Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014

Honda: F1 is still fast enough

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014In the round-up: Honda say they returned to F1 because the new engine formula offers comparable speeds with reduced fuel consumption.


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

Honda can match Mercedes (F1)

Yasuhisa Arai: “Yes, [the new engine rules] definitely was one reason for Honda to come back into Formula One, but there was also the fact that the lap times compared to the old engines are very similar, and that means that we are talking about a technology that is very advanced.”

FIA defends Parabolica gravel changes (Autosport)

“This has been requested for safety reasons by the FIA and the drivers, just as it has been at virtually every other circuit that F1 races on.”

Daniel awarded prestigious Trofeo Bandini (Red Bull)

“Named after the legendary Ferrari F1 driver, Lorenzo Bandini, whose childhood home was Brisighella, the prize is awarded each year to the racing driver who has most impressed the judging panel over the previous 12 months.”

Not good news for Vijay (JoeblogsF1)

“After many weeks trying to avoid it, Vijay Mallya and several other directors of Kingfisher Airlines have finally been declared “wilful defaulters” but the state-owned United Bank of India.”

Ecclestone Gets Support From Leading Sports Lawyer (Forbes)

“The spokesman for BayernLB said ‘we don’t have an urge to sue Ecclestone because there is no pressure. We have time to do this. Maybe we will sue and maybe not.'”

Jonathan Williams: 1942 – 2014 (ESPN)

“Having crashed his Mini, Jonathan was watching the race from the fast right-hander at Gerards when Frank [Williams] thumped the bank with his Austin A35 at exactly the same spot and scrambled to the top.”


Comment of the day

@Hunocsi wonders whether putting Max Verstappen in an F1 car at a public event was a smart thing for Red Bull to do:

I don’t want to blame Verstappen in this case, but rather the team – who thought that it was a good idea for a guy without any real testing experience in an F1 car (because his website said he barely drove up and down the straight in Rockingham earlier this week) to be put into a city centre and do doughnuts and this kinds of stuff?

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Katederby, Notna and Derek Taylor!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Former F1 driver Roberto Moreno scored his second and last CART victory on this day in 2001 at Vancouver. Here are highlights from the race:

Image © Williams/LAT

103 comments on “Honda: F1 is still fast enough”

  1. I don’t understand how Charlie Whiting can defend spoiling Formula 1 circuits for safety reasons when he’s happy to ignore safety concerns over standing restarts.

    1. Well said. Same can be said for allowing racing to go on when marshals are trackside pushing cars away at GER and BEL. Its disrespectful beyond belief.

      1. Alas I think its going to take another marshal tragedy (thinking South Africa GP in the 70s) for them to take this more seriously. BEL should have been black flag for Ferrari IMHO (no disrespect for Fernando)

    2. +1 for COTD. Mind boggling!

    3. DK (@seijakessen)
      2nd September 2014, 16:28

      Just remember, Whiting was Ecclestone’s spannerman at Brabham back in the day.

      He only has his job currently because of Ecclestone. The man is an absolute moron that is incapable of picking up on the contradictory nature of many of his statements.

    4. Amen, brother.

      But, where does it say that any decision made by F1 influential people has to be coherent? These people make decisions on the fly and are not consistent at all. Your example is spot on. When we discussed the standing re-starts a few months ago, I said that, unfortunately, it has been over 2 decades since an F1 driver (ironically, the greatest of all time) got killed during a race. The risks associated with standing re-starts are huge and it is not a matter of if, but HOW BAD the crashes will be when they start doing it.

      1. Personally I find the negativity toward CW unwarranted, and I do not believe standing restarts would have been any more dangerous than the race start.

  2. The fuss generated by the Nico vs Hami is because:
    1. They are teammates
    2. The WDC is (almost definitely) for one of them,
    3. Many people claiming Nico planned the move as well as his quali mistake in Monaco, which (according to many) was a Schum-esque move (similar to Schum vs Alo in Monaco too.)
    4. Because it’s the best to talk about between races (I was not so surprised to realize there weren’t any Alonso’s team radios about the team mistake in Spa, about the penalty, etc, etc. Any Kimi teamradio either)
    5. Last but not least, because both Nico and Kimi love social networks and they love saying what is on their minds in a video / twit, and having to take their words back when the team issues an official version.

    Bernie must be happy with these 2 kids making everybody talk about Mercedes problems and making everybody forget the BribeGate he was going through just a few weeks ago.

