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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 42 total)
18th December 2011, 1:38 at 1:38 am
The 1976 short film C’était un Rendez-vous (commonly known as Rendezvous) might just about count – it’s basically an eight minute film of an early morning drive through the streets of Paris at silly speeds, we never see the car and the identity of the driver isn’t revealed. Speculation for a long time was that it was an F1 driver, but five years ago the director confirmed he was behind the wheel. Search for “rendezvous paris” on youtube.
25th October 2011, 9:06 at 9:06 am
For instance Imola had a serious crash for Barichello, Ratzenberger, Senna, injuries from a wheel into the crowd, a wheel loose in the pitlane (perhaps the same one, not sure). The following week Wendlinger was put in a serious coma.
@james_mc – The wheel that went into the crowd was from the collision between JJ Lehto’s Benetton, which stalled at the start, and Pedro Lamy’s Lotus. The wheel that came loose in the pitlane and injured a number of mechanics was from Michele Albereto’s Minardi. Karl Wendlinger’s crash at Monaco was two weeks after Imola and was followed a fortnight later by another serious accident in Barcelona qualifying for Simtek’s Andrea Montermini. There were also some other nasty crashes well before the Imola weekend – Lehto and Jean Alesi had both been injured in testing accidents and missed races, Lamy suffered an enormous testing crash at Silverstone which ended his time in F1.
17th October 2011, 8:54 at 8:54 am
Kubica, Di Resta plus Adrian Sutil (Hamilton’s then team mate at ASM) and Lucas Di Grassi.
The cars were all Dallara F305s but the F3 Euroseries wasn’t and isn’t a spec formula – the teams are free to develop the chassis and there’s a free choice of engine supplier (teams used Mercedes, Opel, Toyota and Mugen-Honda in 2005). Not intending to detract from Hamilton’s domination of the year, but he was driving for the then dominant ASM team.
14th September 2011, 12:20 at 12:20 pm
I suspect the races are the 1968 Spanish GP at Jarama and the 2007 Chinese GP.
They wouldn’t be the first and last races to be won by cars carrying names of tobacco sponsors, would they?
2nd September 2011, 19:58 at 7:58 pm
The problem is that it’s easily possible for there to be a huge range of accidents involving different types of vehicle (all circuits host other types of racing, even Monaco) at any given corner. Gravel would do a better job for some types of accidents, tarmac does a better job in others, but crashes are notoriously difficult to predict.
Gravel can be very good at slowing F1 cars down if the car goes straight into the gravel (although it doesn’t always work, especially in the wet), as F1 noses tends to act as scoops. But it doesn’t always work and cars entering sideways or with wheels missing sometimes dig in and roll, making the accident worse.
At Valencia in 2010, Mark Webber didn’t wipe off much speed before hitting the barriers, but it could have been worse if he’d gone into a gravel trap. The Red Bull lands on the edge of the run off area travelling sideways with only three wheels attached. Had the edge of the monocoque dug in the car would probably have rolled.
It’s a difficult call but overall I’d plump for tarmac over grass or gravel – less chance of putting a single seater upside down.
As someone who has had to dig out armfuls of gravel from a single seat racing car more than once, however, I should probably declare a conflict of interest…
(you’d be amazed how much gets in and how much damage it can do even at slow speeds)
26th August 2011, 12:57 at 12:57 pm
The nose works as part of the overall aerodynamic package to direct air around the car, critically to the radiators, the rear wing and the diffuser. A higher nose does not automatically work better than a lower one, but how it works with the rest of the aerodynamics to best manage the airflow. A low-nosed car is just as capable of doing this well as it is badly – the 2009 McLaren also had a low nose and wasn’t exactly one of Woking’s best.
So why did Brawn abandon its lower (compared to pre-1990 designs, the 2009 Brawn and 2011 Ferrari noses are both raised) nose? There could be a number of reasons, here’s a couple.
