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  • #299156
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    We don’t stay at the track either. Much as I love motorsport, I also love my sleep, and you don’t get a whole lot of that at the circuit. We stay at a beautiful campsite about 10km from the track, and they have lots of entertainment there in the week before the race. Once, the Michellin team were staying there and they put on a load of entertainment with a brass band and a couple of classic omnibusses, it was ace.

    You’ll have a brilliant time, and I bet you’ll want to go back for longer next time!

    #299097
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    MazdaChris
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    You’re in for an absolute treat. Loads to do, mostly centered around the main pit/paddock area. Behind the paddock is the le Mans Village area with all sorts of stuff for fans to do. The museum is there too, and is well worth checking out. You can get busses all around the track to the various viewing areas around Arnage, Mulsanne, etc etc. I’m not sure whether you have to pay for them – we’ve always just taken the car. It only takes a short while to get around but it’s a bit of a maze so work out the routes first, or see if an accomodating person can show you. It’s too big to realistically walk, unless you really fancy hiking miles.

    There’s loads that’ll be going on all week – how long are you there for? Take some time out on Friday to check out the British Welcome – a car show at Saint Saturnin. This year it’s featuring MG, but there are always loads of supercars on show, from just about every marque you can think of. Apparently there’s also a big of a show/congregation this year on Mulsanne corner on the Friday which is another car show.

    If you’re there for the week leading up to it, check out the scrutineering events at the Place De la Republique in Le Mans centre – just a short tram ride away. Le Mans also has a beautiful gothic cathedral which you can visit while you’re there, if that’s your sort of thing.

    Are you staying at the track?

    #298611
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    MazdaChris
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    I’d question how much influence the drivers really have these days anyway. Just about every facet of how a car performs is meticulously captured via data logging, and then fed back to engineers who know far more about the car than any driver could hope to be. I’m not sure how useful the driver feedback is other than as a means of corellating the data that they’re seeing on screen. if you think about how fuzzy the feedback is when we hear it – initial understeer on turn-in, rear end feels loose on the faster corners, etc etc. The drivers themselves are surely not being relied upon for choosing the development path. Perhaps tweaks to suit their own personal style, but generally speaking the car will be designed by the engineers and the drivers just need to get on with it.

    #297898
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Easy to forget about Juan-Pablo Montoya.

    #297796
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Hey sometimes I forget about racers who haven’t even retired yet, like Felipe Massa!

    #297793
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Thing that gets me is how quickly you can forget about really recent drivers. People like Alex Wurz, Robert Kubica, even Nick Heidfeld. I suspect if you asked someone to name F1 drivers from the past ten years, quite a few would miss those guys off.

    #297471
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Emmanuele Pirro – 5 Le Mans wins

    Lest we forget of course, Allan McNish competed for a season with Toyota

    #296176
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Sorry didn’t spot that you had replied. The 115% concept is deliberate. You look at sportscar racing and there’s no reason why the faster cars can’t negotiate their way around slower traffic. It would mean more cars on the grid, which inevitably means more action on track.

    #296175
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    In the V10 days, teams were spending more on engines than they are now.

    #295039
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    In my opinion an ideal setup would be this:

    Commercial rights are owned collectively, half by the teams and half by the FIA. Teams could appoint a group whose role it is to promote the sport and their brands, so that sponsors get maximum exposure and that the sport is always visible and attractive. This group would be appointed from outside of F1, possibly in the form of a marketing company, to avoid any one team’s interests being promoted above the rest. The FIA’s stake can be in controlling race organisation and promotion; dealing directly with the circuits and the TV companies. TV rights could still be sold, but I would prefer if circuits are simply appointed and not charged hosting fees. In exchange, the circuits are dressed with the board and banner promotions by the FIA and their commerical partners, plus they would control the naming rights to the GP. Circuits don’t have to pay, so they are free to simply make money from ticket sales and concessions, securing their long term viability and generating money for the upkeep of the track and facilities. Contractually there would need to be penalties for any track or competitor which failed to fulfil their obligations.

    Prize money is given on a per-race basis, with a constructors’ championship bonus being given out at the end of each year. Prize money would be determined solely on finishing position in the race and the championship; no team would be given a larger prize than any other finishing in the same position. This would be in addition to 50% of the TV rights money, which would be shared equally between every team regardless of finishing position.

