Senna’s death “still haunts” Newey

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Ayrton Senna, Williams-Renault FW16, Imola, 1994In the round-up: Adrian Newey says he is still troubled by not knowing what caused Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident 19 years ago.

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Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Senna’s death still haunts Newey (BBC)

“What happened that day, what caused the accident, still haunts me to this day.”

Korea wants revised deal (Sky)

Korean Grand Prix promoter Won-Hwa Park: “I would say fifty-fifty [chance of the race continuing], but we are very much firm in continuously holding this event.”

Red Bull?s traction secret revealed? (Racecar Engineering)

“It is theoretically easy to modulate the output torque and charging input torque to an electric motor/generator using capacitors, batteries, inductors and a feedback signal. Torque changes are instant and control is easy and legal.”

A summit meeting to talk about the future (Ferrari)

“There are still important goals to reach but also plenty of opportunities to collect important information ahead of 2014, a year when the cars will see a host of technical changes. These were among the subjects that [Luca di] Montezemolo and [Fernando] Alonso discussed at their first meeting since the Saturday of qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.”

McLaren F1 team announces ??3.1m loss for 2012 (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“Turnover was down from ??172.3m to ??165.7m, which the team says is ‘wholly due to the changing business relationship with former shareholder Daimler.’”

“Absurd” FIA rules may stop contested election warns David Ward (David Ward and Team 2013)

“David Ward, a candidate in the FIA 2013 Presidential election, has written to FIA Clubs warning that the FIA?s election rules could prevent any candidate from being eligible to challenge the incumbent Jean Todt.”

Force India: no rush over 2014 line-up (Autosport)

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley: “You would be surprised how many good quality drivers there are but if you are being realistic, there are probably three seats for four quality drivers. That’s obviously one at Lotus and two at Force India.”

Spirit of McLaren (McLaren via YouTube)

http://youtu.be/pWNhwELtbu0

Tweets

Comment of the day

More DRS in Korea this year and not everyone’s happy with that:

DRS seems like some insidious godly test sent to measure my love for the sport. I?m still here but I?m losing faith.
@ElBasque

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Max Papis, who turns 44 today, only entered seven races in Formula One, his best finish a just-outside-the-points seventh at Monza in 1995.

After that he headed for North America where he has enjoyed a diverse career ever since. He entered CART in 1996, taking the place of Jeff Krosnoff who tragically lost his life in a crash in Toronto.

In the following season he picked up a handful of wins and later made starts in the breakaway Indy Racing League as well. He has since raced in the American Le Mans Series, A1 Grand Prix and various NASCAR categories.

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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121 comments on Senna’s death “still haunts” Newey

  1. I’ve seen and read a number of interviews wit Newey over the years, and he always keeps his opinions to himself. I have not seen the entirety of this one yet but it looks like more of the same. Perhaps he’s keeping everything so he can write a blockbuster tell-all book when he retires? No, I think he’s just a rather private and reticent individual. And I mean that in a good way – but I’d still love to sit down with him over a beer and get his unvarnished opinions about various people and events in F1 history.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:08

      I think he says is pretty often, for me it has more to do with haunting than “business strategy”. He does seem troubled to this day regarding Senna’s fatal crash.

      After almost 20 years… maybe he should talk to someone.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 3rd October 2013, 8:36

        Maybe he doesn’t want or need to.

        Everyone has their own way of dealing with tragedy. Adrian’s is probably to throw himself into his work, designing the best possible car that will both perform as flawlessly as possible (as that Williams did not in early ’94) and never endanger a driver’s life beyond reasonable expectation again.

        If that’s his way, it’s working…

  2. Agree with the COTD, but I dislike the current tires more.

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:48

      There are multitudinous thing which could turn a fan off F1 at the moment.

      3 years of “one team to beat” with the writing on the wall 2/3 of the way through the season.
      No answer to the aerodynamics conundrum.
      Endless stupidity from all parties involved in running things.
      Only 3-4 teams with enough budget to compete.
      Allowing the same man to design the same boring track all over the world.
      Dragging the sport to soulless empty wastelands hours from nowhere with no promotion, no support, no grassroots, and prices which the locals can’t afford.
      The sport’s owners ignoring the massive global financial meltdown which is going to kill off sponsors, teams, track owners, fans, and TV revenues.
      Assuming that current spending levels are sustainable.

      Not surprised that a one-liner about DRS got COTD, though. :)

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 3rd October 2013, 8:38

        COTA was designed by someone else, but I guess that means it’s safe to say it’s the exception that proves your rule!

      • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 3rd October 2013, 11:45

        There are multitudinous thing which could turn a fan off F1 at the moment

        With “at the moment” you mean “in the last 30 years”?

        3 years of “one team to beat” with the writing on the wall 2/3 of the way through the season.

        2010 and 2012 were quite close. 1988-1991 and 2000-2004 were much more extreme

        No answer to the aerodynamics conundrum.

        Like in the last 30 years? Except of course allowing cars to be built that are so far ahead of the competition that they have no problem overtaking despite running in turbulent air if they ever have to. (1992 Williams)

        Endless stupidity from all parties involved in running things.

        So you prefer the days of the Ferrari International Assistance?

        Only 3-4 teams with enough budget to compete.

        Hasn’t it always been like this? In fact, is it not better now than earlier when you only had Ferrari, McLaren and Williams? Now you have Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus and a hopefully soon resurgent McLaren.

