Raikkonen: “I was bored”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Istanbul, 2007 | Ferrari MediaKimi Raikkonen has stated an inconvenient truth. And no, he hasn’t been complaining about global warming. After finishing second for the second race in a row the Finn had this to say:

At this stage in F1 is difficult to get past. The race was really decided yesterday.

It is boring driving behind other cars. In F1 these days the races are pretty much decided after qualifying, but I just wanted to push like the other cars. It gives you something to do.

In the Turkish Grand Prix F1 served up another follow-my-leader procession with virtually no racing worthy of the name.

It has become so obvious that F1 has a major problem with aerodynamic sensitivity that even the drivers are beginning to complain loudly about it.

When a driver can sit in an FIA press conference after a race and justifiably say ‘I was bored. I just wanted something to do’ then the sport should hang its head in shame.

For the second race a row Raikkonen found himself stuck in second, unable to get anywhere near the leader because his car would lose downforce, and instead amused himself by setting a new fastest lap in the dying stages of the race.

I know the ultra-purists will have nothing to do with the suggestion that F1 should be entertaining. But I haven’t heard any good arguments why the current system should stay the way it is – with the top ten drivers lining up in the order of how much fuel they’ve got on board, and then not overtaking each other because they can’t get close enough.

Nor have I heard any good arguments why the sport can’t just copy GP2, and slash back the size of wings, ban refuelling, and require the use of slick tyres.

Give us that, and I guarantee you we would have seen wheel-to-wheel racing between the Ferraris at the front of today’s race, Fernando Alonso scrapping to pass the BMWs he got stuck behind at the start, and plenty more action up and down the field.

Just as there is in the GP2 races – even at circuits like the Hungaroring.

Photo: Ferrari Media

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24 comments on Raikkonen: “I was bored”

  1. Ogami said on 26th August 2007, 16:30

    The problem is not as simple as it seems.

    There’re technical reasons why overtaking is difficult in F1 and some of them pose a great dilemma of speed through corners (=lap times of F1).

    First the problem with turbulence is not due to amount of downforce nor size of the wings, but because of their angle and because of vortex lift.
    Let me explain: Because of aero limitations (yes because of that, and not because aero has gone too far), we are in an optimization process.
    That means, to get more downforce we need to be aggressive with the profiles of the wings, and use appendices to induce better flows on those profiles.
    Where an aerodynamic engineer would simply increase the wing’s width or chord, it is impossible now so what is left is to make it aggressive in angle or use appendices forward of it to energize the flows.

    In both case this result in vortex, that have the property of being unstable (turbulent).

    The very same thing happened when rear wing width and location behind the rear wheels center was reduced and when ground effects where decreased.
    This made the necessity for a huge and aggressive diffuser that in combination with the rear wing does produces a lot of turbulence and in addition and upward motion of fluids witch of course decrease the downforce on the leading car front wing……That got over sensitive of variations because the FIA restricted the efficiency!
    When FIA both in 2003 and 2005 increased the minimum height over the ground of the wing , they made the wing far more sensitive to pressure variations.

    In 2004 (before the second increase in height) cars could still follow each other and downforce was at its best so definitely it is not a problem of amount of downforce.

    Now you want to reduce wings? well you’ll have the problem magnified because all you’ll have it even more agressive profiles.

    There’re many raw possibilities to prevent turbulence,and one true is that if you make designs less aggressive with less vortex then less downforce you’ll have better overtaking…But then you’ll have a GP2.

    What it is important to understand, is that GP2 cars of now are faster on a lap times than a 92 F1.

    Many fans want cars to be slowed down, but what’s the
    point?

    Actually one point of racing good in F1 is that drivers are in a small pocket when regarding lap times.