    1. Totally agree. It was a normal race incident. Maybe Nico was to blame,but if it wasn’t Hamilton everybody would dismiss it as an ordinary occurance. It’s good like that, we have a proper rivalry. Most say no, that drivers have to be gentlemen but almost all WDC were dirty at some point in their career. If it’s not endangering anyone, let them have fun I say. More entertainment for the viewer.

    2. Nice said mate.

  3. So Schumacher got a puncture at the Brazilian GP in 2006.
    The incidents are indeed very similar. But the most interesting thing was to see the tire keep it together and not disintegrate like Pirelli’s current ones.

    1. because we all know the Pirellis are crap even after all this time. Drivers have hinted about poor grip, temperature etc. Obviously they can’t say what they really want to say.

      1. Please couch this as: FIA-spec Pirellis

      2. Pirelli have a brief from F1 to make tyres that wear and have poor grip outside a narrow temperature window.

        If they wanted tey good make tires that last a GP distance without much loss of grip at all, I’m sure, but that would make F1 quite boring.

        It must be tough for Pirelli PR wise because if the racing is great they never get any share in the credit not even a little and are only mentioned in relation to terms as “poor grip” “explosions” “tyre-wear”
        It must be nightmare pr-wise haha

        1. I understand the FIA spec Pirellis. BUT even after all this time, the tyres are too sensitive to temperature, they can’t be pushed at 100% for more than a handful of laps.

          The wet weather tyres look atrocious, never in my life have I seen, not 1 but 2 drivers loose control under a safety car.

          1. Is everyone really entertained by drivers who pit with 10laps to go & and just plow through the field with tyres that lap 2-4 secs per lap faster than everyone without a challenge?

        2. Some of the best racing F1 ever had was without made-to-fail tyres, what is boring in F1 is teams bringing drivers in for a tyre change so as to put them back out on an empty part of the track.

    2. That could very well have to do with the cut as well.

    3. 1. you assume that in both cases the cut to the tire was similar. From what we can see rosberg lost part of his front wing when he made contact but fisi did not even lose any parts of the wing. That alone suggests that the contact was lighter and the cut less serious (still made a hole though).
      2. The driver can also control how much the tire disintegrates. Hamilton came back to the pits too fast which ripped the tire apart and broke the floor. A lap of spa is also a lot longer than lap of interlagos which also puts more tear to the broken tire.
      3. The tires are designed the way fia wants them (lots of wear, lots of variation in grip during a stint). It is not easy to make tires that lose a lot of grip but are durable.

  4. I really hope that the McLaren chassis is good for 2015, I have no doubt the Honda power unit will be very good, because it’s Honda, and they’ve had a good deal of time to prepare and learn from mistakes others have made. It would be so sad to see all that effort wasted on another mid field quality chassis. However, I think that this deal could potentially give McLaren some wagering power when negotiating deals for next season, I don’t think Jenson will carry on next year, so there may be a seat available, but I can’t see who they would sign. Seb is still on contract and Fernando has been confirmed for next season. I would love to see both Fernando and Seb in the same team, but I would like to also see Kevin getting a proper run, as it’s been difficult to tell how well he’s done this season.

    1. Yup, KMag needs another shot for sure, and Alonso would be awesome. I STILL have my Alonso cap and t-shirt from the first time round :)

      1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        2nd September 2014, 12:44

        You won’t be fooling anyone with the ’07 McLaren gear, it’s got lots of sponsors on it.

        1. @jackisthestig must have been lost in translation, this was a joke not that he was trying to actually fool people!

          1. ..and Jack’s joke was that McLaren doesn’t have a title sponsor. At least that’s how I read it.

          2. @gicu LMAO actually even I just got that. Priceless!

      2. @fletchuk Alonso has said this morning “I don’t intend changing team”…

        1. sigh…

    2. Vettel and Alonso in this year’s Mercedes. Now, that would be brilliant, a true dominance, likely to beat Mclaren’s 89 and Ferrari’s 00s to shame.

      1. Aside from I seriously doubt Vettel and Alonso could have secured much better results than HAM and ROS this year with all the same mishaps and problems

        1. *Aside from Spa

    3. Frijns!

      (yes, this is going to be my answer for every silly season speculation from now on)

      1. Haha, go you!

        I’m afraid his unfortunate (timing of) choice of teams and lack of diplomatic skill mean we will never get to see him race :(

        1. Four years three titles: Formula BMW EU champ
          Formula Renault EU champ
          World Series Renault Champ
          No seat in F1……

          He said ‘no’ to RedBull twice over those years though and called them names, so I do feel part of the blame is on himself. He also doesn’t have sponsors money but that’s more of a Dutch thing as we its just too small a market.