    The FIA would have complete technical control of the sport and would have the ultimate responsibility for setting technical and sporting regulations. Any changes to the sporting or technical rules would need to be ratified at least two calendar years before the start of the season in which they will be introduced, so that every team has enough time to fully understand the requirements. Each set of amended technical regulations would need to run for a period of at least two seasons before they can be changed. The calendar would need to be ratified before the final race of the preceeding season, with no calendar changes allowed past this date. The FIA could appoint a strategy group consisting of representatives from every team, but this would only be in an advisory capacity. Rule changes made in emergency conditions (i.e. after the two-year cutoff point) would only be allowable on the grounds of safety, though under certain conditions the rules could be modified with the unanimous agreement of the FIA and all of the teams.

    Teams may be allowed to run only one car, though preference would be given for entries running two cars if the entry list is full. All teams committing to running two cars would be expected to compete for an entire season, though independant teams (commercially distinct from any other competitors) could lodge entries for single events if they are running only a single car. As the rules need to be in place for at least two consecutive years, after the first year, used chassis (bare and un-dressed) can be sold to independant teams for one-off entries. These one off entries would need to pay an entry fee to the FIA, though they would be elligible for any prize money for the event they enter. They would not receive a share of the TV money. These teams would be allowed to enter up to five events per year. Beyond that, they would need to construct their own chassis and commit to competing for the entire season. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the FIA if there are more than four vacant slots on the grid. All teams would need to qualify for each event by posting a time within 115% of the fastest time set during either FP or qualifying. The time can be set at any point during any of these sessions. If weather conditions prevent this from being possible, entry may still be granted at the discretion of the FIA. The fastest time for each car will only be accepted if the car is run in full compliance with the technical regulations.

    Those are my thoughts anyway. Eliminate the commercial rights holder as a discreet entity. Even if this does mean that less money is made from TV rights and race hosting fees, it means that all of the money going into the sport stays wiht either the temas or the FIA. By making sure that each team has an equal commercial stake, you ensure that there is a certain baseline amount of money each team will have to start a season, and by giving out prize money throughout the year, it means that each team has a steady income to make sure that bills are paid. By ensuring that the commercial interests of all entities are represented, it means that sponsorship should be easier to attract. The single entry independents would help bolster the number of cars on the grid, while potentially giving an opportunity for drivers to build up more experience and help develop their careers. The sale of used chassis would also be another potential revenue stream for constructors.

    I’m sure it’s full of holes, but I think that’s a decent framework for a top level motorsport. And similar to how things used to be 20 years ago. Will it ever happen? No way, it’s pure fantasy.

    #295037
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Personally I’m very supportive of Red Bull – as much as I am of any team. I don’t really understand this mentality of disliking a team. I like all of the teams for various reasons and believe the variety of approaches is what keeps the sport diverse and interesting. I also can’t help but feel that Red Bull deserve a lot more credit than they get, when you consider everything they have done for the sport. They run two teams, one of which has won four championships, and the other has introduced some of the best drivers on the grid, in contrast to the slew of mediocre pay drivers which make up most of the rest of the grid. They saved the old Jaguar team, kept Renault in the sport as an engine supplier, and they have revived the Austrian GP, which turned out to be one of the best races of last season both in terms of the action on the track and the atmosphere in the grandstands. And they shouldn’t be seen in isolation either – Red Bull have a presence in motorsport at virtually all levels, sponsoring drivers and teams and even creating their own motorsports events and venues. Truly no other company has ever done so much to promote and maintain motorsport than Red Bull. While their brand of energy drinks I find, frankly, disgusting, their blue cars and big logos are a reminder that they are some of the biggest motorsports enthusiasts going.

    Of course, it’s all a marketing exercise. But then for whom is that not the case? Certainly not Mercedes – they may be selling cars rather than energy drinks, but the concept is still the same. It is still an exercise in brand building and reinforcement, one which could just as easily have the plug pulled as soon as the board of directors feel that it’s no longer delivering value. The only true contructors associated with car companies who have a clear commitment to staying come rain or shine are Mclaren and Ferrari, and even then there would be certain factors which could push either out of the sport.

    Do I hate the whining? Of course. I hate it from all quarters. I hate hearing it from teams, trying to use the media as a platform to press for change in the sport for their own advantage. I hated it when Ferrari did it, I hated it when Mercedes did it, and I hate it now that Red Bull are doing it. It hurts everything about the sport to see its top competitors whine and wail about how bad things are. I hate hearing the circuit owners whine about hosting fees, when collectively thye could get together and demand a better deal. I hate hearing it especially from FOM and Bernie Ecclestone – I hate hearing about how they don’t like how the engines sound, when they should be talking excitedly about how incredibly advanced and exciting thye are. F1 is left looking like a shambles of a sport by everyone concerned. But especially, the thing I hate most of all, is hearing people who call themselves fans whining about one person or team doing something which EVERY SINGLE TEAM does. I hate hearing people accusing a team of cheating, when all they’ve done is creatively use the rulebook to find an advantage. They seem to turn a blind eye when it’s their ‘favourite’ team doing the same thing. People whine about Red Bull using loopholes, and yet they seem completely blind to the fact that Mercedes are now using any number of their own loopholes to find their performance.

