McLaren waiting for “clarity” on Mercedes DRS

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2012In the round-up: McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says the team will wait for a clarification on Mercedes’ controversial DRS before deciding whether to create their own version.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

McLaren?s Paddy Lowe on rules, tyres and upgrades (F1)

Paddy Lowe: “I think what we need at this point is clarity. I would say it would have been better to have clarity before now. So we?ll have to see what the next event – in China – will bring us in that sense. Until we?ve got clarity it?s difficult for us to commit a huge about of effort in that direction.”

Growing calls to cancel Bahrain GP (Al Jazeera)

Teams ‘not worried’ by Bahrain GP (BBC)

Bernie Ecclestone: “None of the teams have expressed any concern to me – quite the opposite.”

Bahrain dilemma tests resolve of teams (The Times, subscription required)

“It is impossible to find a team principal either wanting to go to Bahrain or willing to go on record as saying so. Formula One?s long-established code of ‘omerta’ operates at all times, even when the moral vacuum surrounding a race that could end in bloody violence and disruption threatens to suck the participants into a political farce of epic proportions.”

Bahrain condemns ‘scaremongering’ over F1 race (Reuters)

“‘Yes, there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements,’ the Lotus report said in excerpts reproduced in the Bahrain circuit statement.”

Statement (Lotus)

“Earlier today, the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) issued a press release attributing quotes to our team showing support for the Bahrain GP. These quotes were part of a full internal and confidential working document, that was also sent on a confidential basis to all F1 team managers last week.”

History repeating in Bahrain? (Unibet)

My latest column for Unibet, on the subject that is commanding the most attention in F1 at the moment.

On flotation (Joe Saward)

“There is still a certain amount of astonishment in F1 circles that McLaren agreed to be part of such a deal and the cynics in F1 have suggested that McLaren?s willingness to be involved was simply because Mumtalakat, a Bahrain government-linked investment company, which owns 50 percent of McLaren, was encouraged by Bernie Ecclestone to encourage McLaren to agree to his wishes.”

Comment of the day

Alianora La Canta gives a useful reminder on the rules relating to the potential cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix:

It?s also worth noting that a cancellation of the race within three months of its due date leads to its automatic removal from the following year?s calendar unless force majuere is deemed by the FIA to have occurred. This is due to Article 5.6 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.

The organisers can’t prove force majuere, only suggest it (if they feel that’s appropriate).

Bernie, thanks to the separation of commerce and sporting powers enforced by the EU rulings of 2001, can only stop the event if he isn’t paid or some other financial element of the contract is breached (something which nobody has accused the Bahrain organisers of doing).

The FIA appears to be attempting to establish Bahrain as a model country in terms of what good things a country can get if it does what the FIA wishes of it, as a means of encouraging other Middle Eastern countries to follow suit. So even if Bahrain itself contributed little to the FIA, the knock-on effects of a strong presence in Bahrain could lead to the FIA getting a lot of money from other countries.

The latter may not be proven but its actions imply that, given that there were better choices than Bahrain for the WEC race and that, unlike F1, doesn?t have a Bernie-style commercial director participating in the selection process.
Alianora La Canta

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On this day in F1

The FIA moved to reduce downforce levels in 2009 by placing tight new restrictions on aerodynamics.

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84 comments on McLaren waiting for “clarity” on Mercedes DRS

  1. Polishboy808 said on 11th April 2012, 0:05

    I think “clarity” has been the most used word in F1 so far this year….

  2. Olivier42 (@olivier42) said on 11th April 2012, 0:09

    Red Bull got a fair amount of backlash on this site because they didn’t seem to want to let go of the Mercedes DRS controversy. Can we expect a similar reaction against McLaren? Somehow, I doubt it. That interview is a good read though, very reasonable.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 0:18

      @olivier42 – Having read the McLaren stance, I think they’re being quite moderate about it. It’s a case of “We’ll wait and see”, and they don’t seem too concerned one way or the other as to whether the FWFD gets banned.

      Red Bull, on the other hand, come across as desperate because they’re constantly bringing it up and wanting “clarification”, even though it’s been declared legal three times.

      • Olivier42 (@olivier42) said on 11th April 2012, 0:24

        Agreed – McLaren’s position is quite reasonable. All the top teams want to be 100% sure one way or another though, and all for the same reason. If it’s legal, they will copy. If it’s illegal, they want Mercedes to stop using it. The funny thing obviously is that the FIA has already said multiple times that it’s legal. We’ll see if they change their minds.

      • You know, I’m the first to admit I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and once again I’m confused. As you say, the Mercedes system has been declared legal — what — three times? And yet the very reasonable, moderate McLaren team is still awaiting clarification before they develop a version of their own? Why would they be waiting for clarification when clarification has already been given more than once?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 0:51

          Because Red Bull are forcing the issue. Why else?

          • So Red Bull (and Lotus, it has to be said) continuing to ask for clarification after it’s already been given three times means that Whiting et al. might change their minds about the legality of the system? And the other, more reasonable teams, who would otherwise have been totally content to accept the first (or second, or third) ruling without question and get to work on their own version, are waiting to see whether Whiting decides Horner or Allison has a point this time? They can’t possibly have a point, can they?