    This provides drivers in close racing often (except when domination from a team) witch is cool.This occurs because F1 cars run trough corners and straights faster (the spend less time) than any other car or bike.
    This makes drivers error less visible to lap times but also that errors that slow you down make huge problem in lap times.
    On other series if you slide in a turn, this coast more time in lap time, but as cars that run on the line are slower than f1 cars one driver can not benefit of one another as much as in F1 (look at massa today, raikkonen closed on him simply because massa locked a wheel and started to oversteer).

    So this bring the dilemma that F1, if one is interested in F1 being a faster/different kind of racing should stay fast but at the same time there’s a problem with aerodynamics now.

    So what to do? my opinion is that banning or restricting aero is just worse as you’ll get more aggressive designs and at the extreme a slowed down F1 but what for?.

    One solution is simply the allow more freedom and look for a redesign, and that’s what is planned for 2009 with a new aero package, redesign of the diffuser (possibly with more Ground effects allowed), variable front wing, progressive banning of appendages and in 2011 complete banning, drag reduction , adaptive aero etc..

    I of course agree situations like today are not normal, at the same time i already think a champ car running very close to a 10 times more expensive F1 is also a problem.

  2. Fer no. 65 said on 26th August 2007, 16:36

    :S sadly, it’s true… I guess F1 this year is 200 percent more boring than last year :S

    Let’s hope the traction control bann allows more. I still don’t know why i watched the race today.

    Sleeping is much more exciting.

  3. Ali AydoÄŸan said on 26th August 2007, 16:37

    Raikkonen was not the only one to be bored, me too.
    There were plenty of overtakings in both races of GP2 and those races were for sure more entertaining to watch. In addition to the aerodynamics and slicks, race format of GP2 is better IMO. 2 races in F1 would be difficult for the teams, but even Briatore offered 2 race format in the previous months as a team boss. At least refuelling should be banned with the current aerodynamics levels.
    If both Raikkonen and Alonso cannot overtake other cars in IstanbulPark and even Raikkonen complains, what do we have to watch??

  4. Number 38 said on 26th August 2007, 16:57

    That was quite a writing Mr. ‘ogami’ but it didn’t change anything, F1 racing is BORING, mere high speed parades and it takes something like Hamilton’s tyre failure to change the outcome. Say what you want about aerodynamics and re-fueling and strategy but until we get rid of MadMax Mosley and his overly complex regulations, nothing is going to change. 8 of 12 races have been won from the pole…….
    based on that cash in your chits Saturday night and take Sunday off.

  5. I don’t agree that GP2 is more exciting than F1. If all you want is more overtaking but less skill, then sure, watch GP2 – it has plenty of both. Personally, I’d rather watch drivers who can handle their cars without crashing into each other through silly mistakes – and that means F1.

    It is certainly true that F1 is boring nowadays, however. And it is not so much the lack of overtaking (we can watch NASCAR if that’s what we want), it is much more that the drivers cannot compete because of the invisible aerodynamic barrier. What we want to see is the best drivers fighting it out and it actually doesn’t matter if the one behind doesn’t overtake, provided that it’s the skill of the one in front that prevents it.

    Consider Raikkonen today – he was bored because he knew there was nothing he could do to get to grips with Massa. So he amused himself by setting the fastest lap; if that isn’t a statement that he could have won if not for the barrier, I don’t know what is. Whether he was right and could have overtaken Massa without the aerodynamic barrier is of no account either – the point is he felt he could have and would have been prepared to fight to prove it.

    We all agree, even Ogami, that aerodynamics causes the problem, but even he can only think of ways to adjust the aerodynamics to decrease the barrier. He is right in that GP2 is not the way to go because that is merely a different aerodynamic mix; the problem remains in greater or lesser degree. We need to be much more radical in our thinking if we are to return to genuine competition between drivers.

    I’m sorry folks, but that means getting rid of wings. We continue with them purely through habit, because we cannot imagine going back to a wingless F1. But they are the major source of aerodynamic downforce and they create a situation in which it is the aerodynamicist who wins races, not the team, not the engineer, not the driver. If the competition were just about awarding the prize to the guy who can give his car the most downforce, why not let them bring back the fan car and we can all be bored to death by cars that cannot hurtle off at the corners?