Brawn 001 was optimised around the double diffuser concept (and remember that nose shape plays a role in feeding air to the diffuser), which only Brawn, Toyota and Williams had at the start of 2009. When the other teams brought out their own double diffusers, Brawn rapidly lost its dominant advantage. By the end of 2009, the Red Bull was the car to beat despite not being optimised around a double diffuser. It’s not impossible that, had the double diffuser loophole been clarified early enough (as Ross Brawn offered to do) either way, Red Bull would have had the fastest car for the whole year, but we’ll never know.
The 001’s successer, the Mercedes W01, featured a similar shaped nose – albeit higher off the ground. It’s entirely possible that in developing W01 the windtunnel/CFD numbers simply told the team a higher nose worked better than a lower one. After all, what worked on 2009-spec “refueller” cars wouldn’t necessarily work as well on the 2010-spec chassis, with a much larger fuel tank.
24th August 2011, 7:59 at 7:59 am
“Thanks Geoffrey – the first pic is a Jordan 191 though – look at the rear wing.”
The Marlboro logo on the driver’s helmet (Andrea de Cesaris I think) is also a dead giveaway – Williams were sponsored by Camel at the time.
Try a Google Images search for “FW14B test” and it brings up various images, although most appear to be of a scale model of the test car rather than the real thing. Back in the day, tests weren’t covered in as much detail as they are now.
22nd February 2011, 9:23 at 9:23 am
Cosworth simply weren’t keen on the turbo movement. Keith Duckworth (the ‘worth’ in Cosworth) was once quoted as saying about Renault’s fledgling turbo efforts that “it’ll never bloody work and if it does it should be banned.”
The company was simply too slow to see what was coming. It wasn’t alone in this respect, the likes of Williams and especially Tyrrell were both well behind the curve on this in contrast to the likes of Renault, Ferrari and McLaren. Consider also that the turbo era also saw the start of the rise of the manufacturers in F1 with Renault, BMW and Honda all entering the sport in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Cosworth simply couldn’t compete without support from Ford, who were never very good at exploiting the marketing potential of their involvement in F1.
Developing a fully competitive, reliable turbo engine took time, as shown by Honda, BMW and Renault’s early experiences. Cosworth introduced its own turbo engine for 1986 which was powerful but unreliable and thirsty compared with Honda’s much more refined V6. But by then moves were already underway to restrict the turbos and an outright ban from 1989 was announced at the end of ’86. So there seemed to be little point in spending good money to develop an engine that was shortly to be obsolete anyway.
Cosworth kept the turbo engine for 1987 but dropped it for 1988 when, wrongly as it transpired, it was assumed that normally aspirated engines would have the edge over the increasingly fuel and boost-restricted turbos. So Cosworth went back to the DFV which (badged as the DFR) competed in F1 until the end of 1991, although works team Benetton had access to the new HB from 1989.
6th September 2010, 10:15 at 10:15 am
Alain Prost’s career as a driver is inevitably compared to Ayrton Senna, and therein lies the problem. Evaluating Prost vs Senna generally isn’t a fair fight – Senna the legend beats Prost the man everytime. Senna didn’t get the chance to lose his edge, start an unsuccessful GP team, grow old or make idiotic comments from the sidelines. Had it not been for Imola 1994, he may well have gone on to taint his standing in all of these ways and more besides – just as Prost has done.
Another factor that counts against Prost is his driving style – bold, dramatic and exciting drivers like Senna or Gilles Villeneuve are usually remembered with warmth and affection. Drivers who win races through stealth and cunning are often not. But Prost was very good indeed, certainly as good as (and possibly better than) Senna. The speed was there, but Prost often decided not to employ it.
Prost’s early F1 career speaks volumes about his level of competitiveness. He made his debut in 1980 for a McLaren team which was on its last legs before the Ron Dennis takeover and immediately impressed. Prost was then a title contender in every single year of the 10 years that followed (1981-1990). Prost outshone most of his team mates in F1 and they were no mean bunch, including John Watson, Rene Arnoux, Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg, Nigel Mansell and Jean Alesi.
Prost often appears to be the loser in his battle with Senna but that was at least partly due to the fundamental differences in their approach – Senna would approach qualifying with maximum attack, whereas Prost preferred to prepare for the race. Senna was almost certainly the faster driver over a single lap, but the gap was probably smaller than it first appears. And the late 1980s are a world away from F1 2010.