            I mean, you say it’s because Red Bull are “forcing the issue.” How can anyone think there is still a legitimate issue to force?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 1:20

            How can anyone think there is still a legitimate issue to force?

            That’s my point. There is no issue. Declaring the system legal three times should be more than enough for anyone. But Christian Horner in particular hasn’t given up on it. The FIA has declared the FWFD legal, but what they haven’t done is gone into detail about how the system works. And that’s what Horner wants – for the FIA and/or Mercedes to spell out the exact nature of the FWFD so that Red Bull can make their own version and introduce it faster than if they had to work it out from scratch. Especially since the RB8 is so disappointing. Failing that, he wants the FIA to ban the system so that whatever advantage Mercedes has is lost. He appears to be genuinely afraid that, given their current pace relative to one another, Red Bull’s position will be threatened by Mercedes, and he will do anything to see that they don’t pass Red Bull.

          • That’s my point. There is no issue.

            And that’s why I’m wondering: what’s McLaren waiting for? Red Bull (AND LOTUS) don’t have a leg to stand on, so why doesn’t McLaren get on with their lives? Or maybe they’re waiting to have the details spelled out for them as well?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 1:35

            And that’s why I’m wondering: what’s McLaren waiting for?

            Probably for a final verdict that will shut everyone up once and for all.

          • Scalextric (@scalextric) said on 11th April 2012, 1:58

            Until we’ve got clarity it’s difficult for us to commit a huge about of effort in that direction.

            Says Paddy Lowe.
            I doubt they are really waiting. I’m sure they’re working on it to some degree and costing out a project, developing ideas and calculating some basic aero that would be ready to go if it became clear that there were worthwhile benefits. Otherwise they’re more foolish than should be expected after these three extant clarifications. I would also not expect them to announce such a project to the world, deception in these areas is part of the game.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 11th April 2012, 3:13

            Will it be a final verdict though? What if Red Bull get their clarification and start making their own version of the system? I assume R&D and production will have to suddenly halt just having gotten under way, as Sauber launch their own personal objection, the existing verdicts not being good enough for them. And then Williams. Then Ferrari. I’m just scared that there will never be a final verdict, just a tirade of pointless objections and lack of clarity from the FIA, spiralling through the season until that beautiful moment when they just ban the damn thing before 2013.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2012, 6:17

            Its hard to tell exactly why and what @aka_robyn, but it does seem that no one can be completely sure yet about Whiting or the FIA stewards not changing the game on that DRS-activated ducting.

            Who knows, maybe Red Bull found out they have nothing to gain from such a system but keep voicing complaints etc to keep others who could benefit by using it from putting this system on their cars so far!

          • as Sauber launch their own personal objection, the existing verdicts not being good enough for them. And then Williams. Then Ferrari. I’m just scared that there will never be a final verdict, just a tirade of pointless objections

            @matt90 Nah, I don’t think we need to worry about the other teams objecting. I’ve now learned it’s only Red Bull (and Horner particularly) who do this sort of thing.

            Who knows, maybe Red Bull found out they have nothing to gain from such a system but keep voicing complaints etc to keep others who could benefit by using it from putting this system on their cars so far!

            @bascb Hahaha! Could be! A smart move…

          • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 11th April 2012, 13:07

            Who knows, maybe Red Bull found out they have nothing to gain from such a system but keep voicing complaints etc to keep others who could benefit by using it from putting this system on their cars so far!

            For me, it seems it could be either either:
            a) a delaying tactic. Of course they want it to be banned, but if the other teams are hesitant to develope it while objections are going on, it may give Red Bull an advantage, or
            b) a confidence trick. RB may have discovered that it doesn’t give as much advantage as people think. They could be playing a game by objecting so hard, making other teams think they see a huge advantage and forcing them to dedicate more resources to a virtual dead-end, once again giving RB an advantage.

            The trouble with situations like this is it is all conjecture. We don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors.

        • Dom said on 11th April 2012, 9:04

          Clarification is being awaited because the FIA stated that they are going to reassess the fdfw: http://bbc.in/INu9GP

          Some people were speculating that red bull had been whispering that unless it was banned, it may open up the opportunity for other types of DRS-activated aerodynamic devices

          • Some people were speculating that red bull had been whispering that unless it was banned, it may open up the opportunity for other types of DRS-activated aerodynamic devices

            There’s no need for speculation or whispering — it would absolutely open up that opportunity. I don’t see how it couldn’t! James Allison (of Lotus) said as much just a few days ago:

            If this is allowed you’ll see everyone doing it, and it won’t stop there, there are many, many other things that can happen.

        • It must be illegal if Red Bull did not think of it!

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 11th April 2012, 0:49

        What goes round, comes around ?

      • Leon said on 11th April 2012, 11:13

        Ref. Red Bull v Mercedes. For ‘Clarification’ read ‘Ban’. I like Horner, comes across as a decent bloke, but he’s dancing to the powerman’s tune….. Mattesitche and his cohorts are pulling his strings. But, as others show here, all the teams need to be absolutely certain that if they start spending huge amounts of R&D money on developing their own F-duct, the system won’t get banned by Charlie Whiting having a rethink.

    • Red Bull wanted clarity for the same reason as Mclaren do….so they can copy it. It would be a great nusiance to have developed their own system just to have it banned.

