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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 315 total)
2nd November 2016, 8:28 at 8:28 am
The headline here then, surely, is that VW (and presumably other manufacturers as well) view their premium motorsport operations as net losses. i.e. they don’t return in additional sales, what they cost to run.
This perhaps is the real reason so many top line championships are struggling to attract manufacturers – motorsport just doesn’t sell cars these days.
26th October 2016, 13:38 at 1:38 pm
I just hope it turns out to be a positive for Formula E and not a negative. When a major player joins a motorsport category, it inevitably drives up costs as the other teams strive to keep up. If one team is dominant, it’ll be to the detriment of the sport as a whole. We want to see good competition – something we’ve had for a long time in WEC – not Mercedes style domination.
I mean, when you look at it objectively, Mercedes joining F1 as a manufacturer has been very bad for the sport.
26th October 2016, 11:51 at 11:51 am
Very sad news for a long time WEC/Le Mans fan like myself. It’s hard to put into words just what a huge impact Audi had on prototype racing, arguably bringing the level of tech and professionalism up to, and in some cases beyond, what we see in F1. They set the standard to which so many other teams now aspire. It absolutely won’t be the same without them, but it’ll also be interesting to see what kind of an effect they will have on Formula E. The expectation will be that they will hit the ground running and be successful out of the gates.
I just hope that other manufacturers will be prepared to step in to fill the void, as Toyota did when Peugeot left. Without a clearly-standard-setting team in the WEC, the weight of those victories may be lessened, and the WEC may find itself in decline.
Perhaps Audi will rejoin Le Mans in a few years and become the first team to win using all electric power…
9th June 2016, 13:56 at 1:56 pm
I agree. I would love to see a Porsche F1 team but to me they will always be a sportscar manufacturer, and Le Mans is the place for them. If anything I’d love to see Ferrari join the WEC as well, and Red Bull Racing. But this is a thread about other teams entering F1 so I would say:
Prodrive Aston Martin
Prodrive is such a great name in motorsport and I think having the Aston Martin brand in F1 would be a huge win for all concerned. Aston Martin have ties with brands like Tag Heure and Gulf, and the image of these companies seems to synergise perfectly with F1’s current brand image. What could be more evocative than an Aston Martin F1 car racing at Monaco? My only concern is that they have no real experience of this level and might struggle to put together all the pieces needed for a sucessful team
Cosworth Ford Racing
Ford’s last forray into F1 was a relatively disappoiting affair, even with the great Jackie Stewart at the helm. But things have changed since then, and a well funded tie-up between Ford and Cosworth would be a formidable outfit with true racing heritage in F1. The new Ford GT racing at Le Mans this year is certainly a big statement about Ford’s ambitions toward racing at the sharp end.
Audi Sport Team Joest
There are very few racing teams in the world currently who would be capable of racing at the very front in F1. Arguably, that number is lower than the number of teams currently competing in F1. But of all the racing teams in all the world, the one which seems most likely to be equal to the task is Audi Sport Team Joest. They have all the funding, expertise, and critically leadership in the shape of Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. It would also see the return of one of the oldest manufacturers in GP racing, harking back to the days when Auto Union and Daimler Benz fought tooth and nail for pre-war glory. Alas though, as with Porsche, F1’s gain would be WEC’s loss. As a sportscar fan to the core, that’s too bitter a pill for me to swallow
One out of left field here, but this is surely the inevitable direction in which we are headed. How long will it be before we see the end of the internal combusion engine at the top level of motorsport? Ten years, twenty? The writing is on the wall. And as the oil age draws inexorably towards its terminus, the opportunity arises for new and interesting manufacturers to innovate and lead motorsport forwards into a new age. While some will inevitably lament the loss of the noise and the smells of petrol-powered propulsion, personally I’m excited to see what the true future of F1 looks like.
1st April 2016, 11:04 at 11:04 am
I love LMP cars but I have to say that the current generation of hybrid LMP1 cars don’t particularly float my boat. They’ve become a bit on the ugly side.
That said, the Algarve Pro LMP2 car which Sir Chris Hoy will be driving this year in ELMS has a lovely shape to it, and the livery works really well. For my money the LMP2 cars tend to look nicer now than LMP1 cars. Though the Rebellions always look great in their shiny liveries.
I’m also a big fan of the new Ford GT and really hope it proves successful. I also really like the new Gulf liveried 911 that’ll also be racing at Le Mans.
