F1’s road relevance important for Mercedes

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014In the round-up: Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche says the current F1 rules packs is a major part of the sport’s appeal for Mercedes.

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F1 Fanatic Live will be running this weekend during the Formula Renault 3.5 races from Spa and the IndyCar races from Detroit. There’s one each on Saturday and Sunday – look out for the live posts on the home page ahead of the start.


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

Merc: Exit talks were held (Sky)

“With the objective to save fuel, be efficient and have very high performance, that’s exactly what we have to do with our production cars and we use exactly the same technical components. That’s why it’s making even more sense with the regulations than in the past.”

De Silvestro: gender no issue in racing (Autosport)

“I’ve never felt it was tougher or different, because I think the important thing is to prove you can be as fast, and if you are winning races or upfront people just consider you a race car driver.”

Monaco Grand Prix onboard video highlights (Canal+)

Half an hour of onboard video footage from the Monaco Grand Prix (seemingly not region-locked).

The First Time – with Williams’ Felipe Massa (F1)

“What was the first Grand Prix you can remember watching?
FM: I think it was 1988, when I was with my dad in Interlagos.”

1994 F1 seasonHead for Goodwood for that old-fashioned Formula One roar (The Telegraph)

“Other famous F1 machines confirmed to tackle the 1.16-mile course past Lord March’s family home include the infamous Benetton-Ford that Michael Schumacher hustled to claim the 1994 drivers’ championship at the expense of Damon Hill, who was denied by a single point after a controversial crash that took them both out.”

Organised chaos of the Sky lane at Monaco (The Independent)

Sky presenter Simon Lazenby: “Last year [with the V8 engines] I couldn’t hear myself think at the street circuits. Do I miss it? You know what? I’m quite happy with my hearing as it is! Damon Hill will back me up – he loves it like this.”

The loss of alcohol sponsorship won’t be the end of Formula One (Sportsmarketer)

“The total spend across all teams and FOM comes to around $60m, with Johnnie Walker contributing the most at around a third – but most of that goes to FOM for circuit signage.”


Comment of the day

One topic has driven more comments than any other this week – the fight for supremacy between the two Mercedes drivers. Is this a positive development for F1 or has it already become tiresome?

To be honest, I very much enjoy this rivalry. This is in fact the only thing interesting to look out for in F1 this season so far. For example I am not quite sure whose going to win the forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix although odds may be favouring Hamilton slightly. Which explains, the season is exciting.

And I am quite hopeful that Red Bull will be as quick as Mercedes by the end of the year which makes the competition even more exciting. As Ricciardo will probably take points from either of Mercedes drivers and will be fun to see how will it pan out in the drivers’ championship ultimately.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

The second round of the 1954 world championship was held four-and-a-half months after the first and featured none of the F1 regulars – it was of course the Indianapolis 500, won for the second year in a row by Bill Vukovich.

As the newsreel announcer below points out, “he took the chequer only 70 seconds ahead…”


Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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64 comments on F1’s road relevance important for Mercedes

  1. andae23 (@andae23) said on 31st May 2014, 10:37

    Regarding road relevance, I wrote a piece about it a few days ago, questioning whether F1 needs road relevance.

    In the current F1, I can definitely see why road relevance is important: Honda would not have returned, and I can imagine Renault and Mercedes dropping out too. But to be honest, road relevance is boring – I would prefer to see a 1994 Ferrari over a 2014 Ferrari.

    Hence I think a solution might be to have a very strong budget cap on engine development, such as to lure privateer engine companies such as Cosworth, Mecachrome (PURE) and perhaps even Judd to F1. The rules could be opened up to allow for V6 turbos, but also V8s, V10s, V12s, whatever they like. As a result, the noise debate will be obliterated since we will have a whole palette of interesting engine noises.

    Of course this is not feasible right now, since it will get vetoed anyway. I guess if something like this will eventually happen, it will require an entirely new way of thinking. Thinking about it, it’s weird that a sport that is becoming more of an entertainment event is sacrificing a lot for the sake of being ‘road relevant’ in the eyes of the engine manufacturers.

    And what about Mercedes, Renault and Honda? Just let them go to the much more road relevant LMP1 (who are doing a much better job with their regulations anyway). Problem solved.