      • joebloggs said on 11th April 2012, 19:53

        To be fair, Charlie and the FIA have previous convictions for doing just that – ruling something legal and then changing their minds. The J-damper, for example. And the use of some precious metal or other in the engines. And not quite on point, but Michelin tyres. And the whole off-throttle blown diffuser fiasco.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 11th April 2012, 14:28

      I think there is more whining on this site about Horner than Horner himself is allegedly ‘whining’ to the FIA about F-ducts.

      Up until now, everyone here was assuming Mac was being quiet about this because of the politics of Mac having Merc engines. Well now Lowe has stated pretty much the same thing as Horner. All Horner has said is he is waiting for clarification so he will know how to proceed. And now Lowe has echoed it. It’s almost like every time there is a headline about this people around here think Horner has yet again gone to Whiting for the umpteenth time, when that is not the case at all.

      I don’t think Horner has a reputation for forcing the issue like this all the time, does he? And do people actually think he is ‘just a whiner?’ Kinda degrades F1 doesn’t it, to portray it is having childish, jealous, afraid, whiners running teams? I think it is more likely he is an extremely successful professional and must have good cause for pursuing this.

      Given that he is a professional, and not an immature whiner who is ‘afraid’ of the competition, or ‘afraid’ of being behind on F-ducts, I think he must have very good ground to stand on to have had Whiting continue to consider this issue. After all, if all Horner has been doing is whining, like most around here accuse him of, then wouldn’t Whiting have shut the door on him, and Lotus, and now Mac, the first time, or the second, or the third? It takes two to tango, and OBVIOUSLY Whiting has not given the teams a resounding ‘NO go away, Mercs system is legal and I won’t look at what you are proposing to do in answer to their system,’ like he did with double diffusers and EBD. Those were deemed legal and others’ proceeded quite quickly to adapt. Ask yourselves why.

      I would suggest that Horner MUST have a great argument to Whiting as to what can happen if he continues to allow the Merc system. I personally think that Whiting will still allow it and I think that is what Horner expects, and that what is going on here is that Red Bull and others have a lot of other ideas in mind if a secondary useage for the DRS when that wing is moved by the driver continues to be allowed.

      a) the F-duct has been deemed illegal in quite recent times, which is why Red Bull and others don’t have it…they thought it was illegal.

      b) the F-duct is enacted by an action of the driver in the cockpit.

      c) therefore it is at a bare minimum a highly debatable issue and as I say OBVIOUSLY has not been clarified enough as to it’s parameters by Whiting or else the teams would have let it go and moved on by now knowing what to do next.

      I say that what is far more close to the reality on this issue than Horner just being a child, like he is being portrayed here, is that Newey, and I’ll use an extreme example, has let’s say 3 things he is about to instigate by opening an air channel behind the DRS wing. ‘OK Charley, you say Merc will remain legal, so here’s our drawings as to how we will channel air up to the side pods, the floor, and around the exhaust tips, and the rear diffuser all at the same time and it is going to give us 20% more downforce. We’re too late to run it up to our front wing through the chassis because we thought this was illegal, but since it isn’t then please tell us that we can have 3 different other aspects of the car affected at once by the driver controlling the DRS. And if/when we do this we will know that no matter how much the teams complain, you have clarified that this is ok.’

      I don’t think Newey et al is waiting for China to start designing an answer to Merc. I think they already have several things they can do, but only need the clarification they are asking for in order to proceed. I think they are expecting the Merc F-duct to remain legal, but with much more explaination from Whiting as to his thinking as to why this isn’t an aero advantage controlled by the driver, much more clarification as to what the limits are, if any. Once Whiting clarifies it is ok and here’s why, and here’s the limits (or lack thereof) to which it can be utilized, the floodgates of secondary aero useages to the DRS will open up. As Horner has stated, it is far cheaper and easier for them if Merc is deemed illegal, but as I say I don’t think Horner is expecting that answer, or at least he is not banking on it. I think he is just looking for the ok on what Red Bull is about to do, and I think the possibilities are nearly endless, and I predict for them will have much more to do with sealing/unsealing the exhaust gases around the diffuser which made them so successful last year, than dealing with ducting in the front wing. I would bank on Newey having something far more ingenius up his sleeve than Merc’s F-duct. Something that he no doubt has been considering longer than Merc has, but for it’s supposed illegality.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 11th April 2012, 16:42

        So….thinking about it from the technical side, let’s assume in China Whiting oks Merc’s F-duct system once and for all and clarifies to the teams why, to their ‘satisfaction’ or at least to their full understanding, since he’s already done it 3 times, and he tells the teams he will no longer address the issue…he has given them the parameters as to secondary passive benefits of the DRS wing when operated by the driver…and let’s assume the end result of Whiting clarifying this goes beyond Horner having a hissy fit and throwing himself on the ground kicking and screaming, such as some seem to portray his character…

        As everyone knows, the DRS is meant to take away downforce at a specific time(s) during a race lap to lighten the car up and promote it’s ability to pass the car in front with which it is within one second…in practice and quali the DRS is used at will by the drivers, not dependant on being within a second of a car in a designated zone ahead of a designated straightaway. Merc’s system further takes downforce off the front wing, making them very fast in practice and quali, and less so in the races (so far). But Merc’s system doesn’t add any downforce at any time…just takes it off the front wing (and perhaps or likely affects airflow from the front wing back) at the same time that it is being taken off the rear wing. When DRS is closed they go back to ‘normal’ downforce.