    4. Instead of Denis, I’d keep both drivers for next season. Then for 2016 I’d ditch Button and put Vettel in his seat, because Fernando is getting old and it’s more beneficial to lure top star for multiple contract, not for 1-2 years.

  5. I was lucky enough to have a driving experience in an Ariel Atom a couple of weeks ago. It’s like driving a rollercoaster such is the adrenaline the acceleration has on you. I felt like I was going to puke at first so I had to time my breathing so I could clench my stomach when going on the loud pedal. After a few mind bending accelerations you get more comfortable and you can enjoy it… a lot. If that is what an Atom can do, I’m sure F1 is more than adequate right now!!!

    1. I had a supercar experience last year. I drove a V8 Vantage, which was awesome. I just wish I’d had more laps, I was just getting into it when I had to stop.

      However, I noticed the Atom sat there, and had to book a couple of laps in it. That car scared the **** out of me! Going from the Aston to the Ariel was a huge shock. Everything was so raw: Brakes, throttle response, steering…. I really felt like I was having to work to get the car to do what I wanted, almost having to fight it, wrestle it into submission. I am certain that it would be immense fun given a bit of time to get used to it. It is certainly a great car, but in a very different way to the Aston.

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        2nd September 2014, 15:56


        1. He’s replying to my comment with an equivalent experience to talk about. A good read. That’s the relevance, Hans.

      2. Hell, I drove a racing BMW 325 and even that was both very challenging and tremendously exciting to drive.

    2. I’ve driven quite a few supercars on the experiences and have to say the Atom is fun but the Mclaren comes damn close.

  6. This Parabolica thing is just ridiculous. Parabolica used to be one hard corner, if you made a mistake, you would ruin your race, so a race driver would have to progressively to find the it’s limits…. With Tarmac drivers will drive like asses and get away with it…

    Most of the new tracks are rubish and booring, now they want to ruin the good old tracks. Shame on you FIA

    1. I’m sure things like don’t help with the falling viewers, along with a lot of other things.

      Why can’t they put gravel for 10 feet and then tarmac so at least there is punishment.


      This is the final parabolica exit! I believe that the artificial grass will cost time to those who exceed track limits!

      1. Cost time? I’d rather see someone get beached in the gravel.. I think Renault would rather Pastor beach the car than slam into the inevitable wall a few corners later.

        I understand the need to neuter the track for MotoGP purposes, but I would like to see more of a penalty for running offtrack. Wet the astroturf at least.

  7. Maybe I’m missing something here, but why are so many people convinced the McLaren-Honda thing will be good from the word go? McLaren are having a bad run, even when they have had good cars in recent seasons (2010, 2012) they manage to throw themselves under the bus. Honda was not very successful in their last stint as an engine supplier as well, with only a surprise win from Jenson Button to show for it. Arguably they had one of the better engines in the 2004 season, but they, much like BMW, boasted more about horse power than they did about wins during that time.

    I’m not expecting it to go like McLaren’s little affair with Peugeot in 1994, but rather I’d wait until after the nostalgia and PR has worn off and we’ve seen some 2015 pre-season testing..

    1. I think it’s probably because of the 80s/90s success they were celebrating when Prost/Senna battle was in full swing. It maybe won’t go as well as many expect but can it be much worse than now?
      Maybe Honda is Maclaren’s medicine.
      Honda was very successful with Turbos so if they can make it, it’s probably with the current type of engines.

      1. Comparing the engines from the 1980’s with today is not exactly a great comparison though – the design requirements have moved on a long, long way from that era, as has the technology and production standards.
        Now, that isn’t to say that they would not be able to produce a reasonably solid turbo engine – they can draw on their experience from other modern racing series to draw on – but, as HoHum points out, it is the overall integration of those systems with the energy recovery systems that are in widespread use that will be the more challenging aspect.

        I’d agree with Nick that it is still far too early to assume that things will be any different with Honda than they have been with Mercedes.