        Allowing the same man to design the same boring track all over the world.

        Tilke has a few dull tracks but most of them are quite ok. I wonder what people would say if he designed a track like Monza now.

        Dragging the sport to soulless empty wastelands hours from nowhere with no promotion, no support, no grassroots, and prices which the locals can’t afford.

        I’m with you on this one. This mostly applies to Korea, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain though, the rest seems quite ok.

        The sport’s owners ignoring the massive global financial meltdown which is going to kill off sponsors, teams, track owners, fans, and TV revenues.

        I partly agree – Ecclestone/CVC is taking too large a share of the profits. However, the impact of the economic crisis should not be overestimated. In most countries, GDP is back to where it was or higher. Yes, some countries are still very hard hit, but of the ones with F1 tracks, these are probably mostly Spain and Hungary and to some extent Italy.

        Assuming that current spending levels are sustainable.

        As far as I am aware, spending by the top teams is a lot lower than it was 10 years ago. Personally, I want them to spend a lot to create exciting cars that perform as well as possible. I am less fond of the crazy high salaries (especially Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen next year) but I guess this is the case in most popular sports.

        @hairs

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 3rd October 2013, 14:27

          2010 and 2012 were quite close. 1988-1991 and 2000-2004 were much more extreme

          1990 was close between Mclaren and Ferrari, as was 2000. 2003 was a three way fight between Ferrari, Mclaren and Williams.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:20

      I dislike DRS more. I think more powerful KERS (or ERS) would be enough, DRS should go. After all these years, it’s clear to me that it has done more harm than good to the sport.

  3. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:17

    “When we talk about the all-time greats, the names of Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, they come up, as well as Michael of course, [Juan Manuel] Fangio of course, all those names jump to mind.
    “Some of them have had, in terms of championships, a fraction of the success of Michael. So there is that intangible thing that defines greatness, which isn’t simply results. And I think what Sebastian is well on the way to doing is establishing himself as one of the all-time greats.”

    Newey spotted it on. I mean, even when some might say Sebastian is automatically “out of the greats” by this comment, it’s on the right path. And o course, the all time greats have been sometimes greater after some time, after the critics and experts can see the things after the heat of the moment. I can agree with the ones who will say Vettel isn’t “an all time great” yet, but he is really making history. In some years, I’m sure, I’ll hear more balanced comments about him. Not the “he’s almighty” ones, not the “he’s nothing and it’s all down to the car” ones.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:19

      after the critics and experts WHEN the critics and experts…

    • there is that intangible thing that defines greatness, which isn’t simply results.

      That’s not really the case though. All the “greats” can be and are defined in terms of results. Not total WDC’s or total wins of course, that would be silly. But the drivers who make up the very top of the hierarchy of F1 greatness are all member of the same exclusive club. We could call it “The Twenty-five/Forty Club”.

      Fangio, Ascari, Senna, Schumaher, Prost, Clark and Stewart all managed to win at least 25% of their races and finish on the podium at least 40% of the time. Nobody else in F1 ever managed this, which is why those seven are always cited as being the “the greatest”. People then argue about the pecking order between those seven.

    • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:45

      I remember having this conversation on here a while back. In retrospect, we should expect Vettel to be regarded as a “great”, considering he already is a great of the sport.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:27

      After Vettel’s three-peat, denying his talent and superb driving skills became even more pathetic, however, IMHO, placing him in top 5 best drivers ever still is an overstatement.

      Like Newey said, he’s on his way but is not there yet.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 3rd October 2013, 8:42

        I guess the problem is he can only add to the history of the sport, not replace it (records aside). He’ll always be compared (fairly or unfairly) to these other drivers, from different times with different limits, challenges and external factors.

  4. Njack (@njack) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:21

    I presume Hughes comment is a reference to the rumour Hulkenberg is considered too heavy for their 2014 car by McLaren? http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns26429.html

    Pretty ridiculous that the FIA still hasn’t set a minimum weight for driver and seat as well as changing the minimum size requirements for cockpits, especially as their desire for greater market penetration in the USA would be aided by it as american drivers can be larger on average.

    DTM and Indycar already have it, so presumably it’s a case of some of the top teams blocking it.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:27

      @njack Hulk needs a BIG team, I mean, one which is not ridden by the all-we-need-is-your-money, which is becoming so popular nowadays. And of course, a team who is eager to take the risk of having less ballast to use for the sake of having a good driver who can pull the car (and team) forward anyway.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:39

      Well this is not a problema that is particular only to F1, every sport has a body type.
      Basketball players must be tall, also Tennis players
      Gymnast must be small (most of the time)
      Swimmers must be tall, and must have long arms, small legs (think Michael Phelps, contrary to Ryan Lochte´s body type and even so Lochte is 1.88m)
      Ice skater must be in the lower side of weigh, specially couples and ice dancers.
      Is easier for skater X-Games to do tricks if they are small
      Even Moto GP prefer small riders to big ones…
      And I can go on.

      Yes, maybe some driver and exceptional one will be worthy of a team taking the risk, as RBR did with Webber, of hiring a big driver, as in every profesional sport you hired the package (and you choose all the characterisc of one athlete).

    • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:39

      I think Hulk is so heavy because he gets a welcome cookie from every team he joins…

      Being serious though, I was shocked how tall he was when I saw the post qually photo from Monza. He is taller than Webber I think. I had it in my head he was at least a foot shorter than that. Has he had a 2nd growth spurt lately?

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:15

      Robert Kubica was I think the exception who’s talent overcompensated for his build that most recently comes to mind.

  5. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:42

    Well, if my memory doesn’t fail me, last year Newey said that Senna’s accident could have been caused by a tyre failure. This year he talks about overteer and correction by the driver. The probable cause was a steering column failure (as the criminal investigation in Italy pointed out), and what “haunts” me is what happened to the car black box, since the car returned to Williams before he was examined, a thing that was prohibeted by the regulations. But that is in the past. The one thing i know is that next year here in Brazil we will hear about Senna the whole year, because of the 20 year anniversary of his death.

    • Chad (@chaddy) said on 3rd October 2013, 4:11

      People love a conspiracy theory, perhaps more than they love a national hero. I was only 8 but I still remember that race.

      Not sure which was more ludicrous though, prosecuting Newey for manslaughter, or prosecuting (and convicting) seismologists for not predicting an earthquake. Italy’s legal system sounds like something you’d expect in some Africa country.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:42

      @edmarques

      Even these days a number of similar accidents happen every other weekend in different racing categories. Back in 1994 F1 cars and drivers did not have the safety apparatus of today. The day before, another driver died at the same venue and since them, better safety measures prevented us from another death in F1.

      Fingering Newey and Williams is unfair. That was a very unfortunate accident, it may sound cold, but that’s it.

      Regarding legal systems, you’re right. Even though some legal systems are more susceptible of making outrageous decisions, we see bad calls everywhere

    • Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 3rd October 2013, 12:03

      It’s shameful that people still plug away with conspiracy theories and expect Williams team members from the time to answer them time and time again. There is someone who knows what it was actually like to drive an FW16 through Tamburello on that day – Damon Hill. He has said he believes driver error, albeit at the wheel of a very difficult car, was the cause of Senna’s crash.

      Can you imagine what would happen if Sir Frank, Patrick Head or Adrian Newey publicly cited driver error as the cause of the crash, they would be absolutely vilified. When Newey offers a rather vague explanation of what he believes caused the crash, conspiracy theorists can interpret that as covering up something sinister while others can interpret that as skirting around saying that Senna simply lost control.

  6. Hamish said on 3rd October 2013, 0:46

    Well we could have had clarity Adrian, but you and your team destroyed it!

    I’m still at a loss as to how Sennas black box can survive a collision with a concrete wall at a couple hundred of kph, yet can be destroyed in the Williams garage at 0kph.

    He knows exactly what happened.

    • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 3rd October 2013, 4:03

      +1 . He must be knowing more or else he would not be so haunted . If it was indeed a driver’s error , then why be so lugubrious after 20 years ( there is reason to be sad of course that he was one of the all time greats ) . Whatever it was , it sure affected him badly . He even said in another interview last year that he lost most of his remaining hair after the accident.

      • Hamish said on 3rd October 2013, 21:41

        That is correct. It was allowed by Charlie Whiting.

        Mate if anything you’re probably the closest to the truth.

  7. HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 0:49

    I hope all those people who wrote G C Minardi off as a bitter conspiracy theorist loser feel suitably chasened after reading the possible explanation above. It would make total sense that RBR are looking at and testing ways to maximize the electric torque that will be such a large part of next years performance and Vettels 5th WDC.

    • Was that sarcasm, or did you not read the link?

      those suggesting that the RB9 runs TC lack understanding of how such systems work, especially considering that all cars run identical TAG 320 ECU’s.

      I don’t know if Minardi is a “bitter conspiracy theorist loser” but he does come across as a fool.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:20

        I have read it twice and I don’t recall him saying the car was running traction control, merely that it performed and sounded like cars did before traction control was banned.

        • I don’t recall him saying the car was running traction control, merely that it performed and sounded like cars did before traction control was banned.

          That’s a very lawyerly distinction you make. So he didn’t say it WAS a duck, just that it walked, swam, and quacked in a duck-like fashion?

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:41

        @jonsan, Having read it a 3rd. time I can now be precise, he said Vettels engine sounded like engines did when using traction control but took great pain to not suggest RBR were doing anything illegal , and how else do you describe an atypical engine sound other than to reference it to a similar sound? The suggestion that RBR were/weren’t using traction control was a distotion of what he wrote, he merely suggested that RBR had found another performance gain that seemed to be related to the power and traction of Vettels car exclusively.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 3rd October 2013, 8:05

      @hohum

      Seb is good, but it doesn’t take an experienced engineer to see that RB9 had something other didn’t have. But he elaborated it so well that sounds like part fiction part true :)

      Plus, Minardi suggests that Seb’s car was different from Marks…

      on the same stretch, Sebastian was able to speed up 50 m before any other driver, Webber included. Whilst all the other drivers speeded up on the same stretch, Vettel was able to speed up before them. The thing that surprised me the most was the RB1 engine’s output sound. Besides speeding up 50 m before any other driver, the Renault engine of the German’s car grinded like no other French engines on track, neither like Mark’s. That sound was similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system got into action in the past seasons.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 8:22

        More to come on this for sure.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 3rd October 2013, 8:52

        The problem is, Minardi’s evidence relies on sound recordings and personal conjecture.

