protest on the legality of the diffusers whose designs had been approved by the FIA. Phew!

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My thoughts on Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification

In Formula 1 on 05 April, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Before the second race of the season had started, the FIA stewards in Malaysia called on Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and their respective advisers to once again explain the final stages of the Australian Grand Prix.  It should be noted that this was not due to Toyota protesting Jarno Trulli’s 25-second penalty, as they had already decided not to.  Instead, it was because the FIA had noticed discrepancies in what had been officially stated in the Stewards room after the race and what had been said to members of the press…

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F1 2009 – Round 1 – Australia – Baby, They Were Brawn To Run!

In Formula 1, General on 02 April, 2009 at 12:07 am

Yes, okay, that’s an awful title, but it was that or “The Brawn Supremacy”, which I’ve already seen used elsewhere…

Now, I try not to be biased, and to present an even-handed account of things, but I can’t help but love the “underdog”, even if that is a bit misleading with regards to BrawnGP…

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F1-The Diffuser Row

In Formula 1 on 24 March, 2009 at 8:19 pm

There is a storm brewing in Formula One, before the season has even started… Williams and Toyota started it and BrawnGP have added fuel to the fire…

The new regulations governing the design of the new 2009 cars have a very distinct grey area in the region known as the diffuser…

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F1-Time for Regime Change?

In Formula 1 on 23 March, 2009 at 9:55 am

A long time ago, in a sport not too different to the one we know now… A floppy-haired man in an open-necked white shirt decided that the evil Emperor who governed his sport was out of touch with the fans, and (more important in his view) the teams… He had a friend who had Legal experience and understood political machinations… Between them they organised the teams to stand together against the governing body, and forced a change where one of them took control of the money, and the other took the reins of the governing body…

Now we are in a state where the teams once more are banding together against the establishment. FOTA – the Formula One Teams Assocciation – are trying to have more of a say in the rules of their sport and at the same time, trying to extract more money from FOM – Formula One Management – in order that they might actually run all the teams at a modest profit.

Bernie Ecclestone (FOM’s spokesperson on behalf of CVC Capital Partners, who actually own it) is renowned for his ability to play hardball. His remit is to generate as much money as possible for FOM, by charging astronomical fees for hosting races that have reached a level where National Governments have to subsidise the tracks!

Even while Max Mosley (President of the FIA – the sports governing body) has been pushing through cost-cutting regulations, in order to make it easier for the smaller teams to compete with the larger budgets of the manufacturer teams, Bernie has used this as ammunition against FOTA, to say that if costs are dropping, then surely they don’t need more money from FOM, they could actually have LESS!

The teams (particularly those owned by the car manufacturers) want to be racing in North America. Currently there are no races at all on that continent!

There has even been talk of the teams staging their own race!

All these political machinations are ruining the sport I love. Last minute attempts to introduce a “Winner-takes-it-all” scoring system have thankfully been postponed, after a large number of prominent drivers and team bosses spoke out against it. The FIA promptly did a U-turn and passed the blame onto Bernie, claiming that he had assured him that all the teams were actually in favour of the idea!

There probably won’t be a regime change anytime soon, but there should be. Bernie and Max need to recognise that they have had their turn in the sun. They have both done an amazing amount of good for the sport, but if they aren’t careful, and know when to quit while ahead, they could destroy the sport and turn it into a shadow of its former self…

You’ve got the Brains, You’ve got the Brawn, Let’s go GP Racing!

In Formula 1 on 21 March, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Right. So. BrawnGP top the time sheets and a ton of armchair enthusiasts reckon they must be underweight, trying to attract sponsors, etc. Because “McLaren can’t be slower than than their customer can they?”

Newsflash: the Force India car was faster in testing too!

Now. McLaren have the resources to turn that around this week in time for Melbourne, but no track time left until Friday Practise in a few days time, thanks to testing limits that they agreed to adhere to. Interestingly enough, on the LAST day of testing Heikki Kovaleinen was showing VERY promising times. Which in turn begs the question: “Is the 2009 car actually more suited to his driving style than Lewis Hamilton’s?”

This may sound odd to some of you, but the fact is that certain drivers treat the car in very different ways. Some have a very smooth, flowing driving style that seems more “curvy” around the track, with a more gentle treatment of brakes and accelerator that follows closer to the mathematical “Racing Line” than other drivers, with a much more “aggressive” style, which uses sharper accceleration and braking (almost on/off) resulting in more sudden changes in direction, that look more jagged and straight than “curvy”. Both styles affect how the car is set-up for optimal performance.
The car itself, due to a multitude of factors in its design, build, fuel load, tires and aerodynamic downforce, behaves in what can be categorised into three basic conditions: Oversteering, Understeering and Neutral.