    Get rid of wings and suddenly the engineers will have to earn their crust again and the drivers will have to cope with cars that are not crushed on to the road by a giant invisible hand. The really brilliant driver will once again be able to make up the difference in a poor car and compete with those in better cars. Hey, they might even be worth their salaries in that case.

    This “no overtaking” claim has been around in F1 ever since ground effect days – it gets worse, that’s all. The problem is aerodynamics and no real solution is possible as long as you allow the aero guys their protuberances and wings. Ban wings and winglets, barge boards, chimney stacks, deflectors, extractors and insist on a genuinely flat bottom. Then maybe we’d see some real competition as well as saving a bundle on wind tunnels.

  6. Robert McKay said on 26th August 2007, 20:08

    “it actually doesn’t matter if the one behind doesn’t overtake, provided that it’s the skill of the one in front that prevents it.” – Clive

    Amen to that.

  7. Ogami said on 26th August 2007, 20:34

    Well, i don’t mind, and even i’m happy everyone bring valid points, or even skip my posts but at least when quoting me or making reference please try not to get it the wrong way.

    Number38:
    Is it me or you didn’t get what i meant? Telling what i write won’t change something, while completely true has not so much validity as i was simply trying to explain that:

    1/Saying “Aeros are bad, they prevent overtaking!” is wrong (and think i quite explained why).
    2/FIA and teams, despite the first having succeeded in damaging more and more this area has some plans this time.
    Why it could work? because this time the consultations are done with the constructors and independent consulting.

    So saying that my post won’t change the boredom of race..well yes you’re right, but that was not the purpose of my post at all.

    Clive:
    I think you also should not misread my posts:

    “We all agree, even Ogami, that aerodynamics causes the problem”

    I never said that, i said THE WAY we use aerodynamics is the problem. This is the whole point of my post.

    “He is right in that GP2 is not the way to go because that is merely a different aerodynamic mix; the problem remains in greater or lesser degree.”

    No that’s not the same problem and you can see it as close racing is totally possible.
    The aerodynamic configuration is totally different.

    “I’m sorry folks, but that means getting rid of wings. We continue with them purely through habit, because we cannot imagine going back to a wingless F1. But they are the major source of aerodynamic downforce and they create a situation in which it is the aerodynamicist who wins races, not the team, not the engineer, not the driver”

    First i think aerodynamisists of the whole world will thank you for putting them into the “non engineer” class, i think you probably don’t know that and aerodynamisist is an engineer but well.

    You’re comment on the driver is incorrect as well, having downforce just translate the skills at higher speed.
    Why the hell do you think people are going wide, out line, spin and go out?

    Downforce allows you to take a corner faster,that all.
    This is still a tire in contact with the ground and that tire still behaves the same.

    If you think an F1 car could do even close lap times to those from the 80-07 era without wings then i think you’re more than optimistic, if those lap times are of no interest for you then: hello formula ford.

    What you’re against, is progress and i don’t blame you for that, i think you just misinterpret the current technology and F1 driving.

  8. And you miss my point, Ogami, which is that aerodynamics will always interfere with racing. By its very nature, it will create turbulence in the air immediately behind the car and it is that turbulence that prevents the following car’s aerodynamics from being as effective as intended. As a result, the car behind is always disadvantaged when close to the car in front and may find it impossible to pass, even if considerably faster in clean air.

    Your use of GP2 as an example of a different aerodynamic configuration producing a situation where overtaking is possible is mistaken. What creates overtaking opportunities for passing in GP2 is the number of errors made by the drivers; were they as good as F1 drivers, those opportunities would disappear because the cars are still fundamentally obtaining their grip through the use of aerodynamics. Why do you think there are so many crashes in GP2? It’s because the drivers have to take risks in their attempts to pass because the cars behave in much the same way as do F1 cars – and, because they are less skilled than F1 drivers, crashes become more likely.