        It’s been pretty obvious for years that Sebastian has learned to drive in a particular way to work the cars airflow/diffuser. It relies on powering the car out of corners, using the downforce to keep the rear under control, which could explain the engine note AND the fact that he has the legs on most other cars.

        No other car is as fundamentally stable under these conditions, so no other drivers can exploit it. Mark Webber has also clearly stated he doesn’t get on with this specific driving style, hence why his best performances were in 2010 and the start of 2012, when the car was looser to drive.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd October 2013, 10:16

        In the article from AMuS I linked to below, they also write that a lot of it is about Vettel spending hours in the simulator before EACH race and train exactly how to use it to his best advantage. I guess that explains part of the difference. Its not the cars being different, but the way the drivers are adapted to get the most out of it.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd October 2013, 10:14

      I also read German AMuS who seem to be fielding much the same story (I guess most tech interested journos in the paddock would go from the same base knowledge) and I must say that I love this story @hohum.

      For all the talk from Ferrari that Red Bull are just about horrible downforce and there is nothing technical in it and they would like more influence of the powerplant/mechanical side, why weren’t Ferrari trying to actually do something clever with their great engines? Instead its the “just about aerodynamics” guys who have come up with a very clever way using the engine (and possibly KERS) to make the car go fast.
      Oh, it also quells the hopes of all those who thought Red Bull would lose out a bit, as I see them being right on top of clever use of the whole drivetrain!

  8. obviously said on 3rd October 2013, 1:14

    Newey is talking ********. I’ve seen Senna’s crash million times and that looks like car failure 100%. I mean car is turning gently, and then in a split second just stops turning and starts going absolutely straight while Senna is turning the steering wheel. Bumps or debris? It never looks like this. This car went perfectly straight off the track.

    • obviously said on 3rd October 2013, 1:16

      Here’s a high quality video clip from the onboard camera.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpp7OCngXQM

    • That’s exactly how it looks to me. From off-boards also, it looks like the car failed to turn, not that it oversteered. It really was a very unfortunate accident: Tamburello was not a difficult corner, it was easily flat.

      • MatK77 (@bluestar77) said on 3rd October 2013, 18:22

        I disagree – watch the painted line on the inside of the corner. There are several resurfaced patch areas through that section of the corner, each results in a slight bump in the surface – watch Senna’s helmet in the mirror as he rides over them.

        At the point where the front tyres reach the third patch, the painted line suddenly gets much closer to the tyre on the inside of the corner. Senna over-corrects and the car pitches right. At those speeds it doesn’t take much, especially in a nervous car on cold tyres.

        It really doesn’t matter now anyway – he’s gone. When Berger hit the wall and burst into flames in the same place a few years earlier, he asked if the wall could be moved back – all he got in reply was a shrug. There are many, very sad reasons it ended the way it did.

  9. James_mc (@james_mc) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:22

    It left a bitter taste in my mouth at the 2011 Belgian GP when Newey commented that he was worried for the safety of his drivers due to blistered tyres. However given that it was his team’s decision to run the high camber which caused the blistering in order to eke out more performance you’d really have thought given what had happened to Senna he’d have been more cautious.

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd October 2013, 2:46

      Red Bull is not a dictatorship with Newey giving the orders. I’m sure he outlined the risks, and from what I can remember the camber was reduced, just not as much as he’d have liked. The final call whether to race as they did was almost certainly not his. I think his tears of relief after the race were genuine.

  10. ElBasque (@elbasque) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:30

    Wowsers. I’ve always seen folk picking up the COTD and wondered what it was like to bask in the light of Keith himself.

    Now i’ve felt it i’ll share my exasperation more often :D

  11. kcarrey (@kcarrey) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:32

    for the past 5 years, without wearing a skeleton suit, Webber would had been perfect for Halloween.

  12. “It is theoretically easy to modulate the output torque and charging input torque to an electric motor/generator using capacitors, batteries, inductors and a feedback signal. Torque changes are instant and control is easy and legal.”

    It is theoretically easy. But it would also be quite illegal. From section 9.3 of the technical regs:

    9.3 Traction control :
    No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive throttle torque demand by the driver.
    Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.

    There is no exception there for electric motors, capacitors, batteries, inductors, or tubes. They’re not using traction control, either directly on the internal combustion engine or indirectly on the KERS system. People will have to keep on fishing for explanations for why Vettel goes so fast.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:48

      and observing the differences where Vettel had a marked superiority is the 1st. step to understanding how that superiority is achieved.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:56

      @jonsan mmm the problem here is that the rules refer to a “device” which can’t affect the speed and/or torque demanded by the driver, but that of course already exists, kers!

      Red Bull could argue that the kers primary function is to recover energy, not to stop wheelspin, also let’s be clear in something the torque of the engine is always the same, the only difference is that some of it goes to charge the battery and some of it to the wheels.

      It’s very clever actually, and like the article says, it may be the root of their kers problems because they’re overworking it.

      • You are confused about KERS. It does not “affect the speed and/or torque demanded by the driver”. Not any more than the regular engine does at least.

        No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power

        “Under power”…there’s absolutely zero wriggle room in there to say “KERS power is not power within the meaning of Section 9.3″. They are not doing this, end of story..