    2. @npf1, What did you expect from a Honda spokesman on the official F1 site ? Actually F1 is strange, fancy the Ferrari being very reliable and the MB not so reliable, back in the Arrows days the Honda (V12?) had a habit of going off like a fragmentation grenade, but once again I have to state that the V6 ICE is so constrained by the rules that its basic components should be bullet-proof, the ancilliaries are the problem area for this generation of F1 PUs.

      1. Was there ever an Arrows-Honda?

        1. Yep, only for a couple of years, when it was the Footwork Arrows team in the early 90s

        2. Yes there has been. The Footwork (Arrows) FA13 & FA14 were powered by V10 Mugen Honda engines.

    3. @toxic That’s the thing, as anon said, we’re pretty far away from the 80s as far as regulations go, chassis and engine wise. People are focusing on the facts from 1988-1992, while that era also saw Williams-Renault fight for championships, who also failed to recapture their 1989-1997 brilliance between 2010 and 2013. Actually, it’s more as if people are wilfully forgetting the 2000-2008 era of Honda in F1..

      Renault was the one to bring turbo engines to F1, Ferrari won many races with turbo engines, yet Mercedes, who (re)entered F1 in 1995, made the best PU. Past results have no guarantee for future results.

      @hohum The PR on is just the tip of the iceberg, though. There are a lot of (self-professed) F1 experts online who, in regards to the Alonso/Vettel/Hamilton to McLaren rumors are talking about the new Honda era as if they’re going to enter a 1988-esque season when they join..

      For Ferrari engines to be bulletproof and Mercedes engines to blow up every time, we only have to go back about 10 years. Between 2002 and 2004, Schumacher had an amazing run of races without technical failure, while DC and Kimi were lucky to finish 3 races in a row without blowing up the engine.

      I think you’re confusing Honda with Mugen-Honda in the case of Arrows. Honda was quick to claim any podium as theirs, but when Mugen-Honda were winning races with Jordan in 1999, Honda themselves were working on their own team and later their own engine, with little help from Mugen, so I personally see those entries as separate.

      1. I agree with you views. I was just trying to rationalize why many of F1 fans are putting so much faith into this partnership.
        After so many disappointments from McLaren many people will see the Honda move as a hope for better times and we won’t know up until next year how it turns out.
        I think that they may actually be quite successful. They now know the main design principles of the best engine out there. It’s not really much but I can’t believe that Mercedes could really block the knowledge transfer.
        I am just happy that we will have some fresh air in the paddock from the technology perspective. It’s always good for the sport.

      2. @npf1, regarding F1 engine reliability comparisons I was comparing the F1 reputation with the road car reputation, there is a good reason for all those ultra-low mileage Ferraris out there.

    4. Bare in mind that Mclaren have had that Honda engine in the chassis at the MTC for 2 yrs that I know of. I’ve got a photo from June 2012 that I took on an evening visit. I reckon they’ll be on it from the start

    5. I think pretty much any change at McLaren can only be positive now. Sigh…

  8. That CART race i saw it on tv when i was just 9 years old. It was amazing, CART was what brought me to motorsports and let me developed a love for racing.

    1. @ausuma Any excuse for a bit of classic CART action. There are some creative pronunciations going on in that video, though!

    2. Late 1990s/early 2000s CART was the finest racing series on the planet.

      1. Love rewatching CART races from JV’s tenure, 94 and 95.

  9. Am i the only one feeling uneasy aboout watching the putin gp? I will watch like i watched bahrain but it doesnt feel right. Atleast the bahranis were only opressing their own… putins actions feel worse and im unconfortable with it.

    1. Only thing you shouldn’t be watching is Fox or CNN News.

    2. Alex , I’m in total agreement with you there. I keep expecting to see Angela Merkel or John Kerry waving a piece of paper and announcing ” I have in my hand a letter from president Putin…………..”

    3. No, you are not the only one Alex.

    4. feels a bit like the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Nazi Germany!

      1. Nope, Am looking forward to it as I do all new races.

      2. How do you know what it felt like?

        1. @major-dev Isn’t it obvious? @coldfly here was clearly watching the 1936 Berlin Olympics

        2. @major-dev – Easy, its all over the internet! The OC36 is commonly known as a big propaganda fest! Luckily between all the propaganda there was some good sporting achievements as well.
          Let’s hope the GP will be the same!

    5. It’s absurd that the GP is going through as planned. We shouldn’t race there. Period.

    6. If I was going to not watch the Russian GP because of their politics, I’d have to look away every time they showed Kvyat or one of the Marussias as well!