Away from the track, the M Sport Fiesta WRC is a very handsome looking car
30th November 2015, 13:16 at 1:16 pm
If it’s quick, it’ll look good enough on track. I’m just glad, after all the problems the Volkswagen group has had this year, that we’re going to have any Audis running at all. Though with Porsche and Audi both scaling back to just two cars each, it’ll be interesting to see how they change up the intra-team tactics.
Am I alone in feeling a bit frustrated that Audi keep naming their new cars ‘R18’?
19th November 2015, 11:28 at 11:28 am
No, me neither. I’ve been using NowTV to get the rest of the races live, and it’s a painful expense, especially when it means I can only watch it live and not on catch-up if I miss it. But to pay for a whole season like that just isn’t realistic I’m afraid. It’s going to be hard to find a way to carry on being an F1 fan.
20th October 2015, 9:58 at 9:58 am
Actually, I’d say that changes to decrease costs and improve ‘the show’ have only really been happening in the past decade or so. The changes from the mid nineties to the mid noughties were pretty much all centered around limiting performance and improving safety systems. The changes which have happened from around 2005 onwards were focused more on improving the show, since the races had pretty much all become very dull processions with virtually no overtaking. Though interestingly most championships in that era were very closely contested, due to the very close technical equivalence of all the cars, and the ‘freeze’ on development of the V8 engines.
It’s also interesting that this drive to lower costs and improve the show, also coincided with the acquisition of majority control by CVC. Read into that what you will…
14th October 2015, 12:29 at 12:29 pm
Ironically, I think the biggest hurdle, at least in LMP1, would be finding a competitive power unit. All of the top teams are using powerful, in-house designed hybrid power units. A non-hybrid is not likely to be at all competitive.
However, unlike in F1, there’s a bit more freedom to design, so it would be posible for them to buy an off-the-shelfe ICE and then develop their own hybrid system around it. But that is not the work of a moment and there isn’t any capacity at the moment within RBR to develop that kind of technology. It’s not insurmountable, but it would be a major obstacle. Not one that I think would be possible to overcome in time for next year.
Engines aside, though, I feel like participation in WEC would be mutually beneficial. While WEC isn’t anywhere near as high-profile as F1, it allows far greater freedom for development and promotion. Red Bull would be able to have a far more visible presence at WEC events, and there would be almost unlimited scope for promotion outside of the races as well. A Red Bull LMP-1 car would surely be a beautiful thing to behold, and would be a technological tour-de-force that would get even the most casual race fan interested. And unlike with F1, they’d be able to get that car featured in all manner of computer games.
I say mutually beneficial because I think there would be a genuinely positive effect on WEC itself as well. Two very well supported teams is a positive no matter what, but the publicity would surely help push WEC into a whole new level of visibility. Something I’m sure DM would be keen to take advantage of – it doesn’t take a genius to imagine the inaugural 6 hours of the Red Bull Ring…
But, sadly, I think it’s very unlikely to happen. I say sadly, but personally I don’t want to see Red Bull disappear from F1 at all. RBR is a top team, as good as any currently competing, and I think they help brush off a little bit of the old man vibe F1 can carry about it at times. But if they do leave F1, and by some chance they did decide to participate in WEC, I personally would be peeing my pants with excitement!
7th October 2015, 12:30 at 12:30 pm
I think it’s very hard, especially as non-racing drivers, to really understand the challenges of driving pre-WW2 (and even pre WW1) racing cars. It seems to make sense that these would be very physical machines to drive, though of course there won’t be any real G-forces to speak of. I imagine the mental stress of concentration combined with the threat of death at almost any moment would have given those drivers challenges which are completely alien to those driving today. I mean, the physical challenge of walking a tightrope is the same whether it’s 1 foot in the air, or 500 feet in the air, but the mental challenge is clearly worlds apart.
So I suppose it really depends on what you mean by ‘hardness’ when you’re looking at racing. I’d say that you could break it down into a number of different categories:
For the driver:
- Athletic challenge (heartrate, muscle fatigue, G-force, etc)
- Mental challenge (complexities of driving the car, technical challenge of the track, level of danger)
- Endurance challenge (length of the race)
- Skill challenge (how hard the car is to drive, how complex the track)
For the car:
- Reliability challenge (amount of physical punishment the car takes, how robust the car is relative to the challenge)
- Performance level
But none of these elements exist in isolation, for instance the athletic challenge for the driver may be higher or lower depending on the performance level of the car and the skill challenge. An unreliable car would be driven at a lower performance level than a reliable one. Modern racers have high levels of performance, and they have high levels of reliability, but the level of skill required to drive them is arguably lower than older cars, as is the physical challenge of driving them. But the mental challenge is much high as they are very complex machines. By contrast, older racing cars were far slower and far less reliable, so they couldn’t be driven flat out, and they weren’t mentally challenging to drive. But there was a significant physical challenge. There has also been a general trend towards shorter races, so the endurance levels these days are far lower on the whole than they used to be.