        • W (@yesyesyesandyesagain) said on 3rd October 2013, 2:34

          @jonsan
          SomersF1 (http://somersf1.blogspot.it/2013/09/red-bull.html) had this to say on the topic: “Harvesting to use its correct terminology is done in the same way as the release of energy via the unit attached to the crankshaft. Nothing in the regulations stipulates that this energy has to be recovered under braking but it is the most obvious time you would do so. This is because harvesting intrinsically slows the engine speed and aids in the slowing of the car. I’d suggest it is plausible you could modulate harvesting throughout the acceleration phase in a way that could simulate traction control but I’m quite sure all of the teams already do this to some extent.”

          I find it interesting that he thinks all teams already do this.

          The fact is you can harvest energy whenever you want. If you happen to harvest energy under acceleration, the point of that harvesting is to charge kers, not stop wheel spin. Stopping wheel spin might be a nice side effect, but the clear purpose of charging kers, is to charge kers. If this was not allowed it would be clearly stated that harvesting could not occur under acceleration.

          • BJ (@beejis60) said on 3rd October 2013, 3:26

            I was just about to comment on energy harvesting… But you eloquently put it much nicer than I was going to discuss it. I approve.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 5:10

            I seem to remember a radio transmission to Vettel telling him to use more Kers, which at the time I thought was rather unnecessarry, anyone else remember that or do I have the wrong driver ?

          • It’s an answer in search of a question. The supposition here is that “Red Bull are doing something technically new, which is allowing Vettel to do something new – open up a big lead in the opening laps. So what is that something new?”

            The trouble is, Vettel has been doing this sort of thing pretty much forever. It’s his signature move. It’s what drives many people crazy about him – his ability to run away right from the instant the lights go out.

            At Montreal this season he also opened up a two second gap over the second place driver, Hamilton, in the first lap. At Monza and Spa it was about a second and a half in the first lap. Last year in India he opened up a 1.3 sec lead over Webber and 3.6 secs over Alonso – in the first lap. In Japan he was 1.6 secs ahead of the next driver after the first lap.

            It seems obvious that there is no “new” piece of technical trickery involved. There may be an interesting discussion to be had about why Vettel keeps displaying the ability to leave the rest of the field in the dust in the opening lap so often, but these discussions of “innovative new traction-control-like systems” are a distraction from it.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 5:23

            Lap 24 ” Sebastion, you need to use more KERS early. 75% before last corner”
            Just went back and ckecked. Seems to fit a “harvesting” scenario. @jonsan, ?

          • The fact is you can harvest energy whenever you want.

            A lot of people really need to read the technical regs. The KERS ( Kinetic Energy Recovery System) does not work the way a lot of you think it does. It does not involve some electric motor being driven off the engine. It works by recovering energy under braking, that’s all. It does and cannot generate any energy under acceleration.

            Some of these comments seem to have in mind next years power units, which will indeed feature electric power capable of being generated at all times, including (potentially) under acceleration. But the current KERS does not work that way at all. Simply say the words “Kinetic Energy Recovery” and the problem with the theory should be very clear.

          • Seems to fit a “harvesting” scenario. @jonsan, ?

            Nope, it doesn’t. Not at all. And that’s an instruction you see being given to many drivers during the course of a race. KERS energy is “use it or lose it” so the fastest lap time will be one in which you use up 100% of your KERS energy generated on each lap.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 6:06

            @jonsan, now I am completely convinced you are wrong, The Kers system is integral with the drivetrain and is dependant on rotating and an electrical circuit being opened or closed to either harvest energy from rotation or provide rotation from stored energy, basically the same system as early motorbikes featuring a generator/starting motor, but of course much more sophisticated.

          • The Kers system is integral with the drivetrain

            Which has nothing to do with the price of tea in China. Please read the technical regs. (1) KERS can only recover (or ‘harvest”) energy under braking. and (2) Traction control is prohibited, period. There is no “energy harvesting loophole”.

          • Webbo (@webbo82) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:58

            +1 excellent, well put. Exactly what I was considering – selective harvesting under acceleration when traction lost.

          • I notice the rest of my article is ignored and only the last paragraph in which I float the KERS idea is mentioned. Contextually the piece talks about Red Bull’s package overall being superior to everyone else, discussing everything from Cylinder Deactivation, Engine/Torque Maps, Exhaust Solutions, the return to 2012′s tyre construction etc etc. Red Bull simply have the ‘perfect storm’ combining all these elements with a well rehearsed Vettel, whom spends an inordinate amount of time behind the wheel of the simulator.

            As for the KERS situation, I’m not the only one plucking at those strings as Sam’s article in RCE shows. As I explain in my piece most people simply think of KERS as the release of energy rather than how it’s recovered. The rules surrounding ‘harvesting’ are thin at best and it would appear once again that Red Bull (and others) are using this to their advantage.

            Lastly I’d argue (just as RBR’s lawyers would) that the syntax regarding the ‘Definitions’ at the start of the Technical Regulations do not expressly forbid the use of KERS under acceleration:

            1.20 Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) :
            A system that is designed to recover kinetic energy from the car during braking, store that energy and make it available to propel the car.

            You could argue that the system is designed to recover kinetic energy during braking, however a side effect is that it can recover it under acceleration too ;) By recovering the energy during acceleration you are also braking the engine…

            The only definable energy quota within the regulations in regard to harvesting is:

            5.2.3 The maximum power, in or out, of any KERS must not exceed 60kW.

            This regulation does not state when, where or how this maximum power ‘in’ is achievable.