      F1 goes to plenty of countries I would class as “dodgy” in that regard and it doesn’t stop anyone from watching!

      Frankly, if we’re getting on the high horse about this sort of thing, shouldn’t be just not watch F1 at all as it is run by Bernie?

      1. The Russian Grand Prix and Russian World Cup represent corruption at the highest level of sport. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is something both Fifa and Bernie ought to be reminded of. When huge money is involved, perceived human rights abuse or unjustified war are reduced to small hindrances that can swiftly be brushed under the carpet and labelled as nothing more than ‘the British media stirring up stories’. So sad.

    7. Do you feel comfortable watching Austin, Melbourne, Silverstone? Glass houses and all that…

      1. I was gonna say that too :) If you feel comfortable watching the US-GP, you shouldn’t have a problem watching any other Grand Prix on the calender.

    8. The trouble here is, as you put it, it’s “Putin GP” and not “Russian GP”.

      I’ll watch the GP but I don’t support Putin. I don’t subscribe his stuff, I’ll watch it because I like F1 more than I dislike Putin.

      1. The 1986 Hungarian GP was never referred to as a “Pál Losonczi GP”, nor did anyone ever felt like watching it would in any way support Losonczi.

  10. I feel Honda had to say this to sign by attracting SV/FA after the failure of negotiations between the Mclaren and these two.

  11. Honda is absolutely right. Hybrid is the way to go and F1 has restored part of its appeal by adopting those sophisticated power units. Look at what road sport cars makers are doing already: Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive, BMW i8. Toyota is working on their FT1 to join the new era.

    F1 is a prime lab for car makers again, a place WEC was running away with. I would not be surprised if in few years another German car maker joins F1.

  12. I do not understand the Parabolica gravel changes. It is always referred to as one of the favourite corners in F1. Putting asphalt in the run-off is like putting a chicane before Eau Rouge or like installing a traffic light at Casino!

    As far as I know the major accidents (Rindt, von Trips) happened before Parabolica, and gravel or asphalt in the corner would have made no difference.
    And if there is an accident like Raikkonen’s at Silverstone, then the asphalt could even make it worse.

    1. It’ll be like Blanchimont – it looks like there’s less fear and respect for the corner now. Drivers can run out wide and get away with it, not even losing a place or lap time. I’m sure there’s less overtaking into the Spa chicane now because of that.

      I agree they should have tarmacked just the entry part, made it safer for brake failures and collisions on the way in, but the exit onto the rettifilo should still catch numpties out (I’m thinking of Fisichella in his one and only Ferrari drive at Monza).

      If everyone going to Monza takes a pocketful of gravel to throw on the second half of the Parabolica runoff, that should solve the problem!

      1. @bullfrog – ;-)

        If everyone going to Monza takes a pocketful of gravel to throw on the second half of the Parabolica runoff, that should solve the problem!

        Or maybe get a massive IceBucketChallenge in the run-off before the race to make it slippery and wet. (testing Bernie’s sprinkler idea along the way)

  13. They keep on adding new reasons to lose passion for F1. F1 gets more unreal year by year. Eventually racing videogames will be more entertaining.

    1. @petrucci Especially if the video games have 80s cars in them! :P

  14. RE Parabolica: I guess the reason they replaced the gravel with asphalt is not only done for Formula 1, but also for superbikes. When a bike slides into the gravel at high speed, it will start spinning violently, pretty much destroying the bike. With asphalt or grass run-off areas, this won’t happen and thus it is safer for the bikes and riders. I think that’s fair

    Now, the real reason I dislike the new parabolica is the corner exit, which now looks like this. What was thrilling about the old corner exit is that if you had to be very precise: run a couple centimetres wide and you end up in the gravel, like Hamilton and Vergne found out in qualifying last year.

    I do not understand why they don’t have a strip of grass (one meter wide) running all the way along the parabolica. This provides safety for both 4-wheel and 2-wheel motorsport, while still presenting the drivrs and riders with a challenge.

    “I think that now what you will see is the drivers finding the limits sooner, because we know there will not be the big gravel and crash penalty like previously.”

    Is that an improvement though? Grosjean implies that the corner is less challenging with asphalt – these are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, right?

    “Of course we know that it is not as punishing to a driver who leaves the track, but that is the price that we pay for much improved safety: a price both the drivers and I believe is worth paying.”

