Monthly Archives: March 2012
Originally at GoCar.gr – http://www.gocar.gr/races/f1/7034,F1:_Oi_skeyeis_gia_ton_prwto_agwna.html
The demeanour of the three drivers who finished on the podium told me everything I needed to know about two of the major questions arising from the opening race of the season in Australia.
The first is that a supremely confident Jenson Button is going to continue the excellent form he has shown since joining McLaren, to the extent that his win in the new McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 was a depressing experience for team mate Lewis Hamilton. The 2008 World Champion has been telling everyone that he has put the difficulties of last season behind him, but his face told a different story. Button is on top at McLaren – in and out of the car.
The second is that although Red Bull Racing struggled a little in practice and qualifying, their race pace was competitive and Sebastian Vettel looked relaxed as a result. The double World Champion is not going to panic; the RB8 is competitive, and simply needs to be optimised. The McLaren V Red Bull battle will continue.
There was so much to talk about in Melbourne that it can only mean one thing; this year’s Formula One World Championship is going to be fascinating. Mercedes Benz AMG is competitive, Roman Gosjean and Kimi Raikkonen have reason to be optimistic of achieving success with the Lotus E20, and Ferrari have begun a long fight-back after a disappointing start to the season for the F2012. Alonso salvaged a truly remarkable 5th place, while Massa had an awful weekend has did not help his chances of staying with the team.
Perhaps the most pleased aspect of the weekend was the fact that a beautiful looking car won the race. The ugly ‘platypus’ nosed F1 cars will be a one-year aberration, so while the Technical Working Group and FIA managed to forget their responsibility to make the cars look great, at least McLaren have shown that there is only one ‘step’ that matters; the top step of the podium.
For those you have missed it … Craig Scarborough joined GoCar.gr commenting on the technical side of F1 in both Greek and English
For English click here : http://www.gocar.gr/en/races/f1-tech-files/t1,Technical_side_of_F1.html
Για Ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ : http://www.gocar.gr/gr/races/f1-tech-files/t1,Technical_side_of_F1.html
Q: Why has a four-hour total time limit been put on Grands Prix?
CW: Last season the race in Montreal went on for four hours and four minutes. A race really should not go on longer than that. Should four hours elapse during a future race, drivers will receive a signal telling them they have one more lap before the chequered flag.
Q: Race stewards will now be able to investigate an incident without first reporting it to the race director. Why is the system changing?
CW: In the past stewards might see something suspect and alert the race director. He would look at the incident and request the stewards investigate. It was a process that consumed a lot of time. If they identify something worth investigating, there’s nothing wrong with them taking a look and then giving the race director an opinion. It should make the process less cumbersome.
Q: Drivers are now instructed to not deliberately leave the track without good reason. Why?
CW: We’ve seen drivers taking shortcuts on in and out laps, either to save time or fuel. We could put up barriers to stop them exploiting short cuts but it usually looks stupid! The rules say the drivers should use the track. If they don’t, they will need to justify their actions.
It also follows that safety will be improved as other drivers are more likely to know that a car has left the track for a good reason.
Q: The ‘one-move’ rule on defending a position has been reinstated. Has there been a problem with dangerous blocking in the last few seasons?
CW: This isn’t really a new overtaking rule, rather we’ve put into the regulations what was an unwritten rule. A driver can make one move only to defend a position – but when that driver then moves back onto the racing line to take a corner it can be construed as a second move, which is not allowed. It’s a matter of deciding to what degree resuming the original line is acceptable. We don’t want to get into silly arguments about centimetres so we’ve decided the defending driver must leave at least one car width on the racing line otherwise he will be judged to have made a second move and penalised accordingly. We need to have drivers giving each other space on the track – otherwise we risk dangerous collisions.
Q: Previously cars needed to pass crash tests before racing. Now they have to pass before testing. Why?
CW: Safety cannot be compromised. It is indefensible to have drivers testing cars in the winter that haven’t met the safety standards we demand for a race. The teams resisted this for quite a while, telling me it would be impossible to get the crash tests done before the first test. It came as no great surprise that nearly everybody managed it.
However, as we have seen, two teams failed to pass all their crash tests in good time and were subsequently unable to participate any of the pre-season testing in Jerez and Barcelona (both of these teams have now passed all the required tests).
Q: Why are drivers now allowed more than three sets of tyres for FP1 and FP2 on Fridays?
CW: Each driver still gets eleven sets for the weekend and three still have to be given back on Friday evening and another two after FP3 on Saturday. This has not changed. We are, however, allowing teams to use more than three of their eleven sets on Fridays to give them the opportunity to do more running on the first day of practice should they wish to do so. As an example they might expect Saturday to be wet and want to get more running in beforehand on a dry track. It is to the benefit of everyone that they are allowed to run as much as they want during the Friday sessions.