            For reference my piece in full can be found here: http://www.somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/red-bull.html

        • alexx_88 (@alexx_88) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:00

          @jonsan: In what article of the technical regs. it says that “KERS can only recover energy under braking” ? Couldn’t find it.

          • W (@yesyesyesandyesagain) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:09

            Section 1.20 defines KERS as harvesting braking energy, but does not say “only” anywhere. That could be an important distinction.

          • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 3rd October 2013, 7:24

            @yesyesandyesagain Exactly . RBR are renowned for “pushing” the boundaries of rules.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 8:27

            If Sommers is wrong and @jonsan right I will apologise and be hugely impressed.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd October 2013, 10:24

            Yes, I would say that “only” is the critical thing there. I highly doubt that Sommers, AMuS’ Michael Schmidt, Craig Scarborough and RCE have all missed this in the rules and @jonsan is right here.

            What I find strange @jonsan, is why you are so ferocious to uphold that Red Bull is NOT using something that is very clever use of automotive technology with their engine partner, instead of just concluding that they are doing the best job (again!) by finding new things to use to go fastests. And Vettel uses it best because he is more able to adapt his driving style to it than Webber (and according to AMuS he does hours and hours of training for each race to perfect it), which is praiseworthy dedication to his job as a racing driver (and far more sympathetic as just him being godly good/better than the rest!).

    • randomfan said on 3rd October 2013, 9:29

      Loading Kers under acceleration is NOT traction control. Traction control measures wheelspin and other variables and reacts accordingly. This system cannot react. It has to be mapped beforehand.
      Key is that applying negative torque under acceleration allows driver to go harder and earlier on throttle. This causes more exhaust flow, more grip, better acceleration.

      Traction device perhaps but not traction control. Also if this is possibly to do then all teams are probably doing it.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 3rd October 2013, 11:56

      People will have to keep on fishing for explanations for why Vettel goes so fast.

      I dont think people need to fish. Its obvious he is fast.. but what makes him so much faster than anyone else on the grid is superior machinery.

      Not saying the machinery is illegal or any of that nonsense.. but it has been far superior to any other car over the past 4 seasons

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd October 2013, 14:55

        @Todfod

        what makes him so much faster than anyone else on the grid is superior machinery

        Except Webber, who Vettel is beating in a straight fight for the fifth year in a row.

        And except Vettel’s rivals on days when their cars have been quicker or more reliable, which has happened rather more often than Vettel’s detractors like to admit.

  13. GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 3rd October 2013, 1:49

    The thing that I hate with regards to looking back at Senna’s death is the many theories that get reported as fact yet which don’t have any truth to them, Its even more baffling that a lot of them became ‘fact’ as a result of prosecutors been able to spout utter nonsense in an Italian court of law.

    The one I can talk about directly is the extra few seconds of in-car footage that the conspiracy types claim exists which I know with 100% certainty does not.
    They say switching the in-car camera from Ayrton to Katayama was ‘odd’ when in fact it wasn’t. The decision to switch cameras happens often, especially back then when they only had access to 4 in-car cameras at any one time (Now they can do 9).
    Back then & up until around 1998 when we brought in new cameras there was a delay between selecting a change of camera & the system tuning into that cars camera so the 1-2 seconds of static between the switch from Ayrton to Ukyo’s car was completely normal & you can go back & watch any of the in-car tapes from the time (Not that they give access to any of that sadly, some great unseen stuff in the in-car archive) & see the same thing.

    Its also often unreported that Ayrton had complained about oversteer at Tamburello throughout the weekend & also in the pre-race test & he had personally gone to track officials after the test to complain about the bumps causing instability. Others opted to run a wider line to avoid the worse of the bumps, Ayrton kept running the normal line which put him straght over the biggest bumps.

    Having spent 10yrs around F1 & spoke to people about the various theories, The official theory is the one I now believe to be correct. Car bottomed out, oversteered, He corrected but the car then gripped & put him straght into the wall.
    Its the sort of accident i’ve seen before & some of the guys i spoke to over the year would not lie to cover anything up & I believe them completely.

    I’ve always felt that the reason so many look to other possibilities such as car failure is because they simply don’t want to believe that Ayrton was killed as a result of anything that could come back to any type of driver error because to many Ayrton was too good for that.
    The thought that Ayrton could have possibly over-corrected a simple bit of oversteer is impossible because he was far too good to make such a mistake.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 3rd October 2013, 2:07

      @gt-racer thanks for that great insight as usual, btw what do you mean they can only access 9 cameras at once? they can switch to any of the 22 cars but only watch 9 simultaneously?
      Maybe that explains why never see the onboard of a backmarker crashing hehe

      • GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 3rd October 2013, 13:46

        btw what do you mean they can only access 9 cameras at once? they can switch to any of the 22 cars but only watch 9 simultaneously?

        Yeah thats correct.
        All of the cars carry cameras but only 9 of them can be viewed simultaneously due to the bandwidth limitations of the reception system.

