Ecclestone considers reviving ‘GP Masters’ concept

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Formula One’s Old Masters Head Back to the Track (Wall Street Journal)

“The growling engines that Formula One drivers have so vocally missed this season could soon return to the track, but not in the hands of the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Rather, the roaring V10s would appear in a potential masters series, featuring Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet, according to the sport’s chief, Bernie Ecclestone.”

Christian Danner, Nigel Mansell, Eric van de Poele, GP Masters, Losail International Circuit, 2006FIA consider returning to active suspension (The Telegraph)

“The entire grid would be given an ‘FIA standard active suspension’. Along with a host of other measures it is hoped that would reduce the number of staff needed trackside during race weekends.”

Force India wants F1 restructure (Autosport)

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley: “I think [the failure of the cost cap] shows the frailty in my view of the system as it is today. It [the Strategy Group] is totally unacceptable and we will never change our mind on that.

Hamilton back to brilliant best – Lowe (BBC)

“We have seen Lewis arrive this season on top of his game. He is fit physically. His mental state is brilliant.”

How about a new idea: fair play (Joe Saward)

If you do the numbers based on that year’s prize fund: Red Bull Racing earned $98.8 million for winning the championship. McLaren got $88.6 million for coming second and Ferrari made $95.8 million for coming third. How is that fair?

Chinese Grand Prix Betting: Mercedes’ dominance makes China easier to predict (Unibet)

My Chinese Grand Prix preview for Unibet.

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Comment of the day

There’s a fair bit of scepticism about whether reintroducing active suspension would be good for Formula One:

I didn’t like the active ride when it was in F1 the first time, so don’t want to see it come back in the future.

Active ride is dangerous if/when it fails (ask Alessandro Zanardi) and most of the drivers who ran with it last time hated the way it took away a lot of the feel for what the car was doing.

I also believe it will make the racing worse as you’re going to have car ride, and therefore the downforce it’s producing, optimised for every corner. This makes the cars more predictable which leads to fewer driver errors as the car is no longer upset by bumps or camber as it is today.

The increase in cornering speeds which active ride will allow will also put greater emphasis on aero performance which will again have a negative effect on the racing.

You’re also going to, like last time, potentially have massive disparity between systems which could again, like last time, give one team a massive advantage over the rest. An advantage far greater than what we saw with double diffusers, exhaust blowing and, this year, the Mercedes engine.

The Williams of ’92/’93 for instance was up to two seconds per lap faster than anything else at times in qualifying purely mostly on how much better there active ride system was compared to anyone else.

The lower profile tyre idea I agree with, active ride however I am firmly against!
PeterG

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35 comments on Ecclestone considers reviving ‘GP Masters’ concept

  1. Peter (@boylep6) said on 17th April 2014, 10:31

    I *guess* lower profile tyres (less deformation) and active ride are coupled and that this
    is why they are being proposed together.
    The better suspension motion is required to credibly propose less sidewall motion.
    Asking for one without the other may not be viable, for the same reasons we have huge
    sidewalls and low tyre pressures currently.

    • vjanik said on 17th April 2014, 11:06

      its true that if you introduce lower profile tyres you will need the suspension to do more. but that doesnt mean that the suspension has to be ACTIVE. The teams can easily produce normal pull or pushrod suspension which would accommodate the different tyre profile. No need to bring back active suspension. And if the argument is that we want active suspension to potentially lead to road car application, why have a spec FIA version and not let the teams develop their own?

      I say either forget about active suspension or let the teams develop it.

      • Peter (@boylep6) said on 17th April 2014, 12:54

        To be clear: I say leave the tyres and suspension alone. Surely cheapest for the teams?
        Some are arguing that electronic/software changes to set up are cheaper & faster than mechanical… but in my experience software solutions can be more expensive than anticipated and perhaps there is merit in requiring drivers to be skilful at cart style setup.

    • Dom (@3dom) said on 17th April 2014, 13:34

      There’s a balance between technology and driver talent that needs to be just right to allow the better drivers to make a difference but to also allow engineers to give us an exciting development race.

      I know it’s early into the new regulations but seeing how the cars have been out of corners with the increased torque, and enjoying a thoroughly thrilling race in Bahrain (which lets not forget hasn’t been the case in most of the Bahrain races), I personally have the feeling that at the moment the balance is just right.

      Hulkenberg is a great example, last season we kept hearing how his weight disadvantage may put teams off signing him. Now we’ve seen that the increased influence of the driver on the car has allowed him to shine regardless of that disadvantage.

      I’m still concerned that even if active suspension was standardised that a potential differentiator of driver skill (ie how they handle cornering) will have it’s potential narrowed and that it will have a negative impact on the racing.

      Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to see the cars get slower, but great racing is the most important thing to me. Let’s hope the strategy group prioritise maintaining the balance they’ve so far stumbled upon under these current regulations

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 17th April 2014, 16:19

        Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to see the cars get slower, but great racing is the most important thing to me. Let’s hope the strategy group prioritise maintaining the balance they’ve so far stumbled upon under these current regulations

        Spot On!

  2. JimG (@jimg) said on 17th April 2014, 10:38

    Interesting COTD from PeterG. It’s just a pity that he jumped to his own conclusions instead of reading the article, which makes it clear that the proposal is for a standard FIA suspension system. This would avoid a lot of the problems which PeterG foresees, but would move F1 another step along the road to being a spec series.

  3. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 17th April 2014, 10:46

    Wow, Joe Saward usually saves that scathing tone for people who dare question his reasoning in the comments on the articles on his blog! But he has a point, Ferrari have dropped the ball despite the playing field being skewed in their favour and they need to just get on with it. Their constant bickering and criticism of the new regulations is doing far more harm to the sport than the new powertrains are.

  4. Hemz Shaw (@hemzshaw) said on 17th April 2014, 10:48

    “My other car is an RB10″
    Well first I read it as “My mother’s car is an RB10″, then realized I was wrong. And then also realized that it is wrong grammar.

  5. In response to COTD: using the argument that something is dangerous when it fails could be applied to any number of components on the car, and really isn’t a good excuse not to develop and use the technology. There are more and more road cars appearing with active suspension.

    And secondly dismissing it because it will cause a discrepancy in performance between teams is again another poor argument against it. As the technology matures over a season or two, the difference in performance between systems will diminish. Using your argument we would never see any new technology developments.

  6. nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 17th April 2014, 11:14

    I remember watching Mansel several years ago in the Masters formula. He was driving like a maniac, as he use to when he was active driver, and gaining positions whenever he could with his old flair still burning. I would love to see some more of that please. And of course they are not physically fit like they use to, but they are as crazy as ever because boys will be boys no matter what.

    • Dom (@3dom) said on 17th April 2014, 13:44

      Don’t know how fast all these guys would be, I beat mansell’s time on silverstone simulator on my second lap. I’ve been telling everyone that I could have been the 1992 world champion (if I’d been old enough) ;-)

      • nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 17th April 2014, 15:01

        :D against Nigel? Not a chance mate :). In fact this was the race that I’ve watched back then. Enjoy it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbnvYONIo54

        • Dom (@3dom) said on 17th April 2014, 23:36

          @nidzovski I did a driving experience at silverstone and there was an f1 “simulator” there (sat in a mock up f1 car with computerised track etc) and I did beat mansell’s time (not while racing him mind you) but my comment was purely “tongue in cheek” humour, I’m no professional racing driver, I like to think I’m quick for someone without proper racing experience, so I’ll happily go on fantasising about me being world champ ’92.

          From watching the video, it looks like the legends still have inherent speed, I think Nigel’s time on the simulator was a reflection of him not grasping the computer game handling, highlighted by Gary Paffett being a couple of seconds faster thank us both :-)

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 17th April 2014, 16:37

      Nigel Mansell was my first F1 hero. Sure FW14 helped in 1992 (I was too young for such reasoning) but he was a damn good driver regardless of how good the machine was.
      In those days everybody was either for Senna or Prost, somehow I “fell in love” with that Brit sporting that “uncle moustache”.

      • nidzovski said on 17th April 2014, 20:26

        He drove so agresive but not to the other drivers, his driving style was like that. Extracting the most of the car and he had some kind of fire. Amazing guy in general.

  7. timi (@timi) said on 17th April 2014, 12:04

    I still have no idea why either changes are being mooted. No idea whatsoever.

  8. matt said on 17th April 2014, 12:40

    would love to hear the v10s again, a spec series with 2004 cars would be awesome. detuned a bit of course, for longer lasting.engines, less aero and modern slicks to simplify logistics. but theyd be so much faster than the 2014 cars that it would never happen

  9. David not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 17th April 2014, 13:21

    GP Masters? I think it’s ridiculous.

    Not enough, though, to make me type a comment on it with caps lock on.

    And I guess we’ll get to listen to V10s, so it might be OK.

  10. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 17th April 2014, 13:47

    For anyone who missed the old GP Masters series, I uploaded all of the races onto my YouTube channel:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbM7X17wy_htf21hTJBtLzPkEwaRE96qP

  11. Kazihno (@kazinho) said on 17th April 2014, 14:00

    Bernie want a Masters Series with the V10′s, hey? I floated that idea on this site a couple of weeks ago when the new engine note was the topic of the day.

    The move to the new power units was the right one. Everyone knows it.