Q: With the safety car on track, lapped cars will be allowed to unlap themselves and rejoin at the back of the field. Why is F1 going back to this system?
CW: We took this rule away because it was difficult to manage and potentially dangerous. We have reinstated it with new safeguards. Drivers will only be allowed to overtake once they have all passed the pit entry twice, this will allow all drivers to pit if they want to. We will also instruct the lead drivers to stay on the racing line once the order is given to allow cars to overtake. They will be allowed to weave again, to get heat into their tyres, when we inform them it is safe to do so.
Q: Why do the 2012 cars have the ‘platypus’ nose?
CW. The height of the survival cell in front of the driver was 625mm – and we wanted to reduce that to 550mm. Our intention was to ensure the nose is lower than the cockpit sides, to protect the driver’s head in the event of a ‘T-bone’ accident. Some teams complained that lowering the whole car forward of the cockpit would force them into a radical redesign. We agreed a compromise that the 550mm height would only apply from a point 1950mm in front of the rear edge of the cockpit template. This achieves the objective equally well, and without requiring the teams to fundamentally overhaul their suspension packaging. They do all look like ducks though…
Q: Measurement tolerances have been tightened. Why?
We used to measure tolerances across the flat bottom, the step and reference planes with a margin of ±5mm. The tolerances were there to allow for manufacturing discrepancies but teams were designing to the limit of the tolerances, contrary to the spirit of the rules. We have therefore reduced the allowance to ±3mm.
Q: The obligatory weight distribution rule was only supposed to run for one season. Why has the rule been continued for a second season?
CW: We had this rule last year to allow teams to begin designing their cars before they knew the characteristics of the Pirelli tyres. The teams have indicated they would like to keep the rule in place for the second year rather than make expensive wholesale changes to their cars for 2012. We have no problem with this.
Q: The size and position of exhaust exits is now specified. Why stipulate this area of the design?
CW: Our objective is to prevent teams operating a blown diffuser, which under certain circumstances infringes Article 3.15 (moveable aerodynamic device). In combination with additional constraints on engine mapping, as described in technical directive number 36 and incorporated into the SECU code, it will limit designers’ ability to exploit exhaust gases for aerodynamic effect. However teams will not unlearn the knowledge they have gained and it is quite likely this area of regulation may need to be revisited again in 2013?
Q: Why are there new dimensional constraints for suspension uprights?
CW: This is to stop uprights protruding too far from the wheels and being used, in effect, as wings.
Q: Why has helium been banned from use in wheel guns?
CW: Powering wheel-guns with compressed helium instead of compressed air saved fractions of a second during a pitstop. Now everyone is aware of this, it would have been a very expensive method of gaining no advantage.
Q: Why have active torque measuring systems been banned for wheel changes?
CW: We want the wheel gun operator to be responsible for the action. Once the torque is applied he should be making the decision to disengage. The latest torque guns show a light when the correct torque has been applied. That is as far as we want to go – we do not want any further automation.
Q: Why have the intrusion panels increased in size?
CW: The panels were installed 100mm-500mm above the reference plane, they are now 100mm-550mm about the plane. The forward one was 400mm high and is now 450mm high. This change should improve driver safety in the event of a T-bone accident.
Q: How and why have the tests for front wing deflection changed?
CW: The rules state the wings (as well as all other parts of the bodywork) must be rigid. We have halved the permitted deflection. Previously the wing was tested with a 1kN load and allowed to deflect 20mm. As a result of this the teams were testing wings until they found a design that deflected 19.9mm under a 1kN load. Our allowances are only a guideline for us and we felt the teams were operating outside the spirit of the rules and clearly designing their wings with flexibility in mind. In our view Article 3.15 takes precedence over Article 3.17 where the deflection limits are quantified. Article 3.17.8 allows us to introduce new tests if we feel our guidelines are not being following in an appropriate manner. The new test therefore moves the pressure point rearwards by 10mm and inboard by 5mm with the permitted deflection reduced to 10mm. We have also told the teams that we may apply the load to just one side of the front wing, an asymmetrical test.
Q: There has been a technical directive on the subject of ride height systems. Why have these been banned?
CW: The systems in question used braking torque to affect ride height changes. If these changes are made primarily for aerodynamic benefit they would be illegal under Article 3.15.
Q: Finally, there were some additions to the regulations ratified by the F1 Commission at the World Motor Sport Council on 9 March. Can you expand on those?