    Of course aerodynamicists are engineers – they have chosen to specialise in one field, that’s all, and I use the terms to differentiate between them and engineers in other disciplines.

    I did not say that modern F1 drivers are unskilled – of course they are and, no doubt, would love the chance to show their overtaking skills were the cars able to deliver on that score. If we did remove the wings, it is most likely that the top drivers would still emerge as the best. But we will never know until we try it.

    You are quite wrong about the tyres. Put huge extra weight on a tyre through aerodynamic downforce and it will increase grip, allowing higher cornering speeds, yes. But remove the extra weight and guess what happens – at the limit of adhesion, the tyre slides. In other words, it loses grip progressively, and a skilled driver will be able to hold the car in that narrow zone between gripping and sliding. The problem with the extra grip provided by aerodynamic downforce is that the limit becomes a knife edge and the difference between making the corner and flying off the road so fine that nobody can hold the car at that limit. Hence the going wide, out of line and spinning that you mention.

    The difference between F1 and Formula Ford is a matter of power more than anything else. And more powerful cars are more difficult to drive, that’s all.

    I have watched F1 since 1962 and seen and understood all the progress made. And what I am saying is that aerodynamics has had its day – it was all very interesting (and predicted by me in the sixties, for what it’s worth) but we know more than enough about it now. Further “progress” in that direction will not only be wasteful of money and resources, it is very obvious that it will spoil racing too. That kind of progress I’m against, yes, and I see no harm in going back to the days when it was the clever chassis and suspension engineers, and the gifted engine designers who drove progress in F1 technology. Progress for progress’ sake is a fool’s errand.

  9. Roger said on 26th August 2007, 22:30

    I agree with Ogami. Translated to aviation, there’s a similar problem when heavy airliners are in final approach to landing. They need to have some space between aircrafts, because the clean airflow from the first comes turbulent to the following. When in finals, speed is lower, so aircrafts needs to increase the lift generated by the wing, and because of that they use flaps and slats, acting in two ways, increasing the wing span (more span = more lift) and increasing the curvature of the wing (increasing lift again). The result is a wing working on the limits of it’s efficiency, very sensible to any variation of the airflow, or the speed, or the aircraft’s pitch. Therefore, space between aircrafts is needed to allow air to be clean again. Two aircrafts on clean wing configuration do not need to observe the same restrictions. Absolutely the same on wings of F1 cars today.

  10. Ogami said on 26th August 2007, 22:48

    “it will create turbulence in the air immediately behind the car and it is that turbulence that prevents the following car’s aerodynamics from being as effective as intended. As a result, the car behind is always disadvantaged when close to the car in front and may find it impossible to pass, even if considerably faster in clean air”
    This is as true as saying the sun brings warmness on earth.

    You totally right to say that past a car turbulence is created.
    Where this get wrong in relation to the topic is that you associate “turbulence” with “no overtaking”.

    An object moving will always create aerodynamic forces on it, even a wingless car, and believe it or not but a wingless car following another wingless car would still have balance deficiencies by being in the wake of it, and would still risk to be winded when trying to overtake.
    Now you’ll come and say “But this would be negligible!” yes, it would just like it is possible to have negligible impact with aerodynamics well shaped.

    So, yes in essence an object moving into fluids spoils the air..but unless you prove it you can’t do without it.

    “Your use of GP2 as an example of a different aerodynamic configuration producing a situation where overtaking is possible is mistaken. What creates overtaking opportunities for passing in GP2 is the number of errors made by the drivers; were they as good as F1 drivers, those opportunities would disappear because the cars are still fundamentally obtaining their grip through the use of aerodynamics”

    No, the configuration is no the same, the GP2 car is a Ground effect car, and ground effect cars are by nature cars that are far less sensible to perturbations and also create less perturbations and do not need aggressive diffusers.

