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17 Sept 2014

If there is one thing that is certain in Formula One it's that the FIA or FOM do the strangest things.  Unfortunately these usually revolve around them listening to all the wrong people, in an effort to spice up 'the show'.  Formula One is a sport and so obviously needs to be entertaining, but time after time I'm left questioning why certain decisions are made.  The latest of which surrounds team radio, with the FIA curtailing its use from Singapore onwards.

I get the whole driving by numbers comment from beleaguered fans unable to grasp the depth of the technology at the drivers disposal (Not the fans fault, but that of FOM, the FIA, broadcasters etc who have failed to fully explain most of the sports technicality).  What I don't get is the ferocity of the ban itself, encompassing everything from fuel maps, to brake temperatures to tyre temperatures.  Of course it can be argued that these things can be monitored by the drivers, but don't they have enough to do at a constant speed of over 100mph?

As road users (at least in the UK) you can barely fart or sneeze at the wheel without the old bill turning on their blue lights, in fear that our capacity for thinking is over stretched.  Yes F1 drivers are the pinnacle, able to multi task but I fear that the complexity of the 2014 powerunits has been forgotten.  The failure of PU components that are overstressed could lead to further grid penalties as the driver goes over his 5 component allotment. Meaning the title will now most likely be won by the driver that nurses his car over the line to take points, rather than the pretty awesome wheel to wheel battles that have been on display thus far.

As you've gathered I'm not happy with the ban, especially so close to the end of the season.  On one hand it's good that drivers won't be told they're slower than x,y or z in the apex of T6 (other corners are available) but when a driver has to flick through screens of information every other corner to check the cars parameters I think it's gone too far!  (Anyone remember the problems our friend Pastor Maldonado got into in Bahrain earlier in the season, trying to make changes whilst cornering...) 

It's also emerged that coded messages and pit board use will be monitored too, and so the cheeky HAMmertime message (seen above) that myself and Mercedes shared a joke in the other day wouldn't be viable either.

Like the FIA, my ramblings may be a knee jerk reaction to a problem that only half exists but nevertheless they are my thoughts and I wait to see how failures play into one drivers hands.



  1. Changes to rules and enforcement mid-season are frustrating to me as a fan. For example, the ban on linked suspension lead me to believe that the teams that had the best linked suspension system have had to compromise their original design.

    Likewise, teams have been managing the cars through driver-changeable settings all season. Just as the power unit and gearbox limits come into play, the rules are changed again. Now, teams that had executed strategies all season must compromise.

    Share more information with the fans. Those who don't understand probably don't care. If I wanted to watch drivers in identical cars, I'd watch GP2.

  2. This is a change that could easily wait for a new season. I think as the drivers learn the cars more and more we would have possibly seen less of this 'coaching' going on anyway. I agree with the stuff about telling the drivers where they are loosung time to team mates etc but I'm not bothered about the info on 'strat modes' and the like.
    Again it's too much too late by the FIA this could easily been sorted out without the song and dance that's gone on, just banning coaching in individual corners isall that needed bringing under control.


  3. The FIA's reaons are just stupid. At the end of the day the driver is still driving the car, they are the one who has to push the button or not, they have to find the extra time and drive the car.

    I hate that organizers feel the need to screw with things mid-season and do stupid gimmicks like double points races, or forced tire compound switches.

  4. MATT, regards the radio clamp down could you possibly find time to explain what 'learn the gears' means when the drivers go on the formation lap. I believe it is something to do with synchronizing the gear changes but I don't know why. If you could find the time to explain reasoning behind it and also from and engineering perspective, it would be great as you have a good way of putting thing in terms I can get my head round.


  5. I think F1 has been historically a very generous business with a product that got sold by itself. This caused that F1 chiefs didn't use very sophisticated thinking process and relied more in the use of force to get things through. Today the world (and competition) has changed and from some years to now everything in F1 decisions seem to be born through improvisation in a bar table where chiefs share their occurrences. Can anyone imagine Apple, Google or any of the top companies coming up with such un-stability in their mid to long term strategic planning? They would be dead. It is time for a generational change in F1. Current management have proved they are not qualified for the mission.

  6. I posted this over at tj13, but it is relevant to your discussion.

    This whole new interpretation of the communication regulations have got me very worried. The impact of this is far and wide. It will effect different teams in different ways, most likely impacting one or two of the larger teams in more ways than the rest. Which teams, and whether it effects them in positive or negative ways, is anyone’s guess, but we do know one thing. Teams that are not running the new steering wheel will be at a major disadvantage.
    Reb Bull

    Without the digital display on the Steering wheel, these teams will have no way of relaying the relevant info to the driver. Here is a short list of info the driver may need to monitor:

    Tire temperature x4
    Tire pressure x4
    Brake temp x4
    Spring load x4
    Brake pressure front
    brake pressure rear
    ICE temp
    Turbo temp
    Intake pressure
    Intake temperature
    Exhaust pressure
    Exhaust temperature
    ERS-H Temp
    ERS-K Temp
    ERS-H Batt Charge rate
    ERS-K Batt Charge rate
    Batt Discharge rate
    Batt voltage
    Gear #
    Fuel load
    Fuel pressure
    Fuel % per lap
    target lap time

    That’s a lot of bar graphs.

    These were all things the pit would monitor, and then tell the driver to make setting changes or driving style changes, to help control. Now the driver has to keep an eye on all of that, plus probably more things I can’t even fathom.
    Oh, by the way s/he happens to be driving a car at speeds in excess of 200 MPH while doing this.
    So the driver will be spending significantly more time looking at the steering wheel, instead of at the race track, and the other cars around him. Besides this not being very safe, it also will cause the driver to miss potential passing opportunities, or the braking point for a turn, etc.
    If the FIA’s real intention is to “make the driver drive the car”, this seems to have the opposite effect.
    But I guess Williams, RB and Caterham won’t have to worry, as they have no display. They will just drive the cars blind until the PU explodes, or the car runs out of fuel.

    The most dangerous part of the whole situation though, will be at the starting line. We will likely see many more of the cars have bad launches. The potential for a horrific accident if one of the lead cars stalls out, or leaves really slow, will dramatically increase. If I wanted to see accidents, I would watch NASCAR.

    I am worried.

  7. This whole ban is ridiculous. Team messages like these make me a part of the action,. I get to be in the drivers head, in the car, a part of the team.


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