    That’s a whole different discussion. In my opinion, danger is an integral part of motorsports in general, and Formula 1 in particular. Compare it to tightrope walking: if you do it one meter above the ground, that’s impressive. But when you do it across a canyon or whatever, now that’s an achievement. Will people remember the guy walking one meter above the ground? Of course not. Will people remember the guy walking across a canyon? Yes!

    This of course doesn’t imply that I would like to see a repeat of Imola ’94. I don’t want to see drivers dying, but at the same time I want to feel that what these drivers are doing is something only a few men on earth can do. It’s a balance, and in my opinion Formula 1 has become too safe.

    1. It’s a balance, and in my opinion Formula 1 has become too safe.

      It shouldn’t be dangerous for the drivers but it should be dangerous for the car. A mistake should include the possibilty of losing the car without the driver getting hurt. That’s what F1 is missing.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      2nd September 2014, 16:16


      People need to realize that this was done by FIM’s request. Monza isn’t used by just F1 alone.

  15. I’m a bit surprised you chose that video which was merely a failed overtaking manoeuvre instead of Lewis slicing up Massa’s and Vettel’s tires.

    1. Oohhhh controversial! but +1

    2. Because Lewis’ slicing up Massa’s and Vettel’s tires was pretty much intentional, in a sense that he hit them intentionally in a brain-fade moment caused by lack of patience and frustration.
      Fisico and Schumacher is much closer to Nico v Lewis’ situation, because it was barely a touch and it wasn’t intentional.

      1. You could also say that it had a part to play in that year’s championship..

  16. Its interesting how Charlie Whiting is saying the Parabollica tarmac runoff change was done at the request of Drivers/FIA given how the official line from Monza when they made the change was that it was done at the request of Dorna & FIM after a meeting with them in January to discuss circuit safety for the bikes.

    Monza has traditionally been a part of the World Superbike series but its not part of that series schedule this year due to Monza failing FIM Circuit homologation due to safety concerns with regards to the runoff.
    Its expected to return to the WSB schedule in 2015 now that changes to the runoff have been made & part of those changes included the tarmac runoff at parabollica.

  17. Parabolica used to be a very challenging technical corner not only for the drivers but also for the engineers. Engines were prepared to face the challenge of slowing down and still deliver constant torque level through all the corner similar to the last turn in Hungaroring but with more speed. Maybe the increase of torque level significantly this year pushed the FIA to introduce their usual safety standards, so the drivers now will have no problem of finding the corner’s limit and even make mistakes and get away with it.
    The thing is that the FIA are running what used to be the pinnacle of motorsports by taking the thrill factor from it which is by the way killing the drivers skills, no wonder a 17 years old boy will make his debut next year .
    I’m not by the way ignoring the safety improvements over the last 20 years but it seems to me that the FIA are having some kind of safety-mania.
    I’m personally against every change that is related to real fast corners which differentiate between men and boys for safety reasons. Look at Spa which is arguably the best all around track in the world despite having 2 dangerous corners like Eau Rouge (BTW Stephan Bellof died there, Zanardi also miraculously survived) and Blanchiement (Burti springs to my mind), by these standards we should also put a chicane before Eau Rouge and Blanchiement. My point is that F1 should remain something extremely thrilling with the right safety standards, the ideal place for the most brave and capable drivers in the world.

  18. I remember a number of years ago Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart being involved in quite a public spat about the safety of F1. JYS had obviously been on the safety crusade for a number of years and was not willing to concede an inch in his pursuit to get the sport to an acceptable standard. Conversely Moss’ view, which I disagreed with at the time, was that the must be a level of danger in the sport so the drivers would be challenged and therefore respected. I didn’t particularly feel that that was warranted; the cars were super fast, the barriers were not at todays specification and the pit lane was another danger. However, very recently I’ve started to come round to Moss’ point of view.

    Firstly, and this is not a slate on the guy himself, but the decision to sign up a 17 year old to a Formula 1 seat suggests the sport is certainly not at the physical maximum it was a decade ago and in my opinion fitness should be a performance variable between the drivers. The cars are too easy to drive.

