F1 Fanatic - F1
The ol cat n mouse game has started again. Ferrari, Mercedes and Williams have or are copying the the RedBull exhaust system. Ferrari have become the masters of replication instead of invention, Mclaren although inventive are no longer progressive ( throughout the season that is ) while many of the other teams just follow suite. Budget restrictions are obviously not holding the top teams back, as the developments and upgrades come more often than not. Wind tunnels and other simulations allow virtual testing yet we continue to see copycats rather than copyrights. Is there ever going to be another Adrian Newey?
Its an interesting question this.
Certainly there are examples of originality that don’t originate from Newey just from this sesason’s pre-testing alone. William’s gear box, Torro Rosso’s double floor and Renault’s exhaust are all innovative and are working well. Further, McLaren’s progressive design will come good – but it might take a while for that to happen.
However, you’re right in saying that the basis for each car (possibly with the exception of the Ferrari – as I believe that is a push-rod setup) is the Red Bull designed by Newey. He is certainly the biggest innovator in the paddock. However, to say that he is the only innovator is unfair.
Copying the designs of others has always been in F1 too. When you are racing for ultimate performance and something works on a rivals car, its far easier to copy a design that works than come up with an entirely new, unproven solution. And when money rides on that performance, i’d choose a proven design every time
Don’t fix it if it aint broken!
As interesting as it is to see constant original development, I think we have enough of it considering limited testing, the RRA and belt-tightening budgets.
And then there’s the scenario like BrawnGP and the double diffuser…from what I recall, they and 2 other teams interpreted the rule such that this was their solution…other teams interpreted the rule differently and thought a double diffuser would be illegal, and in fact it was called into question at the start of the season only to be allowed by the FIA rather than banned, which is what the other teams were hoping for, and the next thing you know everybody was following suit and in fact many caught up to them, just too late in the game. Button already had the lion’s share of his WDC winning points from the first half of the season.
I also think there are probably hundreds of unique and original ideas from many designers that have to remain on the drawing board as rules and money and time dictate what suits their package and what doesn’t, what they can feasibly use and what they can’t, always mindful of how much effect one innovation has on the rest of the design of the car. One cannot usually just impliment a unique idea without it affecting many other aspects of how the car performs, thus requiring other changes to the car and the thought process to accomodate said unique idea.
Funkyf1 you raise a very good question, and one angle I look at if from is that F1 was supposed to be heading toward budget caps lowering the cost to compete in F1, and they were supposed to be heading toward more stability in the rules to allow some of the ‘have not’ teams to catch up to the ‘have’ teams to tighten up the field and attract new teams (post-manufacturer exodus) who theoretically could enter F1 with a bit of reassurance that they won’t spend forever at the bottom of the totem pole…so if they head toward budget caps and rule stability, that will restrict the innovations that can be implemented, but perhaps make the Adrian Neweys’ of the world even more important as they have to work within a much more restricted range of possible legal innovations. ie. the cars may be heading towards being more generic, ala CART, Indy, Nascar for more affordable racing and a tighter grid. Or perhaps said restrictions eliminate the need for such powerful innovators as Adrian Newey since they can’t implement their unique ideas due to rules restrictions?…so I wonder what experts with far more knowledge and experience than myself would say to this. I remember someone saying quite a while back that Adrian Newey was more important to his team (whatever team that might be at the time) than MS was to Ferrari. I wonder if that would be the case in a series that allows far less room for innovation. Is every ‘little’ legal thing that much more crucial, requiring the best innovators one can get?
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