        I’m no engineer, but if I’m Red Bull et al, what is to stop them from having (as one option) holes at the ends of the moveable DRS wing such that it does the opposite of Merc’s system? When the DRS wing is CLOSED, air is allowed into the rear wing endplates and channeled around the sidepods, and/or the floor, and/or to seal air around the diffuser in such a way as to ADD downforce when the DRS wing is closed. I’m presuming the teams are too late to run air channels all the way through the chassis to the front wing as that would have had to have been done upon design and construction of the teams’ current cars and the majority thought they would be doing something illegal by doing that, so they didn’t.

        But the Merc experiment has shown itself to be not nearly as effective when DRS useage is limited. If I’m Red Bull et al, I’m going to try to figure out a way to advantage myself for the majority of the lap on race day, not the minority. And on Friday and Saturday for that matter. So if I’m Red Bull/Lotus/Mac/anybody else, even Merc…when the DRS flap is closed air is channeled/funneled throughout any part of the car they want since going all the way up to the front of the car will presumably remain fine, and directed not to stall an aero part of the car out and remove it’s downforce effect, but to enhance downforce by changing/directing air pressure in the opposite way Merc’s F-duct does.

        So I envision that when Red Bull’s rear wing is closed the rear wing endplate openings are exposed and they could gain a bunch of downforce more to do with clawing back that which they lost with restrictions to their exhaust configuration, and when the rear wing opens, the air channels close, the car lightens up when they need it too, and thus they have had a huge net gain for the majority of the lap, rather than just an enhancement of the purpose of the DRS only at the time when DRS is allowed to be used, like with Merc. As I say, Merc doesn’t gain anything with their system other than greater loss of downforce than the other teams when the DRS is activated. I think Red Bull et al will look to actually gain downforce (and potentially lots of it) with their system for the majority of the lap and lose it when needed on Friday and Saturday and when allowed on Sunday.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2012, 19:21

          Hm, Robbie. I see one flaw in that line of thought, and I guess its a pretty fundamental one.

          Why would Red Bull really want to close any such ducting using the DRS flap? That is, if they were able to come up with it in a way to ad downforce like that within the scope of the rulebook?

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 11th April 2012, 20:57

            @bascb…yes, assuming they keep it within Whiting’s parameters, ie. within the rulebook, the clarification they are asking for…

            With my hypothetical scenario which advantages Red Bull and others in a way that is opposite to Merc, they would “want to close any such ducting using the DRS flap” IF that would have the opposite effect that it does for Merc…ie. rather than having the act of closing the flap close the ducts, which has the consequence of reinstating the full effect of the front wing, instead, closing the ducts by OPENING the flap would stop the effect of, for example, a channel of air placed strategically to help seal air around the diffuser, thus relieving the car of some downforce, thus speeding it up in the same way the Merc speeds up when downforce is scrubbed off the front wing.

            The difference being that on race day when the flap is closed for the vast majority of the lap by law, that is when Red Bull has gained downforce, as a closed flap to them would mean open ducts due to small holes at the ends of the flap that would expose air to the same type of openings (ducts) Merc has in the inside of their rear wing endplates, and therefore adding downforce with said strategically placed air channels that would, as I say as one example, help seal air at the diffuser as opposed to stalling out a wing.

            I use sealing air around the diffuser as something I could see Red Bull concentrating on because they were perhaps hurt the most with the exhaust configuration changes diminishing the effects of EBD that they so enjoyed last year. And if the teams have been caught out by not running channels up through the chassis to the front like Merc did, then they may have to concentrated on channeling air other ways than to do with the front wing, which right now is having debatable consequences that seem less significant with limited DRS useage on race day when it counts anyway.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2012, 21:06

            Yes, I get that they would want to get MORE Downforce. But I do not see the sense of wanting to lose same DF when the DRS is activating.
            It would be far more logical to have an opening that offers extra DF for the whole race instead, instead of making it complicated and less effective with binding it in with the DRS system.

        • Hallard (@hallard) said on 11th April 2012, 19:48

          What an interesting idea!

          I think that there might be some issues with it, such as trading off some of the efficiency/downforce of the rear wing itself by piping the air elsewhere when the DRS is closed, but you’re definitely thinking like an F1 designer…

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 11th April 2012, 21:21

            @hallard…I hear you…as I said I am no engineer but I will suggest that the trade-off to the efficiency of the rear wing itself with my idea would not be the piping of air elsewhere (that itself doesn’t seem to hurt Merc)…air is still hitting the rear wing and the moveable flap first, and with my idea when the flap is closed air is getting through small holes at the ends of the flaps and into the ducts built into the insides of the rear wing endplates. For me the trade-off would just be that one would lose the effective surface area of the flap equal to the size of the holes cut into the ends of the flap. But let’s say if that only amounts to a couple of square inches, the added downforce if all the while air channels are sealing air at the diffuser much more effectively, would presumably cause a net gain in downforce in spite of a slight loss in surface area of the flap.

