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  • #297471
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    MazdaChris
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    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
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    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
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    In the V10 days, teams were spending more on engines than they are now.

    #295039
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    MazdaChris
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    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
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    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
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    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.

    #291446
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    MazdaChris
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    Well the car was finally officially launched yesterday. Looks like the rumours were true – not only is it front engined, but it’s actually front wheel drive (at least using the ICE). Looks a lot better with some paint on it, but it’s still a weird looking thing to my eyes. Kudos to Nissan though for thinking outside of the box, though that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering it is the brainchild of Ben Bowlby, designer of the mad DeltaWing.

    http://www.speedcafe.com/2015/02/02/qa-ben-bowlby-explains-gt-r-lm-nismo/

    Oh… and 1250bhp when it’s all turned up to 11…

    #290369
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    MazdaChris
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    My own interpretation which may or may not be in line with how the FIA will apply the rules, is that there is no ‘new power unit’ each time it is upgraded. The homologated power unit is he one they started with in 2014, and the development tokens will be applied against that, but won’t be considered part of the homologated baseline. So they can run any combination of upgrades at any point during the season, as long as the same spec is applied to every one of their PUs on the grid. There does not appear to be anything within the sporting or technical regs which defines at what point during the year any of the tokens need to be applied, nor that they need to be applied at the same time, or even that they need to remain applied for the entire season.

    #290315
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    I could be up for this, if the races are weeknights. I can’t really do weekends unfortunately.

    It’s worth noting that there have been a couple of similar championships run with people from here on the PRL forum, and there have been a few lessons learned – some of the performance factors on the LMP cars are a bit broken, giving certain cars a pretty hefy performance advantage. I think David-A probably knows the ins and outs, and would have some useful input on performance balancing (if you wanted to go down that route).

    Might be an idea to set up a FB group or something?

    #288129
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    MazdaChris
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    I really wish they would get rid of the big gap after Le Mans. It’s the premier event of the season, and the race people are most likely to bother watching. It seems incredibly short sighted not to want to capitalise on all the excitement generated by the 24h by having a succession of races shortly afterwards.

    I guess there is a need for a short break as the teams will need time to go back and repair/rebuild the cars after they battering they take, but I would have thought three weeks should be enough time, at the most. By the time the Nurburgring rolls around, people will have forgotten about it.

    #287555
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    MazdaChris
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    I wonder how many other WEC/F1 rumours will come true.

    #285908
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    MazdaChris
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    The thing I just can’t get past is how much money has been wasted by the team’s management. The team have underperformed, and remained glued to the back of the grid. They bemoan a lack of budget, but how much money has been thrown down the toilet? How much money did it cost chasing the rights to the Team Lotus branding, not to mention the cost of uniforms, signwriting, vehicle wrapping etc? And then how much money was spent on legal fees in a futile attempt to keep hold onto that name? How much did they spend on buying a new factory in Leafield? And then how much was spent buying the Caterham car company? And also funding feeder series teams running the same branding? Think about how many tens or even hundreds of millions were spent by the team’s owners, all because their egos demanded that they had a recognisable brand name on their cars. Imagine what the F1 team might have been capable of had all of that money been ploughed solely into the development of the cars. They could have had the budget and performance of a solid midfield team, but instead the money was flushed down the toilet.

    Companies and individuals have been left out of pocket for services they were never paid for. Hundreds of people are now facing unemployment right before Christmas. And while it’s really easy to bemoan the unfair distribution of prize money and commercial agreements in F1, the fact is that there should have been plenty of money to secure the future of this team for years to come, but was instead spent on pointless ventures. I feel sorry for the staff made redundant, and I feel terrible for the companies who have been swindled out of money by this bunch of cowboys. But the reason Caterham are in the mess they’re in is because they were run by people who thought it was more important to spend most of the money on the paintscheme of the car, rather than how fast it goes. People like that frankly do not have any business being in F1.

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