        In 1994 & through to 2005 we could only get 4 through the analog system using the helicopter uplink & In 2001/2002 with the fibre-optic ring we were still limited to 4.
        We introduced a ground based digital reception system at the 2005 Japanese Gp & that allowed us to go upto 9.
        http://youtu.be/joqvK6NRUMQ?t=2m26s

        • FOM Fan (@) said on 3rd October 2013, 21:03

          I’m surprised that more people haven’t picked up on the Tata deal, it really opens up a whole new range of possibilities for content delivery IMO, but yeah, with the new deal, does it give enough space to up the amount of simultaneous onboard streams, even with transporting all the regular FOM channels in HD (W. Feed, Pitlane, Driver Tracker, Timing, Onboard Mix)?

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 3rd October 2013, 3:39

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 3rd October 2013, 3:42

      Wow, now i’m convinced. Not.

    • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 3rd October 2013, 4:35

      I was persuaded by this theory when I was younger, but for me the most compelling piece of evidence is the one that tracks the position of the steering wheel. In the lap or two before the crash the steering wheel can be seen to head south, indicating the weld was breaking before snapping under the highest loading of Tamburello. If it was indicated in the black box that this had happened, then Williams would have been liable under Italian law of manslaughter (which didn’t matter in the end as the trial fell outside the time period allowed for prosecution, and the body was declared dead away from the track to not make the race stop). The only way this could be discredited is if it can be shown that this type of up and down movement on the steering column being held in the driver’s hands while racing was a possible occurrence at the time and did not indicate that something was wrong with the steering column.

      It’s a shame it happened, and I wonder if the death of Ratzenberger earlier in the weekend had caused some people to lose focus on their work – naturally it would be very easy for that to happen under the circumstances. Both incidents could also be down to the FIA rule changes hastily brought in to slow the cars. Admittedly, I don’t have as much experience, but I rarely remember seeing a car lose grip at such a high speed before re-gripping perfectly so quickly – usually a car spins out inside from the oversteer or outside from the correction in my memory. If I could see an example of this I could be more easily persuaded. If cars behaved differently before the plank was brought in then this could explain my lack of familiarity with this occurrence.

      • GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 3rd October 2013, 14:00

        In the lap or two before the crash the steering wheel can be seen to head south, indicating the weld was breaking before snapping under the highest loading of Tamburello.

        The wheels moving in that way wasn’t actually uncommon, You see it on the in-car’s from the pacific gp that year-
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1mtCEFsZuQ

        The Italian prosecutors never did the button tracking to monitor the wheel flex on any other bit of footage but Imola leading upto the crash again because it didn’t fit there theory of what happened.
        If that had done similar test’s on footage from other races & indeed other cars that would have seen similar amounts of wheel movement.

        If the wheel was moving around in a strange way he’d have felt it & pitted yet he didn’t because the wheel-flex was normal.

    • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 3rd October 2013, 4:57

      @gt-racer

      Nice comment and analysis

      The thought that Ayrton could have possibly over-corrected a simple bit of oversteer is impossible

      No it’s not impossible as you say ,however, the fact that the Williams was inconsistent while handling corners couldn’t have helped him . So , I don’t think anybody can say with conviction that it was down to driver error .But it’s always one thing that gets me thinking , If it were so transparent , why hide the footage or the black box ( it was proved in the trial that they did indeed take out the black box under charlie whiting’s FIA supervision claiming they did not know about the fatal nature of the accident then).

      extra few seconds of in-car footage that the conspiracy types claim exists which I know with 100% certainty does not.

      How can you confirm it does not ? The camera cannot get damaged or stop transmitting before it even hits something . It just cuts off immediately after the kerb. I am not talking about the TV feed , I am talking about the images they get back at the gargage from their own camera . For all we know , it could have been removed and the footage deleted after viewing thus keeping the contents privy to a few in the team who are unlikely to tell others or spread it around even other f1 mechanics or people to hear . These men carry it to their tombstones and only they know what happened and what did not , we cannot substantiate anything with authority . I am not a “conspiracy” theorist . All I am saying is that we can’t take sides without the relevant information .

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd October 2013, 10:29

        For all we know , it could have been removed and the footage deleted after viewing thus keeping the contents privy to a few in the team who are unlikely to tell others or spread it around even other f1 mechanics or people to hear

        @hamilfan, I would imagine that as @gt_racer has worked with FOM as part of the TV team, he (she?) would be in a position to actually know that such footage has never existed, why would he state otherwise?

        • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 3rd October 2013, 14:06

          @bascb

          I would imagine that as @gt-racer has worked with FOM as part of the TV team he (she?) would be in a position to actually know that such footage has never existed, why would he state otherwise?

          I don’t quite clearly get this . I am not refuting anyone’s claims . I am not talking about the TV feed . The williams team installed their camera onto the cockpit . They could get a direct feed from it and still record the data ? was this possible @gt-racer? Even if the switching of cameras did take place , why on earth would anyone in the team or in the media switch to another camera when the driver in question was on the verge of an accident ?

          If @gt-racer has worked with FOM directly during that period . I am willing to eat my words . And , don’t get me wrong , I’m just curious that’s all. There is too much coincidence especially when the video stops just before we could have known whether the steering column failed by examining the car’s reactions to ayrton’s steering after the car had gripped and begun to go off track . 0.9s in question .

          • GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 3rd October 2013, 14:27

            Even if the switching of cameras did take place , why on earth would anyone in the team or in the media switch to another camera when the driver in question was on the verge of an accident ?

            The decision to switch camera feeds would have been taken a few seconds before Ayrton started to go off & once the feed is switched it can’t be immediately switched back.