            An F1 engineer might think I am off my rocker for all I know, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with the thinking that if Merc gains little advantage when it counts on Sunday, I’d be trying to do the opposite and have a system work for the vast majority of EVERY lap, not the vast minority of only the laps that see them within a second of a car.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 11th April 2012, 22:09

            @bascb…I’m confused a little by your comment because I think you are saying the same thing I am. I thought the whole idea of DRS is to take away downforce (drag reduction), thus speeding the cars up along straights…as soon as they get to the corner at the end of the straight the flap closes because they need their downforce back to negotiate the corner, presumably after having passed a car.

            So for sure whereas Merc doesn’t gain any downforce with their system, but they do lose drag at the front, not just the back, when their DRS is activated, making for even higher speeds on straights, I advocate a system that, (once confirmed legal once and for all with a can of worms opening up as to air being passively channeled throughout a car), would as you say offer added downforce for the whole race and only take it away when needed, when DRS is activated.

            I am assuming the teams have already found ways to gain all (or most of) the DF they can muster under the current rules and without most of the benefit of EBD. If they can find a way as you suggest to simply gain more DF without binding it into DRS, great, but that is not the issue. We are talking about the can of worms that is being suggested by the likes of Allison and Horner if secondary uses of the DRS operated by the driver retain their legality. Even if the teams find ways to gain downforce as you suggest, wouldn’t they still like to ‘turn said added downforce off’ at the same time DRS is turning the drag down, doing it’s thing as the FIA have permitted, and presumably Whiting will confirm they want the teams to have the ability to do to promote passing?

            Hence my binding it in with DRS and rear wing ducts. They will imho first of all find added DF by using air channels that they weren’t sure were even legal and presumably will be confirmed so, and on top of that they will be able to shut down said found DF when that will count the most…the DRS zone. To just find DF without binding it to DRS will leave them without a Merc type advantage of reducing drag more than everyone else when the flap is open. They will have more downforce but still only be able to rely on the rear flap opening to reduce drag when allowed.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 0:15

    I find this interesting – it quotes a report from Lotus, who sent a person to Bahrain to assess the situation:

    “Yes, there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements. If there is going to be protestation then it will be confined to peaceful protests – you will maybe see some banners being waved and maybe some tyres on fire but that is all that they expect.

    “We came away from Bahrain feeling a lot more confident that everything is in hand and to be honest if it wasn’t for a few more police you wouldn’t know any difference from the last year we were there.”

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 0:24

      Sorry, I missed that in the round-up.

    • dpod (@dpod) said on 11th April 2012, 2:44

      maybe some tyres on fire

      Sounds like he is used to this, just shrugging it off like that.

      • xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 11th April 2012, 3:24

        Cause its really not that uncommon. The French are always setting things on fire.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 3:41

        @dpod – You know perfectly well what the author means: while there are likely to be demonstrations, they are not expecting violence. If all it took to get a race cancelled was a group of people with placards burning a tyre, then anyone who didn’t like their local race because of the noise could get a race called off and all it would cost them is about $50 at their local hardware store and a spare tyre. Furthermore, I draw your attention to Lotus’ statement, in which they say that the report was intended to be confidential, but they don’t actually deny anything contained within it.

        • dpod (@dpod) said on 11th April 2012, 3:51

          I’m fairly neutral on whether the Bahrain GP should go ahead or not as I’m not much into politics. What you say is right and won’t argue with that, I was just a little baffled to see waving banners and burning tyres in the same sentence.

  4. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 11th April 2012, 0:16

    Is Mercedes DRS actually making that much of a difference..? I mean they may have some straight line speed advantage but I think the 1st few races have proved that other than that it’s doing nothing :/

    But on the flip side maybe it’s doing wonders for them and without it they would be in the same boat as Ferrari..

    • DVC said on 11th April 2012, 1:03

      Whether it works or not is largely beside the point.

    • Matt (@agentmulder) said on 11th April 2012, 1:13

      It’s a qualifying thing. Mercedes hoped that, combined with a respectable race pace, they could use the FWFD to get the jump on some other sharp-end teams and stay there.

      Problem is, like 2011, Merc can’t manage to get their tires working. By the time they have this worked out, chances are other teams will start introducing their own systems. Most will probably not function as well as the Merc system, after all the team invested heavily into getting all the parts just so.

      But, as it goes in the engineering world, someone is bound to to it better. It might be Ferrari, it might be Lotus, heck, for all his whining Red Bull may beat Mercedes at their own game once they join the R&D effort.

      That is, unless Charlie nearly gets killed by Horner’s incessant whining and they decide to declare it illegal for Charlie’s own safety, despite the system having been cleared not once, not twice, but thrice.

      • nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 11th April 2012, 1:24

        So then why is it being questioned further-more if it’s already been cleared thrice!!??

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 1:37

          @nemo87 – Because Christian Horner wants the FIA and/or Mercedes to reveal exactly how the front wing F-duct works. That way, Red Bull can built their own version faster and better than if they had tried to start from scratch.

          • nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 11th April 2012, 1:48

            In the same way everyone wanted to know how red bulls blown diffuser and ‘flexi wing’ worked..