Monaco 1988 is often cited as the prime demonstration of Senna’s advantage over Prost. Senna took pole position with a lap 1.4 seconds faster than his team mate, which seems staggering in today’s money. But McLaren were hugely dominant in ’88 and the field spread was much wider than it is now (1.3 seconds covered the top 10 in 2010, in 1988 it was 4.3 seconds). To put it into context, had Sebastian Vettel been 1.4 seconds slower than Mark Webber in Monaco this year he would have been 10th and nowhere. In 1988 Prost was 2nd with the nearest non-McLaren nearly 2.7 seconds off pole. When the front row of the grid is virtually guaranteed and pole position virtually impossible, why take the risk of trying for the fastest possible lap? Cold pragmatism may be the right course to take, but it doesn’t make for exciting viewing.
In the race Prost and Senna traded fastest laps, despite Senna having a large lead after Prost had been delayed earlier in the race. Senna eventually set the race’s fastest lap but lost concentration and crashed going into the tunnel, gifting Prost the win. It spoke volumes about the differences in approach and the comparison between the two drivers.
Of course, that’s not to suggest Prost was perfect. He was a highly political animal and this didn’t always work to his advantage. He intentionally closed the door on Senna at Suzuka in 1989, although the payback in 1990 was far more dangerous. His lack of pace was sometimes genuine, rather than a strategy option (although all drivers have off days). He was also surprisingly poor in wet weather conditions, pulling out of the 1989 finale and driving an appalling race in Donnington ’93. In the final year of his career, he gave the strong impression of doing just enough as the indisputed number one driver in a hugely superior car to win a fourth title. The fact that his contract for ’93 expressly excluded Senna as a team mate upsets many fans’ notion of fair play – it certainly upset Senna’s.
In essence, Prost was a very fast F1 driver – not as fast as Senna over a lap, perhaps, but the speed was there – but we saw it less and less as his career went on and he favoured stealth and strategy over outright pace. But an all time great, certainly.
20th August 2010, 10:01 at 10:01 am
Ingo Hoffman? I think Barrichello wore a Hoffman tribute helmet at a recent Brazilian GP.
Pay drivers in the 1970s… Guy Edwards? Arturo Mezario? Brett Lunger? Can’t think of anyone else but probably way off.
16th August 2010, 8:18 at 8:18 am
Not my question but it was Hesketh:
13th August 2010, 12:03 at 12:03 pm
I many years of following F1 I can only remember falling asleep three times during a race – Australia 1997 and Belgium 1998.
’97 was the year when Villeneuve qualified on pole by a mile and was expected to stroll home. I fell asleep just before the start, missed the first corner crash and came to wondering what on earth had gone on.
The 1998 race was following a very late night out and meant I missed seeing enormous first lap shut live. Again, woke up to see a Jordan 1-2 and wondered what on earth had happened.
3rd August 2010, 20:13 at 8:13 pm
Bear in mind that flexi-wings aren’t banned (certainly no more than they are already banned) – the change is that the test used to check wing flexibility has been ramped up. So it’s not impossible that the Ferrari and Red Bull front wings will stay flexible if they pass the new test.
22nd July 2010, 13:50 at 1:50 pm
I’m not sure there’s a clear cut answer to this one – where exactly do you draw the line between a B spec and a new design?
Model numbers aren’t always the best guide. Every Ferrari F1 car from 1966 all the way through to 1980 was a 312, for example. The Ferrari 312T series may have won seven titles in total, but the 312T3 introduced in 1978 was a new design, with a new monocoque and different suspension layout – does it still count as the same car? If not, that takes the total down to five titles, the same as the Lotus 72 and the McLaren MP4/2. In fact, some of the Ferrari 312T and Lotus 72 titles were in years when both teams ran older cars for part of the season – the 312B3 in 1975 and 49 in 1970 respectively. Whereas the MP4/2 was the only model run by McLaren in 1984, 1985 and 1986.
I’ll take the anorak off now…
15th July 2010, 11:55 at 11:55 am
Renault were the first to route exhaust gases through the diffuser, whether they invented the overall diffuser concept I don’t know off the top of my head.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 42 total)