    If people miss the sounds of the V8′s so much and think that’s the only reason Grands Prix are popular, there should be enough old cars floating round the world to buy. I’m sure someone who wants to put their money where their mouth is can finance a new masters series: Elderly drivers in Yesterday’s cars driving Mickey Mouse street circuits.

    Come to think of it, it sounds like an idea Stoddart and Flavio would be in for.

    WHERE’S MY ROYALTIES BERNIE??

    • Steven (@steevkay) said on 17th April 2014, 15:12

      I think it’d be cool to just have them run it during F1 weekends as a support race. How cool would it be to see F1 stars of old racing around modern circuits? For safety reasons, I’d imagine they can’t use the really old cars but the V10 era machines would be really cool, since I’m sure the majority of F1 retirees haven’t raced in that machinery. Maybe a simple Saturday shakedown/qualifying and Sunday race (maybe a 1/2 to 2/3 GP distance (150 to 200 kms).

  12. Active suspension would be perfectly okay should the cars have less aerodynamic grip and more power. Streamline front wings – they are far too complicated and expensive – or remove them entirely. Streamline rear wings. Maybe re-introduce ground effect (to an extent) to recover some of the lost downforce. And add power.

    I would rather a technology war manifest alongside the traditional areodynamic wars than it be solely an aerodynamic formula. Though one could argue that for cost saving purposes, that would be negative progress (which is why the FIA seem to be planning on implementing a standard system). But nor would I mind a bit more of the 90′s in F1.

  13. Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 17th April 2014, 16:21

    Most of the anti active ride arguments seem to centre around “detracting from driver skill”, why is it assumed that active ride will detract anything? All active ride does is optimise ride height, spring rate, damping and anti-roll for each corner and straight, rather than providing a compromise of these factors for the good of the whole lap as the current passive set up does. In my eyes, every driver equipped with a common active ride system providing an equally (near as) perfect set up around every corner would put an emphasis on driver skill rather than detracting anything.

    As for more driver aids consequently creeping into the sport, traction control and ABS only creeped into “active F1” in the early 90′s in order to more accurately map the car’s position on the circuit and thus allow the active ride system to operate more precisely. At the time, the car’s position on circuit could only be determined by how many meters it had travelled from the start/finish line, this being achieved by measuring wheel rotation. Wheel-spin and locked brakes would skew these measurements, limiting the precision with which the active ride system could operate. Traction control and ABS were developed in order to combat these factors but this wouldn’t be a problem these days as we have GPS now.

  14. I caught one comment that was censored in Saward and I must say it’s perhaps offensive to Saward but it’s every bit correct. Logic is logic and plotting honour on Ferrari by not agreeing to the budget-cap and then strip them of the honour because they did so without knowing what it would grant them all in the supposisition camp since no one knows who blocked the budget cap but Saward who says that it was the team that was going to profit from it. Confusing? More like perplexing.

    Joe Saward, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Are you sick?

    Ferrari competes in F1 with a number of unfair advantages and if there was some logical thinking going on down there someone would have realised that if there is one team that would gain from a cost cap, it is Ferrari. Why? Because it is smaller than the big manufacturers like Renault and Mercedes Benz, so when it comes to ramping up costs to win, it cannot compete. It even struggles against the soda pop manufacturer Red Bull.

    So, if Ferrari was being sensible, it would be in favour of a cost cap…

    And so Saward says Ferrari should agree with the budget cap that was scrapped by Ferrari… Saward believes Ferrari is responsible for ending something that in his own opinion would benefit Ferrari. That’s confusing Saward, it’s inane. If Ferrari was to benefit from it it surely would try to get the budget cap, or else Ferrari are really good guys, but you don’t believe in that. Find another scapegoat Saward, I’ll give you a hint, the scapegoat is always the teams winning, because like your examples of cycling and athletics, F1 is not transparent and by the way nor is your sensationalistic journalism.

    COTD You can’t have big rims with the current suspension system, one solution would be active ride that would according to the FIA be standard to all, nevertheless there’s a significant scope in that as all technical gizmos, just take a look at the struggles with the brake-by-wire system.

  15. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 17th April 2014, 22:13

    @matt90
    As I cannot respond on the Rosberg article for whatever reason, I’ll respond here.

    Rosberg is considered a Shanghai master not only because of his 2012 win, but also due to his 2010 and 2011 performances. Rosberg was excellent in the 2011 Chinese GP. He challenged Hamilton and Vettel for the win in a significantly inferior car. Red Bull and McLaren had a far better car than Mercedes yet Nico was fighting for the win before he was forced to save fuel in the final stint of the race. In 2010, Rosberg lead 18 laps and finished on the podium, behind the McLaren’s who were untouchable in the wet, and ahead of Vettel and Alonso who had better cars.

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