    Why it all annoys me is this – I have always seen F1 in sort of holistic terms. I don’t single out particular teams or drivers as my favourites. The whole idea of it seems anathema to my idea of what motorsport is about. It’s a mentality that I think has its place in field sports, but not at the race track. I love F1, it’s the most technically exciting, fastest motorsport on earth. I want the whole of F1 to be successful and to be prosperous; every team from the richest to the poorest. I want to see top quality racing venue across the world, almost turning people away at the gates because the venues are all full to capacity with spectators. I want everyone to know all about what F1 is and why it’s so special. But these things don’t happen. They don’t happen because people are selfish and narrow minded. They focus only on their own limited and blinkered idea of what is good and what is bad. So they whinge and whine and moan, not about the big important things, but about stupid things like a team for which they have an irrational dislike coming across as ‘smug’. I come on sites like this and I despair because it seems that the majority of people are so wrapped up in their own little bubble, so obsessed with trying to turn everything into a narrative of their favourites versus the ‘bad guys’ that they lose sight of the real problems. Like races being bankrolled by corrupt nations, held in front of empty grandstands in the bum end of nowhere. Like teams disappearing off the grid because the commercial rights holder has made it impossible for them to secure sponsorship. Like teams capitulating and being complicit in an illegal cartel which protects their interests against the long term sustainability of the sport. And especially how the spectre of Ecclestone hangs above the sport like Emperor Palpatine, gleefully rubbing his hands together while hundreds of people lose their jobs so that his inconceivably large pile of ill-gotten gains can get yet fatter by the day, as the teams he to mercilessly strangles then pat him on the back for what a great job he does.

    So no, ultimately, while I don’t like hearing RBR whining now, it’s not them that I hate but the culture of whining in general. Because ultimately it never actually fixes anything. At best, even if it is successful all that happens is that the balance of power is shifted back in favour of the whiner, causing yet another to start whinging in their place. Nothing important is ever resolved by it, and it never will be. Not until people stop whining, and start promoting instead. Stop being negative and understand the effect that has on the sport upon which they depend. And then, in the end, all agree to sit down and have proper, constructive talks which put the future health of the sport at the heart of what they do, rather than trying to balance a hundred or more conflicting self interests.

    But I fear, the days of whining will outlive the sport of F1.

    #294181
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Actually this iteration of the qualifying rule was only put in place a few years ago, directly in response to the performance of HRT and the other ‘new’ teams. So I see it still having some relevance. Where it was waived previously was in cases where the teams had already demonstrated the ability to run a representative laptime through the weekend. I think there’s some leniency in there. And of course, if anyone can’t take part in qualifying for some reason then it’s unfair to disqualify them on that point.

    However, in the case of Manor, as we sit here right now with two of the practice sessions down and the Manor car yet to take to the track, I would say that if they aren’t able to participate in P3 and then in qualifying, or fail to set a representative time in qualifying, then it is correct to apply the rule in this case.

    But I agree with the principle, that unless they are outrageously slow, then there’s no real grounds for saying it’s a safety issue.

    #291834
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    MazdaChris
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    There are certainly plenty of seats available if they’re going to run three cars at le Mans. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see Lucas Ordonez taking a seat, as well as at least another headline Japanese driver.

    #291627
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    MazdaChris
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    To be honest horsepower is a bit of a meaningless figure since it doesn’t really translate into the actual power that the engine uses to turn the wheels, it’s rather a figure to measure the peak efficiency of the engine at its maximum output. The key issue is the fuel flow rate. If you think about the current F1 engines, they are allowed, within the rules, to rev to 16,000rpm. But again, this is a meaningless figure without the context of the fuel flow rate.

    Fuel burns at its peak power when mixed with a specific amount of air, which is why on a small capacity engine, you need to hit high rpm to generate power, because the amount of ait going into the engine is determined solely by the movement of the pistons. We don’t know precisely what the ideal air:fuel ratio is for F1 fuel but let’s say was 13:1 (13 parts air to 1 part fuel). We know the maximum peak fuel flow allowed is 100kg/h then the maximum peak airflow is 1200kg/h. The displacement (cc) of an engine is the total volume of the swept area of all of the cylinders, so each rotation of the crankshaft sucks in a specific amount of air through the inlets.