“Oversteer” is when a car behaves with a heightened level of front grip, almost pulling the car round the corner. If you are either unaware, or unexpecting of it, you can turn in too far off your anticipated line of travel. If you’re lucky, you can correct this and merely lose some time getting back on line. If you are unlucky… At the very least you’ll spin…

“Understeer” is where the front of car doesn’t respond quickly enough to the driver’s demands, which again leads to lost time, slowing down to correct the direction of the car and get it back on line, if you haven’t driven straight into a gravel trap, that is…

“Neutral” is a car that behaves with neither of the above characteristics.

There are drivers whose styles suit each of the above car types. Most drivers can adapt to cope with varying car types, but it is harder for some more than others… Over the years we have seen these driver/car balances make some drivers look better and worse over the course of a couple of years (or in a few cases, a season).

Rubens Barrichello, for example, has seen his fair share of cars over the years (he’s about to start his 17th season!) of which he himself has said that the last two Hondas were the worst cars he has ever driven!

The RA107 & RA108 suffered from understeer AND oversteer, sometimes in the same corner! Having learnt a lot from Michael Schumacher (as Massa seemed to do last year) Rubens prefers a Neutral car, that suits his smoother, left-foot-braking, driving style. Very similar to Jenson Button’s style of driving, actually. This means that Ross Brawn could design the type of car that he used to oversee at Ferrari, for Michael. Button and Barrichello both suit that type of car, and the set-up and weight distributions could be more similar.

McLaren seems to have had a habit of picking fast drivers with very different driving preferences since the days of Hakkinen and Coulthard. For example, Raikkonnen and Montoya ended up dividing McLaren’s resources in favour of two different cars, one with more oversteer, the other with slight understeer… They couldn’t concentrate all of their minds in one direction like Brawn was able to last year.

Hamilton uses his rear tyres a lot more aggressively than other drivers do. He has also never really had to develop a car that wasn’t already one of the fastest on the track… Most of the other drivers, his teammate included, have done.

Kovaleinen drove an awful car at Renault, but he adapted and they developed the car.
Lewis has yet to show that he has as much intuition on adjusting his car (and his style) as his does throwing through the tight curves of Monte-Carlo.

Kovaleinen and De la Rosa have done more testing in the car, and Hamilton has been more noticeable for his accidents.

So, what will we be talking about at Christmas? Which German-powered British team beat Ferrari and BMW to the Constructors’ Trophy? Which British driver is World Champion? Or will he be Brazilian? Or will Kimi take his second? Or Alonso his third? How many times was there a Pole on Pole? Or will Toyota triumph where Honda failed? Ironically, in the back of a Williams? 😉

Enjoy!

Tuesday Update – Brawn to be Wild? F1 cars testing…

In Formula 1 on 10 March, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Well, the first two days of testing for two teams – Scuderia Toro Rosso, and BrawnGP…

Jenson Button hit the headlines on Monday at lunch, after topping the time sheets. There were immediate cries of light fuel loads and low ballast, of course, but just from the media, not from any of the opposing teams technical directors, all of whom were apparently very interested at the back end of the BGP 001…

There has been a bit of furore over rear-ends recently… Toyota and Williams both caused a stir by having diffusers that interpreted the new rules in a slightly different manner to their rivals, but which have been approved by the FIA. Adrian Newey at Red Bull has gone for a retro pull-bar rear suspension that allows for certain mechanical and aerodynamic benefits that had been dismissed by other teams as outdated, but Newey believes that the rules have changed sufficiently to warrant the benefits he believes can be gained elsewhere through the use of this suspension.

“Ah-ha!” I hear you say, “But they have a Mercedes engine supply, so surely the BrawnGP car is going to have a rear end similar to the McLaren or Force India?”

No. Actually not at all. You see, today, Ross Brawn mentioned that unlike Force India, who have a complete drivetrain from Mercedes (engine, gearbox, KERS, etc.) BrawnGP only have an engine. The gearbox is their own. That is also part of the reason that they couldn’t use Ferrari engines… They wouldn’t fit as nicely with the gearbox as the Mercedes engine did. It wasn’t that Ferrari would have a hard time supplying two teams, as Force India had just switched to Mercedes from Ferrari, so they could quite easily have continued producing the same number of engines as last year…

They don’t currently have a KERS system, despite Honda being quite far ahead in developing that area, as when Honda stopped producing engines, the KERS went with them… I wouldn’t be too surprised to hear that they adopt the Flybrid KERS system being used by Williams…

Anyway, on Monday, by the end of the day, Button had been knocked down to fourth by Heidfeld for BMW, Räikkönen for Ferrari, and Trulli for Toyota.. … but the BrawnGP car had managed 82 laps! Not bad for a prototype (this is their ONLY car at the moment – they hope to have at least two in time for Melbourne!) on it’s first real test day!

Today’s test finished with Räikkönen top the times, but Rubens Barrichello finishing off a very respectable third!

As my mate Stu just said, when I mentioned that this was the team’s first proper “Ross Brawn” car: “This isn’t just any Formula One car… This is a Marks & Spencer’s Formula One car…”

How about them for a sponsor, Ross?

Roll on Melbourne…

Official BrawnGP website: Click here