            It was simple chance that the button was pressed to change to Ukyo’s in-car camera at pretty much the same time Ayrton’s car began to go straght.
            From there there would have been 1-2 seconds of static before the system re-tuned into Katayama’s camera.

            If @gt-racer has worked with FOM directly during that period .

            I joined FOM as part of the digital ppv coverage for 1997 so i wasn’t there in 1994 but we were still using the same in-car systems when i joined (Upgraded over 98/99) so i know how the in-car camera system worked in 1994.

      • GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 3rd October 2013, 14:15

        The camera cannot get damaged or stop transmitting before it even hits something . It just cuts off immediately after the kerb. I am not talking about the TV feed , I am talking about the images they get back at the gargage from their own camera . For all we know , it could have been removed and the footage deleted after viewing

        Thats not how the in-car cameras work, They don’t store footage so there would have been nothing to view.

        Also teams don’t have there own cameras on the car during races, The only cameras allowed on the cars are those put there by FOM, All in-car footage from Ayrton’s car was from the FOM camera.

        As I said in a comment above, Back in 1994 only 4 in-car cameras could be live simultaneously & its purely down to the FOM guys in the truck picking what cameras to have live at any given time & through a race there regularly switching around between the various in-car cams on the cars.
        If a camera is not one of the live shots then there is no footage either been transmitted or recorded from that camera.

        In this case it was decided by the FOM guy running that particular in-car feed to switch from Ayrton’s in-car camera to Katayama’s in-car camera. Once it had been re-tuned to Ukyo’s camera the camera on Ayrton’s car was basically turned off so there is no footage available from it from that point.

        • FOM Fan (@) said on 3rd October 2013, 21:11

          May I ask about the Tata deal? Will that mean that all the individual cameras footage is sent live first to Biggin Hill THEN directed/mixed into the 4 or 5 FOM feeds at Biggin Hill, or will they still be mixed/directed into the 5 channels at the track, and then sent to Biggin Hill fully formed, so to speak? Or will they direct/mix the channels at the track, but send the individual raw camera footage back to Biggin Hill *as well* as the fully produced feeds?

    • Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 3rd October 2013, 5:29

      Newey already blamed the tyres for the accident, and now is sayig that oversteer did it.
      I just don’t understand why to bring that subject up again. And I think (i could say certain, but that is not possible) he knows much more that he says.

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 3rd October 2013, 9:15

      @gt-racer Well said. The only thing to add, which often goes unsaid, is that Senna was heavier than Schumacher at that stage of the race as he was planning a 1 stop race as opposed to Schumacher’s 2 stop strategy. That combined with the loss of tyre pressure lead to the car bottoming out, the consequent loss of aero and the oversteer. It’s the most convincing theory I’ve ever come across, and the one I firmly believe.

    • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 3rd October 2013, 17:20

      @gt-racer

      I’ve always felt that the reason so many look to other possibilities such as car failure is because they simply don’t want to believe that Ayrton was killed as a result of anything that could come back to any type of driver error because to many Ayrton was too good for that.

      It is interesting to note that many felt the same way about Jim Clark’s fatal wreck and that the actual cause has never been conclusively decided. There was the possibility of a deflating rear tire, or a possible mechanical failure causing the engine to seize, or it could have been driver error. Even some of Clark’s contemporary fellow drivers could not accept driver error as a possibility because Clark was too good. As with Senna, we will probably never know exactly what happened in either case.

      It must be the darker side of human nature to speculate wildly about things which cannot be fully explained, documented or proven to a certainty. Questioning things is a moral responsibility, but some of the horrible conspiracy theories regarding Senna go way beyond that.

      Thanks for your input. It helps to put things in a more knowledgable light and that is good. Even if we did know all the facts of what happened with Senna or Clark, it still wouldn’t bring them back. There are still dangers, but thank goodness F1 is a safer sport today.

  14. Malik (@malik) said on 3rd October 2013, 2:30

    “and he wanted to be in the team he thought built the best car ”
    this says everything about the whole matter.. the best driver ever cannot be champion without the best car..

  15. Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 3rd October 2013, 5:20

    The fact that critical information concerning the accident went “conveniently” missing or was “accidentally” destroyed is evidence enough for me that there was more at play than an error from the driver.

    In a sport such as F1 where every detail is checked and double-checked, does anyone really believe that such an important piece of evidence as the on-board “black box” could have been “accidentally” rendered useless AFTER the collision?

    • Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 3rd October 2013, 9:26

      This. I’ve posted a comment about this on another site. and they removed it immediately. Keith has done something similar here before, which is absolute FASCISM. There is foul play and a a cover up in Senna’s death. The team owner, chief designer, chief engineer, F1 rights holder and Renault were all involved.

      Just watch Coulthard’s video where he demonstrates wheel column flex for legal purposes. You’ll get what I mean. It’s an absolute joke.

      • I agree on both. The accident happened because the steering column broke before the crash, that’s what the complete analisys made by the Univerity of Bologna engeneers department and the Air Force Thecnical Centre of Pratica di Mare said, no matter all the attempts that Williams and FOM did to hide the truth, it’s all written on the Sentence. The steering column was purposely modified for that race with a new element that has been found “covered” by fatigue cracks and even rusted in the inner part and the BBC is wrong because Head’s not been acquitted, he’s been deemed responsible for that modification and found guilty but never been prosecuted due to time-bar.

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