    Why gp2 are not like F1 cars, or more precisely why F1 cars are not like Gp2? because F1 cars are overpowered (more speed>more downforce>more speed>more downforce and so on)and competitiveness in it would bring unsafe speeds.

    “Why do you think there are so many crashes in GP2? It’s because the drivers have to take risks in their attempts to pass because the cars behave in much the same way as do F1 cars – and, because they are less skilled than F1 drivers, crashes become more likely”

    You suppose there’s more overtaking in GP2 because of level lacking and now you say there’s crash because overtaking are not easy?
    There’s some problem in this argument i think.

    “Of course aerodynamicists are engineers – they have chosen to specialise in one field, that’s all, and I use the terms to differentiate between them and engineers in other disciplines.”

    Actually in one period F1 speed was down to engines, witch negated chassis and tires engineers, then the lap times were in the tires hands thus engines departments were left with little activity..

    This changes every time, this is F1, this one of the aspect of F1, always changing.

    “You are quite wrong about the tyres. Put huge extra weight on a tyre through aerodynamic downforce and it will increase grip, allowing higher cornering speeds, yes. But remove the extra weight and guess what happens – at the limit of adhesion, the tyre slides. In other words, it loses grip progressively, and a skilled driver will be able to hold the car in that narrow zone between gripping and sliding. The problem with the extra grip provided by aerodynamic downforce is that the limit becomes a knife edge and the difference between making the corner and flying off the road so fine that nobody can hold the car at that limit. Hence the going wide, out of line and spinning that you mention.”

    Actually what you mention here is a function of tires. You do not need to have 2 tonnes of downforce to have a tire that slides suddenly. This is a tire specificity and it depends on drivers preferences.
    Abrupt sliding tires allow for more extreme performance at the cost of sliding without any warning, the others are more progressive but do not allow you to be as aggressive.

    What make an F1 departing faster is just the speed.
    With speed the slip angle increase faster thus overtaking this max slip angle occurs faster.

    This, to say that, aeros or not, if you want to retain speed, you need grip, and if you have that grip that just mean speed, then fast slide.

    On a final note, i agree on something with you: F1 should not be all for aeros…but it’s only the case for some part.

    For example engines casings are aero restricted and from 2011 this won’t be the case anymore.
    Suspensions are (just that today GP¨, ferrari had a novel and quite unusual rotary suspension) already innovating but more innovation would be welcome.

    Actually downforce is a virtual weight that has to be translated to the tires and this is quite a hard thing to do (=suspension geometry).

  11. It seems we could argue this one until Keith bans us from his site, Ogami. But we are not that far apart really – we do agree to the essential point that aerodynamics has become too important in today’s F1. My suggestion of removing wings is a harsh and radical solution, I know, but I feel that it is necessary if we are to solve the problem once and for all. You are not the only one who will disagree with me on that; time will tell which of us is right.

  12. Nathan Jones said on 27th August 2007, 2:21

    use formula Ford as an example of F1 with no wings in terms of the racing u’ll get!
    for mine the “racing” in F1 gets worse each year and hasnt been any good for countless years!
    tho i do agree that we should ban refuelling considering the “safety” conciousness of the sport and yet that is easily the most dangerous thing they do, but if we go get rid of it then we wont get any order changes as thats the only way they happen these days!

  13. oliver osima said on 27th August 2007, 3:31

    i find it funny, that repeatedly kimi keeps setting the fastest lap times while running behind the leaders, and in my own opinion, it is totally pointless an excercise, what is he trying to say, that if he was in front, he would have won the race?…As far as im concerned that is much of ******** as an assumption can be.

    Consistently he has always made mistakes in qualifying which have penalised his starting position, if he was really that good and worth every penny he is paid,,he would make less mistakes in qualifying, and stop trying to fool people that he almost won….

    and let me ask, of what use is massa at the risk of destroying his lead, goin all out for a fastest lap time, when he can simply drive at the safest speeds necessary to win.