If you assigned a numeric value to each of these factors and rated races both contemporary and historic, you’d probably find a similar total score for each, but the actual challenges themselves would be very different. Depending on your perspective, you might want to weight certain factors higher than others, and I think generally people would feel that endurance, reliability, and physical challenge are more significant factors. So the tendency is to view racing as becoming less tough over time. But even by that standard, there’s probably a Goldilocks era, where the physical demands, the endurance levels, and so on, were all simultaneously at a high point. I’d say this time is probably around the 60s and 70s. But that’s personal opinion.
6th October 2015, 13:36 at 1:36 pm
I’d say that in general motorsport has become less demanding of the drivers, and the cars they drive are far more durable than they used to be. I’m old enough to remember the days of unlimited engines in F1, and how they used to blow up as oft as not. Then when they started to introduce restrictions on usage, restrictions which would seem hilariously lax by today’s standards, teams and engine manufacturers were almost unanimous in saying that one engine would never last a whole GP weekend (!!). But standards of engineering, material sciences, they’ve all gotten to such an advanced level that across pretty much all forms of motor racing, engines can last many many times longer than even a decade ago.
As a result, cars can now be pushed harder and harder, for longer and longer durations. Events like the LM24 are no longer tests of endurance as such – it’s generally expected that most of the cars which start will finish the race unless they’re involved in incidents, even when the cars are pushed flat out for hour after hour. Even the tyres they use are now able to offer up phenominal levels of consistent grip for three, four, or even five stints before going in the bin.
Advancements in understanding driver dynamics have also led to far less physical demands on drivers. Just about every high performance motorsport has power steering and brakes which no longer require legs like tree trunks to operate. While it would be a bit of a stretch to say that an F1 or LMP car is now as easy and comfortable to drive as a family hatchback, it does seem that the only physically demanding elements of driving a top performing racing car are the heat and the g-force. With a lower work rate behind the wheel, the heat is less of an issue than it used to be in the days when driving a racing car was like wrestling a bear.
So what I’m getting at is that the toughest races in the world right now are less tough than they used to be. Cars are stronger, and driving them is easier. The mental demands are much higher however.
5th October 2015, 14:36 at 2:36 pm
I feel that in Endurance racing, the 12 hours of Sebring is a more demanding race than the 24 hours of Le Mans. Sebring is far more punishing on the cars, and the flow of the track allows for very little room for mistakes.
12th August 2015, 18:17 at 6:17 pm
Apologies, must learn to read things properly!
12th August 2015, 12:48 at 12:48 pm
Surprised nobody has mentioned Robert Kubica’s massive crash in Canada 2007. Though obviously his rally crash that nearly took his arm off is worse in terms of consequence.
25th June 2015, 15:54 at 3:54 pm
I think he rightfully deserves a seat in a top team. I thought that before he ever squeezed himself into a Le Mans prototype. There’s a curious thing within F1 where, even though everyone in F1 knows and understands that success is absolutely dependent on the car, a driver who has not won races through several years in F1 is soon considered to be yesterday’s man. Even when he’s never been in a car capable of getting at the sharp end.
I think F1 teams are always looking for the next big thing. Drivers like Verstappen are self-perpetuating hype machines while their careers are on an upward trajectory. Even established winners are vulnerable to getting the boot in favour of a driver who seems destined for success. Not to say of course that Verstappen doesn’t deserve the hype surrounding him at the moment, but drivers whose careers have plateaued shouldn’t be overlooked in this way.
To be honest, if nobody at the front is willing to give Hulkenberg a drive next year, and Porsche come to him offering a full time WEC drive, I think he should grab it with both hands and not look back. It’ll be F1’s loss, but he needs to think about what an opportunity that would be – Porsche have the backing, and the inclination, to be able to win championship after championship. Who knows, perhaps in another ten years’ time we might think of him alongside such legends as Tom Kristensen. That’s the opportunity he’d have, and I don’t see him ever getting anything like that where he is at the moment.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 315 total)