    On a naturally aspirated engine the peak rpm is the point where the engine is turning fast enough to draw in air at the rate required to achieve the correct air:fuel ratio for the maximum fuel flow rate (in our example, 1300gk/h). If the cylinders are large, each rotation of the crankshaft draws in a lot of air, so that peak airflow is achieved at a low RPM, whereas on a smaller engine, it will need to be turning faster in order to suck in enough air. So if you had a limit on the rpm of 20,000rpm in the technical regulations, but the peak airflow was achieved at 18,000rpm, then there would be no point in revving the engine much higher than that – you can’t physically burn more fuel than the maximum allowed flow rate, and otherwise you’re simply sucking in more air and screwing up the air:fuel mix and losing power.

    Of course, here we’re talking about turbocharged engines, so it’s not just the movement of the cylinders drawing air in, it’s being pumped in at a rate much higher than that. But the result is still the same – peak power is achieved when the air is going into the engine at the rate of 1300kg/h, regardless of rpm.

    Sorry, this is a really long and rambling way of saying that if they’re only revving to 13,000rpm, it’s because that’s the point where they’re making peak power, and revving any higher than that would not create any more power, because the maximum fuel flow rate has already been passed.

    Obviously, fuel flow and rpm aren’t the only factors in how much actual power is generated. It’s a pretty inefficient system, so a lot of the potential energy created by burning the fuel is lost and not turned into actual twisting force at the output shaft. Specifically talking about F1, the faster the engine is turning, the more loss there is through friction, so it’s in their interests to generate the power at a lower rpm by using more boost from the turbo, than using lower boost at a higher rpm.

    This really is the key to an energy-efficiency formula, because the level of actual power generated is determined by how effectively the engineers can minimise the amount of power that is lost through inefficiency. Or in the case of ERS, taking some of that lost energy and turning it into a form that can then be recycled back into the system. It’s the real reason why manufacturers are so interested in the engine formulas in F1 and WEC, because the technology designed to minimise inefficiency in their race engines can then filter down to their road car engines, making their road cars more powerful and more efficient.

    Sorry for the massive, very boring and probably highly inaccurate post.

    #291603
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    MazdaChris
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    The regs are a bit hard to understand, but from what I gather, there’s a limit on the amount of energy which can be discharged through each lap, but no specifics on exactly how quickly that energy has to be discharged. So basically the restriction is on the max fuel flow rate to the ICE, and then how much energy can be used per lap. I think there are a few other rules regarding energy use over a stint etc. But basically what it boils down to is that you can either take a massive speed boost for a short space of time (like 1000hp for a few seconds) or take a smaller boost throughout the course of the lap. Being in the 8mj class, it means they have the biggest restriction on the amount of fuel they can use, but the biggest allowance of harvested power that they can use.

    The reason they’ll have gone for the (seemingly baffling) FWD option for the ICE is actually pretty simple. The way that energy is harvested under braking is by using a recovery system attached to the driven wheels to slow the car down rather than the brakes. The more of the braking that can be done by the energy recovery system, the less power is lost, and the more energy is harvested. Most hybrid race cars are rear wheel drive, so only harvest from the rear wheels. This is not ideal really, as most of the braking is done by the front wheels – if you had a 50/50 brake bias you’d have a car that was pretty unstable under braking. So if you have a FWD car, you can harvest a lot more energy through the driven wheels than on a RWD car. Clearly Nissan’s thinking here is all around maximising usable power and efficiency for the best possible top speed, possibly at the expense of a little bit of driveability at the corner exit, and also probably as a bit of a compromise to the chassis layout.

    It really is a very cool concept, and great to see them really thinking about the rules without making any assumptions about the kind of layout that’ll work best. As I said above, it’s abolutely consistent with Ben Bowlby’s ‘blue sky thinking’ approach that we saw with the DeltaWing and the ZEOD. Throwing ‘conventional wisdom’ in the bin, and thinking logically about an engineering problem with a blank sheet of paper, to come up with the best possible solution.

    Actually, in answer to your question, I think that probably the 1250hp figure is a little bit conservative. I reckon at full tilt, the combination of the ERS and the ICE would be able to produce well over 1500hp’s worth, but only for a very short burst of two or three seconds. I suspect they’ll have a number of different harvesting and discharge options that they can use both in qualifying and throughout the race.

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