            Not saying this cause I’m a mclaren fan and I know everyone had a whine about red bulls ‘innovations’ last season but red bull seem to have spat their dummy out good and proper after just the first coupe of races as things don’t seem to be going their way. Whilst a few teams seem to have taken a back seat on this Horner seems to be nit-picking like a kid at some one who has a better toy than he does.. Or at least this is how it’s being portrayed

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 11th April 2012, 16:59

            I think Red Bull already knows exactly how Merc’s front wing works and could have or would have something better on their car if they had known it was going to be legal…I think they have some much more effective things in mind that they have already done computer modelling on in recent years as side projects, and particularly as they knew that last year Merc was experimenting with this in later stages of the season, and just need Whiting to clarify why operating a driver controlled device can be harnessed for secondary purposes. I would suggest that Horner may have even suggested to Whiting that they could/will run channels to 5 or 6 areas of the car at once, if secondary purposes are allowed by a driver-controlled device. Some might take away downforce when needed in one spot while enhancing it in others, at the same time… or any number of infinite possibilities depending on the parameters Whiting spells out.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 11th April 2012, 7:11

      Mercedes system is pretty effective on Saturdays and Red Bull believes that they would out qualify Mercedes without their FWFD, but looking at Mercedes performances on Sundays it looks a bit too much to protest every five minutes…

    • Perhaps the FIA should just ditch the faux overtaking aid (a legal driver activated aero device). It does not really bring much to the racing and now appears to be the new loophole to be exploited.

  5. HoHum (@hohum) said on 11th April 2012, 1:09

    It appears that the Bahrain rulers are confident that they can suppress any dissent in the vicinity of the racetrack, doesn’t that make you feel good to know that they will go to any lengths to enable us to enjoy watching a race?

    • Krišjānis (@maldikons) said on 11th April 2012, 7:49

      I feel good that organizers can go at any lengths to protect the racers who will go there, besides the idea of using the race as a stage for protests and “we are also here” kind of message is a bit strange.

    • Dev (@dev) said on 11th April 2012, 11:28

      so are Chinese rulers they are using massive force against peaceful protest of Tibetians or for that matter any protest. Human rights record of Chinese is far worse than Bahrain.

      • Krišjānis (@maldikons) said on 11th April 2012, 13:18

        I think that FIA as a responsible entity for the races shouldn’t now change mind and becme involved in this political mess. If all the teams and (mostly) public are so symphatethic with human rights – why does nobody protest against China (or any other country where there are problems)

        Right now it all seems so hypocritic – if people gets shot on streets and tortured (as the report from Bahrain claim) then it is devastating, despicable and F1 shouldn’t even go there, when there is publicly unnoticable censorship, arests and other counter-opposition moves (like in China) then everybody is keeping their mouth shut.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 1:16

    “There is still a certain amount of astonishment in F1 circles that McLaren agreed to be part of such a deal and the cynics in F1 have suggested that McLaren’s willingness to be involved was simply because Mumtalakat, a Bahrain government-linked investment company, which owns 50 percent of McLaren, was encouraged by Bernie Ecclestone to encourage McLaren to agree to his wishes.”

    I don’t think that’s the case at all. Based on the original reports of Bernie offering a stake in the sport to Ferrari and Red Bull, I think he’s trying to re-set the historical multiplier. Teams are currently paid more money from the television rights based on their ongoing presence in the sport since 1950. Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are the only ones who really beenefit from this, since they’ve been around the longest. But McLaren and Williams haven’t actually won anything since the late 1990s. I think Bernie is trying to bring that historical multiplier forward to 2000, so that while an ongoing presence is valued, recent success is better-rewarded. Because right now, Williams are finishing ninth in the World Constructors’ Championship, but they’re probably getting paid more than the teams who came sixth, seventh and eighth simply because they’ve been in the sport for longer.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2012, 6:37

      Ehm, how does that explain why McLaren would be willing to agree with Bernie on these new terms?
      As you write, they have not achieved that much since 2000 either.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 7:39

        @bascb – Because they would recognise that recent success is rewarded more than past performances. They might have gone twelve years without a WCC crown, but it’s only a matter of time before they win again. If Bernie were to reset the historical multiplier to 2000, then the changes wouldn’t come into effect until the end of the year. McLaren stand a real chance at winning the title this year, given that they were the fastest ones out of the box.

        They’re also not really that dependent upon the television rights payout to make up their budget for the next year. They’ve gone twelve years without a win, but unlike Williams, they’ve been a pretty constant fixture at the front of the grid. The money would help, but they can survive and be comeptitive without it. We only know some of the details, since only a little bit of the legal documents were published by Sky – and it just so happened to be the most explosive parts that were leaked. It’s possible that journalist had access to more, but only printed an excerpt. It’s entirely possible that there is a provision in the new Concorde that would automatically give a portion of the commercial rights to whoever wins the WCC title at the end of each year.