    Drivers with quality always express such, when it matters most, with consistency often during qualifying, so they maximise their potential and dont come out saying they were bored because they couldnt over take,,,,as far as im concerned he was bored because he didnt win, even montaya said this of him some time back, setting fastest times when its pointless…

    ferrari has never really been sensible when it comes to drivers pay, and in this occassion,,they simply missed the boat completely,,,paying goodness knows how much for an assistant world champion to drive a car that is already fully developed..sigh

  14. oliver osima said on 27th August 2007, 4:39

    On aerodynamics, yes i must agree with a lot that has been said on here, and its funny to see clive and ogami arguing and using the exact same analogy to prove ther point and yet not realise they say exactly the same thing most of the time.

    we all agree, that formula one is a bore, and for a purist like me, whose main pre occupation is not reall over taking but the efficiency of technology on the cars,,, the glorious sounds of those totured engines,, the fast paced heart beat and beads of pespiration as the lights go green, thats often my trill,

    i dont mind cars following themselves close together at very high speed so long as they are not very far apart, and believe me the anticipation of an overtake generatated by a battle perhaps many moments or laps back ,,that provides the thrill for spectators,, positive or negative, and not a car just zooming past another like it was standing still

    lets be honest we dont really want to see cars changing position every moment swaping position so often u dont even know who is where…cause u would soon tire of that…

    lets face it wings play a certain part in the whole equation, but i dont think removing wings totally solves the problem, like anybody know..even or our roads..law or absense of it permitting…if ur running at speeds in a saloon car and ur getting close to another car thats also running at speed…at that point ur trying to over take,,,u may find ur car is not really firmly on the road…u would feel ur steering getting lighter and of course u would lose some confidence in it…but that is not even driving at the fastests speed possible, u can now imagine how it would be when ur driving on the limits and ur path has limited room for mistakes, when ur faced with such disruptive airflow..if u drift to the side by even a few inches, ur may totally miss ur perfect path through that corner, and this is further excercebated by the fact that the tracks they often race on..have only a single line no matter how wide if u want to carry maximum speed or minimum time…it even gets worse when ur on those dusty circuits where once offline grip is totally gone. so yes..wings my contribute..but i believe with or without them u may not necessarily have good over taking.

    the tires too play a part in it all, notice how lap times are wayward on those green circuits b4 rubber is layed down, if u have tires that are virtually running in liquid state, they would produce some form of adhesion and as the grip improves, precision improves too, a driver would need to make a massive mistake like running off track to encourage over taking and lets not forget,, because of the risk of being over taken…engine builders have worked on the acceleration of their cars…while down force can affect this acceleration, most teams routinely run at very similar down force levels and as such u get the concertina effect…they accelerate,, a gap opens..they brake..u catch up..then they accelerate again,,,,result..boredom.

    the true reason i believe the sport is one, getting boring, and 2 very very expensive is cause of the rules

    lets face it…formula 1 has rules and regs almost as much as a state,…everything is defined and must be adhered to….try reading through some of the documentation,..sorry i dont have the link now but when i do, i will post it….you will find soo much talk of reference lines, and manimum this and maximum that…
    this even requires experts and lawyers to interprete
    by the time u try designing a car to meet the regulations, it comes out very expensive, i dont mind regulations that makes for driver safety..but when u come to things like brake cooling ducts..why must that be regulated and likewise other silly things too.

    the net effect is one a team has built the cars to the regulation,,a very small variation of attention to detail can either make a car very fast or slow and as far as im concerned the regulations affect the smaller teams. honestly it gets soo tiring writing on these subjects cause max sees himself as a politician running a state, and u know how much excitement u find goin through state affairs….yawn

  15. Sean said on 27th August 2007, 5:06

    Kimi better watch his mouth. Max Moronsly and Bernie E. will have him brought in to face the WMSC on charges of bring the sport/parade into disrepute.

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