    • Egorov (@egorov) said on 31st May 2014, 10:40

      @andae23 Very well put

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 31st May 2014, 14:29

      LMP1 is more road relevant, but it has nowhere near the commercial penetration F1 has.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 31st May 2014, 14:37

      @andae23 Having read your article and your post above I’m not sure I can agree, although I know many will. I don’t see a problem with F1 being road relevant, and I think that sentiment has grown over the years. I think that what has evolved since the 50’s and 60’s and even 94 is that we now know more than ever how badly we have been treating the planet environmentally. In another decade, how relevant will engines up to and including V-12’s be to anything? But I guess your point on that is that relevance to anything is not the issue. F1 should stand on it’s own, including with privateer engine makers, I guess to help put more of the racing back in F1 and less entertainment? Although racing has always had to be entertaining or it would never have become what it has. Entertainment is not a 4 letter word. I’m not sure I’m clear on what ‘lot’ has been sacrificed for the sake of road relevance.

      One of my thoughts given the great rivalry we are seeing at Merc is that it becomes less relevant what or who is powering the cars, and their noise quality, when the racing is there.

      My main concern right now is not the engine or it’s noise, not that Cosworth and PURE is not involved, but that with double points, which could be eradicated with a simple nod by Todt, will potentially ruin a fantastic rivalry by seeing one driver robbed of the WDC and the other only win it because he had the luxury of double points. That to me is more relevant than anything for this season. And for now, I’ll take Mercs word for it that if road relevance is something they need to see in F1, then that is the current lay of the land. I don’t see how in 10 years, going to a choice of engines, and I guess therefore free reign on fuel consumption, is going to be relevant to F1 or the road. I wonder if gone are the days of excess in everything, racing simply for the sake of racing because you have a bottomless pit of money and resources and don’t need to account for those dollars in any way that relates to selling cars other than via badge recognition. I suggest the movement of F1 to more road relevance is going in the right direction toward a necessary economizing of those big dollars put toward F1 by having them mean something more in the long run…to everyone. As long as the racing puts us on the edge of our seats…win, win.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 31st May 2014, 15:11

        @robbie Good points.

        One of my thoughts given the great rivalry we are seeing at Merc is that it becomes less relevant what or who is powering the cars, and their noise quality, when the racing is there.

        I have to agree with that, there is pretty much no correlation between engine configuration and the quality of racing. The main thing I would like to see is variation, which could be accomplished by 1) more engine manufacturers; 2) more allowed engine configurations. I just think it’s a shame that F1 pushing for being road relevant has closed up the engine regulations so much. Nonetheless, it’s not critical; the engine business in F1 is relatively healthy at the moment anyway.

        • PeterG said on 31st May 2014, 22:49

          Even if the engine configuration regulations were opened up its almost certain that everyone would end up with the same one as one configuration will prove better than the rest.

          When turbo’s were 1st banned for 1989 initially everyone went different direction & we had V8s/10s/12s, But 10 years later everyone had gone to a V10 because a V10 proved to be the best configuration.

          The V12’s were too big, Heavy, used too much fuel & that all meant compromises had to be made with car design & packaging which is why Ferrari decided to switch to a V10 for 1996.
          The V8s were smaller, lighter, better on fuel & more drivable but they didn’t have the torque or overall power of the other configurations which is why it eventually died out as soon as Ford had a V10 which Minardi could afford.

          • PeterG said on 31st May 2014, 22:52

            Also remember that the current V6 turbo with hybrid systems is the engine formula which the engine manufacturer’s involved wanted.

            F1 like Indycar went to the engine manufacturer’s & asked for input on the engine rules & both series ended up with V6 Turbo’s, Only difference is that Indycar doesn’t have the hybrid systems.

  2. Valentin Stoian (@wally02avg) said on 31st May 2014, 10:38

    The article with Simona De Silvestro does point out what i was always thought about motoracing, that gender is mostly irrelevant. In contrast to what some were claiming in the past years, it seems to me that F1 is a man’s world simply because of the low number of women that are interested in pursuing a carrer in motorsports rather than it being a case of them getting overlooked or rejected for reasons unrelated to performance.
    I think it all has to do with how well someone races and if a woman proves she can get the same results, she will get the place she deserves.
    The only real difference I can see is sponsorship, in the sense that it seems women can have an easier time finding sponsors or getting the coverage in media sponsors require.
    I’m not trying to say there aren’t any people against women racing in F1 but there aren’t enough of them to become a real problem

  3. JCost (@jcost) said on 31st May 2014, 13:07

    Banning alcohol sponsorship is a bad idea.

  4. F1′s road relevance doesn’t entertain people. That sound of downshifts combined with visible extreme speeds does.. with new FormulaE and all they are heading in opp. direction. V12 can end this boring sport!!

    and saving environment? yea with so many retirements all that money/resources getting wasted because of complexity of Hybrid engine.. F1 has been about engine/parts running at extreme which cant be the same in Road cars as they need better reliability..If mercedes can make a winning car then their engineers can make innovative solutions for road cars too… so unless its for producing Laferrari i dont see Its relevance F1.

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