        And furthermore, McLaren may believe that the proposal set out is for the benefit of the sport, especially if it does allow WCC winners to get their hands on a slice of the commercial rights pie. Giving up their current claim to the historical multiplier might curry favour with Bernie later. Having Mr. E owe you a favour is something very few people can claim to own.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 4:12

    I just had an idea about Bahrain: what if the race was downgraded to non-championship, “national” status? The FIA did this to a round of the Superleague Formula in Beijing a few years ago, when the circuit failed its Grade-2 licencing. That race then became a non-championship event, classed as a national competition, and with no points scored. This would enable the race to take place, but would reduce its overall importance to the championship. Individual teams and drivers could freely choose whether or not they wanted to compete, and would not feel obligated to attend – for fear of losing championship points or being fined – if they were uncomfortable with doing so. And there would be less international exposure to be had.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 11th April 2012, 7:17

      I don’t think changing status would be that efficient.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 7:46

        What do you mean by “efficient”? All it would take is an agreement between the FIA, FOM and the teams. They could downgrade the race, and see what the Bahrainis do.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 11th April 2012, 11:44

          I mean “the world” will not see staging the race amidst social instability differently just because it’s A-grade or Z-grade race.

          At this point, I think the race will not be cancelled (and I dislike it) so all I can do is hope nothing goes wrong in terms of F1 personnel physical integrity or deaths or bloody injuries of Bahraini protesters.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 14:28

            @jcost – If the race goes ahead, I think Bahrain may well be safer than it has been at any point during the last fourteen months. The government wants to use the race to show the world that life in Bahrain is back to normal. With the eyes of the world on the country, they’re not going to want to do anything hasty. And at the same time, the protesters won’t want to be aggressive about it. If they were to injure or kill anyone connected to the race, they would probably lose whatever goodwill they have with the rest of the world.

            Two things stand out in my mind: first of all, the Lotus report. Until it was leaked, our only sources on the state of affairs in Bahrain were the Bahraini government and the FIA. One had an agenda; it was assumed the other had one, too. But the Lotus report says that the country is fairly stable at the moment, and although it was leaked as a part of Bahrain’s agenda, Lotus didn’t deny writing it.

            Secondly, I got on Google Maps and checked out the parts of Bahrain where the bigger protests are taking place. And in the past fourteen months, there has been a definite shift in the way the protests are being carried out. To start with, there had been large protests all over the country, and in prominent places like the Pearl Roundabout. But now, they’re limited to smaller, outlying suburbs. There is the occasional larger protest, like one a month ago that saw a hundred thousand people turn out, but they’re not as frequent as they once were and they’re not the same size as in the beginning. And at the same time, protester tactics have changed – there are reports of Molotov cocktails being thrown at police, arson attacks on schools, and just the other day, a home-made bomb was set off.

            I’m not saying that the protesters don’t have legitimate concerns here. But for the most part, it looks like the movement is losing momentum, and I have to wonder why. Have most of the population been subdued by the government, realising that their race has been run? Or are they satisfied with the change that has come? Are the remaining protesters the ones who are still true to their cause, or are they the hardliners who were never satisfied with the concessions the government made?

            While the Bahraini government has been the source of most of the material saying that the country is safe, the protesters are also the only source saying that the country is not safe, and that bothers me a little. When the issue of the Bahrain Grand Prix came up again, a lot of people automatically took the side of the protesters, which is understandable. Nobody here – except maybe LAK – has a truly accurate idea of the situation in Bahrain at the moment, and when everyone criticised the FIA for being so eager to go back, they looked to the teams in the hopes that cooler heads prevailed. That Lotus report is certainly much more supportive of the FIA’s stance than it is opposing it, and while The Guardian claimed that at least one team principal was uncomfortable with going back to Bahrain, it’s impossible to verify those claims since he remains anonymous. It all makes me wonder if, at the very least, Zayed al Zayani was right when he said the alarm is being caused by moral extremists and armchair experts. I know that some of the opinions I have expressed have been controversial and unpopular, but I have noticed a tendency among some users (and if they are reading this, they know who they are) to instantly take things to a moral extreme. Like when someone the other day likened the use of CS gas on large crowds to crucifixion.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 12th April 2012, 22:40

            That’s a good comment @prisoner-monkeys I’ve never considered that I should take the media view point on things no questions asked. Having the world in turmoil sells newspapers ultimately.

            I think what I need is some footage, but not just localised footage. Something comprehensive. The UK media is all over Syria at the moment. Bahrain barely gets a mention.

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 11th April 2012, 19:23

      It’s an interesting idea, Prisoner Monkeys, but there are certain problems involved. For one thing, Article 17 of the International Sporting Code places international races forming part of a championship under the FIA’s responsibility and those not part of a championship under the national ASN’s responsibility (in this case the Bahrain Motorsport Association). Asking the Bahrain Motorsport Association to take control of everything from stewarding cover to arranging for entries at 10 days’ notice would almost inevitably lead to the collapse of the race due to lack of time.

      The teams, being only contracted to do Championship races (Article 13.2 of the Sporting Regulations requires teams to do all the Championship races, but doesn’t specify any others), would no longer be obliged to go to Bahrain. If the non-championship status was imposed now, the Bahrain Motorsports Association would have 5 days to open and close entries to the championship. This is due to Article 71 of the International Sporting Code, which requires international races to close entries at least 7 days prior to the date of the race. Teams would have to duplicate all their paperwork to the FIA for the full championship in order to enter, and most likely have to pay a separate fee (as a non-championship event, teams could not get any money from Bernie for doing the race, and there would be certain expenses in competing).