    Also we are beginning to see old circuits being neutered as well as increasingly dull layouts being implemented. Eau Rouge, Blanchimont, 130R, Copse, Stowe, Parabolica, inevitably Curva Grande and just about every chicane you can think of now have been replaced with tarmac run off. It could also be argued this deters overtaking as fast corners leading into chicanes allow the driver to keep and advantage. Think Daniel Ricciardo at Suzuka last year. I want to see a punishment for running wide and not just having a lap time deleted. The difference between racing Monaco with 20m run off and racing it lined with barriers is akin to the difference between fans and F1 legends. We love and respect these guys because they take risks and have the skill to put the car on a 50p piece. Let us see it.

    Finally, I think whilst the safety of tracks and cars is better than ever some on track decisions have been well below par. The Sauber stranded on the last corner in Hockenheim should have been the most obvious candidate for a safety car and seeing marshals run across the racing line was asking for trouble. One day there will be a miscommunication and the luck will run out. This could also be said of pushing a car from the apex of curve Paul Frere last week in Belgium.

    I am all for safety. But Sir Jackie’s legacy will not be undermined by very abrasive run off stripes that wear the tyre quickly. Anyone who has played Forza will know the type of run off material I seek. Think Paul Ricard on steroids. Perhaps, we are at the tipping point where skill and difficulty are added to the sport again.

    1. @rbalonso

      Eau Rouge, Blanchimont, 130R, Copse, Stowe, Parabolica, inevitably Curva Grande and just about every chicane you can think of now have been replaced with tarmac run off.

      Eau Rouge needed tarmac runoff as the gravel did nothing to slow cars down, At the speed they were doing through there & with some cars going light over the top the cars just skipped over the gravel & in worst case dug in & flipped.
      Also the top needs tarmac now because thats where the 2nd pit lane exit is for the Sportscar/GT races.

      Blanchimont needed it because as Burti’s accident showed in 2001, A car going off there & going over uneven grass/gravel has no chance to slow down, Especially as in Burti’s case the grass/gravel rips the front suspension up which takes your brakes & steering away.

      Similar with 130R, Allan Mcnish’s crash there in 2002 would not have been as bad had his car not taken off slightly running over the uneven grass/Gravel. With tarmac back then he’d have had much more time to slow down, Would not have been launched slightly & may not have gone through/over the barriers.
      Its similar with some of the other corners you list.

      But also consider other categories, Circuits are not just looking at F1 they have to look at everything that runs there.
      For bikes tarmac is a lot safer as there’s no flipping/rolling as there is with gravel.
      For GT/Sportscars tarmac is better because they dig into grass/gravel much easier & often get stuck which usually results in more safety cars & more damage done to the cars getting them out.
      Some of the smaller categories are far more prone to flipping in gravel than an F1 car would be, It used to be a particular problem with Formula Ford cars.

      Since tarmac runoff started been introduced we have seen a lot less flips across most categories which can only be a good thing as cars/bikes flipping through gravel traps is definitely not a good thing.

      1. I agree with you Peter and you raise good points. I am certainly not campaigning for the reintroduction of gravel as I agree with the reasons you have highlighted above. However, I believe there should be a penalty for exceeding the track limits. I believe that solution to be Paul Ricard-esque tarmac run off’s and can not see why more is not being done to implement them. If I see one car recover through Parabolica this weekend I will be disappointed that other solutions were not explored. Perhaps, this new material is expensive and not widely available yet but it must be looked at. Changing the colour of the run off to at least apply a visual deterrent would be a start.

        1. They just need to have just over a car width of real grass between the track & the runoff.

          As Anthony Davidson has said a few times the astro-turf works fine in some corners as going over it can lose you some traction. However on faster corners the cars have more than enough downforce to use the Astro-turf without problem.

          Anthony Davidson has also brought up the kurbs they use on a few corners at Bahrain. He said at turn 8 especially the kurb is configured in a way that its not only very uncomfortable to run over but also does cost you time if you go too far over it.
          I think the final corner is similar, It has a sort of double kurbing (Slightly sloping initial kurb with a 2nd step onto another kurb at the back of it) & while you still see cars run out wide occasionally at the final corner its a definite time loss as they try to stay off the kurb which tends to unsettle the car.
          Although I don’t think its as aggressive a step as it used to be.

          1. Here you see the kurb at the final corner at Bahrain-

            Have a kurb like that with a strip of grass behind it & it should be about perfect as far as stopping cars running too wide without losing time goes.

  19. Will there be no F1 Fanatic predictions for Russian GP – to keep it in line with previous years?

  20. Anyone else cringe a little when the (presumably) British interviewer referred to Honda’s Jerez test as “D-Day” when asking the Japanese Motorsport chief?

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