CW: The changes weren’t substantial and the amendments were in three areas: firstly, we decided that one set of dry weather tyres can now be carried over to Saturday if both Friday practice sessions are declared wet. The reason for that is simply to give the teams the opportunity to run more laps on Saturday; we also decided that we would clarify things with regard to DRS use so that we can prohibit the use of the adjustable rear wing if we feel that visibility is too poor in wet conditions. We did that on safety grounds because of concerns about the speed differential between cars. Finally, we just clarified things with regard to the curfew works to make sure that rest periods remain constant throughout the season, irrespective of the timing of practice sessions at some events.
PIRELLI ANNOUNCES THE NEW TEST CAR FOR 2012
Milan, March 7, 2012 – Italian tyre firm Pirelli, the official tyre supplier to Formula One, will make use of a 2010 Renault R30 for testing purposes this year, with the test driver still to be appointed. A test driver should be appointed later this month.
The 2010 Renault will be adapted to simulate the latest technical and aerodynamic regulations, as Pirelli develops new tyres for the future. With official in-season testing limited to one session at Mugello in May, a test programme with a contemporary car will play a vital part in Pirelli’s tyre development throughout the year.
In order to ensure complete impartiality, the test team will be run by Pirelli with no team member connected to a current Formula One team, in the same carbon black Pirelli livery as was used last year.
Four to five tyre tests are anticipated for this season, just as was the case last year, in Barcelona, Jerez, Spa and Monza. The first test is due to take place in May, with the remaining test dates still to be decided.
All of the current teams will be invited to send one observer to each test, although no data or other information about the test programme will be supplied.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “It was clear from an early point that we needed a more modern solution for our test car, as while the Toyota TF109 has served us extremely well, it is now three years old. Technology as well as the regulations have moved on considerably since then, and the Toyota is no longer able to generate the same sort of forces that we need to simulate in order to meet the current requirements of Formula One. At the top of our agenda is the need to treat the teams entirely equally, which is why the test team will be run independently and all the teams will be able to send an observer to the tests. Our new test car will be running to current fuel regulations, with no refueling, so we will be able to simulate a full race distance and the change in balance with the car and tyres. The final piece of the jigsaw will be to recruit a test driver, and we hope to announce this within a month. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Toyota, who have given us exceptional support as we developed our range of tyres for 2011 and 2012. They have played a significant part in our achievements in Formula One to date, and now we look forward to building on this in the future with a new range of tyres.”
ARTIST MARK DICKENS UNVEILS UNIQUE FORMULA 1 COLLECTION
AT EXCLUSIVE LONDON EXHIBITION
Acclaimed artist Mark Dickens has created a series of 19 original works of art that encapsulate
Formula 1’s relationship with race-hosting cities, circuits and leading partners involved in the sport
Wednesday 7 March 2012
A unique exhibition of Formula 1 inspired artwork was unveiled by artist Mark Dickens in London yesterday evening in an exclusive showing to over 100 guests, including dignitaries, representatives and media from the worlds of motorsport and the arts.
The one-off exhibition, held at the Cello Factory on the South Bank, marked the culmination of a year-long art project, commissioned by Formula One Management (FOM) CEO, Mr Bernie Ecclestone, aimed at capturing the essence of the 19-race 2011 Formula 1 World Championship from Australia to Brazil.
Through 19 individual and original commissioned pieces of art, Mark Dickens has showcased the beauty and dynamism of each host city on the 2011 F1 calendar. Integral to the artwork is Mark’s collaboration with the circuit CEOs and Chairmen, sponsors and other dignitaries all expressing what Formula 1 means to them in their own writing. The works have all been individually created and finished by Mark, using mixed media panels combining print, paint, fabric, photographic transfers, embellishments and hand-written text set onto marine board panels.
Mark attended each of the races throughout the 2011 F1 season, taking in first-hand all the culture, atmosphere and excitement of the world’s leading motor racing championship, which is one of the most celebrated and revered international sports. The works have succinctly blended the cultural and architectural beauty of each host city with the technology and unbridled passion of Formula 1 racing – a potent combination.
The works of art of each the featured host cities will be presented at each event throughout the 2012 Formula 1 season which gets underway next week in Australia.
Mark Dickens said: “It has been my immense privilege to have been invited by Mr Ecclestone to create the 19 pieces of work which we exhibited at the Cello Factory last night. It has been a truly unique collaboration, bringing together all the key ingredients of Formula 1, from the culture and ambience of each host city and circuit, the thrill and excitement of racing, as well as the contributions from circuits, sponsors and teams. I am thankful to everyone who made the exhibition possible and to the people who attended.”
Mr Bernie Ecclestone commented: “In this series of paintings, Mark has captured the unique spirit and intensity that is Formula 1. A special collaboration with the Circuits and Sponsors.”