      Furthermore, downgrading the race would preclude Bahrain 2013 from being included on the F1 calendar unless force majuere was demonstrated. The Bahrains are no more likely to accept that being done through a downgrade than they are through cancellation.

      There is nothing specifically preventing the FIA from unilaterally removing a race from an international series (with it kept on the international sporting calendar as an independent event or otherwise). So there’s no worry that the Bahraini people would resort to the courts (unless it was done in a way that implied politics not amounting to force majuere was involved). However, they will be seriously upset at the FIA’s behaviour and it would produce some far-reaching if regional consequences (not as serious as going to Bahrain full steam, but still significant to those involved).

  8. Gridlock said on 11th April 2012, 4:19

    Re COTD, why do you think it was postponed, not cancelled last year? No cancellation, no consequences.

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 11th April 2012, 18:01

      Firstly, thank you for making my comment COTD, Keith!

      Secondly, Gridlock, the Bahrain branch of the FIA cancelled it last year. This got the race through the loophole in Article 5.6 of the Sporting Regulations. It was explained in a follow-up post (Prisoner Monkeys asked a similar question at the time – sometimes great minds think alike) but I neglected to answer the point within the comment that got made COTD.

  9. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 11th April 2012, 4:34

    Everything other than the headline had something to do with Bahrain today.

  10. bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 11th April 2012, 6:19

    I am honestly surprised that Mclaren is owned by the bahrain royals.

    I am surprised that there seems to be a lot of agitation on this site to ban the bahrain race yet no one has come out protesting/boycotting mclaren.

    Why aren’t all these active people calling for Mclaren to be banned/sanctioned from the sport etc etc.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2012, 6:28

      Not many people are very much into who exactly own what team. For example, its hard to tell what money is behind LotusF1, or HRT. Williams is partly on the stock markets, but could be owned by some of them as well. And Mercedes – the car maker – is also largely owned by a middle eastern royal investment fund. The same that also supports Torro Rosso with a lot of money.

      But in light of the point brought forward by Joe Saward (I think it originated from a commenter on his blog) highlights this might be of influence in the whole picture.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 11th April 2012, 12:02

        I think Ferrari has strong relations with Abu Dhabi masters, so far it’s not a “sin” but we never know. Maybe McLaren was not aware of what royals are capable of to fend off any attempt of regime changing revolution.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 11th April 2012, 17:09

      They ain’t owned by them.

  11. Please cancel the race, just to stop protester from getting chance to show up.
    If you have sympathy with protester, you have to know for what they are protesting which I do not hear anybody taking about, do they have the right to protest for what they ask?
    You all say that there are human right violations, what are those violations? I do not hear anybody talk about also. If somebody try to get your car in fire and you hit him, and you are blamed and jailed because you are violated human right? So if the police protecting people property from been stolen and get in fire, are they violating human right? Trying to open blocked road from people who stop 3 cars in the middle of the road to prevent 10000 people from reaching their jobs, are they violated human right? Did British police violated human right when they try to protect stores and cars from protesters in London and other cities a few months ago? Or when American police remove protester by force from wall street? Answer is no because the protester cross the line of what is right.
    I know there are unfair treatment from government, but if you running company and you have employ that you know his loyalty is to your competitor, so you will not give him any benefits until he prove that he is loyal to the company that give him a decent life.
    Another thing why the Bahrain protester not critical about what happening in Syria, even there are 10 times killing and violation of human right? If you want to know why, just try to search for any IRANIAN news agency and you will know why.

    As i explain I’m not with the government or protester, both are wrong but the image people get is strongly wrong. There are no killing in the streets but there are policemen who attacked by protester, so they have to protect their life’s. Maybe I’m wrong but that who I see Bahrain now.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 11th April 2012, 12:10

      The sad thing is that both sides have conflicting agendas and both want to use Formula 1 as the stage to present it.

      • Krišjānis (@maldikons) said on 11th April 2012, 13:21

        I think that every F1 race is used as a “stage” to present something – for older races it is racing heritage of “old, good times”, for new ones – economic ability of going “hey, we are so cool that we even have a F1 racetrack” and, sadly, also for politics – either state-controled or opposition-controlled. It’s a whole package.

  12. Kazuki (@formula-1) said on 11th April 2012, 9:26

    This is a notice to all who are free on Saturday’s from 10-11AM. If you fancy a race come over to the F1F Formula Two World Championship, at the moment we don’t have many racers and we could definietly do with more to keep us on our toes. So if you are interested sign in to the thread and register with @jamiefranklinf1 if you are a visiter to the site and see this, just create an account and register. You will all have a great time I can assure you.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 10:34

    Two jokers, a video camera and a lap of Port Imperial, New Jersey. It doesn’t really show us anything that we haven’t already seen, but there’s some pretty clear shots of the pit building progress, which is coming along nicely.

  14. Chaz (@chaz) said on 11th April 2012, 18:16

    It’s looking increasingly like it’s heading towards the F1 Bahrain GP may be cancelled. Any news on the status of the GP2 race and whether this will go ahead or not?

  15. adamtys (@adamtys) said on 11th April 2012, 19:50

    Something out of topic. I found this documentary on youtube about development of turbo engines in 80s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbB1qwhKaaE part one
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqfVAGOaGEc part two

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