F1 news review: Traction control debate

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In the F1 news this week there are fresh concerns over the banning of traction control this year.

Plus more reviews of 2007 and more debate over who was the best driver of the year – which invariably boils down to a discussion about two drivers: Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

All this and more in the weekly round-up of the F1 news.

Drivers move to quell wet weather fears – Concerns over racing in the wet following the ban on traction control.

Heidfeld: TC ban to make races ‘more thrilling’ – But Nick Heidfeld is positive about the traction control ban.

Schumacher turned down Ferrari role – Michael Schumacher spurned the chance to become sporting director at Ferrari late last year.

Chinese GP executive jailed – One of the men behind the Shanghai International Circuit is imprisoned for embezzlement.

Mercedes slammed for driver policy – Michael Bartels criticises Mercedes for failing to promote German talent.

Thoughts as the new year beckons – GrandPrix.com’s Joe Saward on the scandals of 2007: “We fervently believe that if one went through the pre-September computer records of many of the teams one would find evidence of all kinds of things.”

Martin’s top five – Martin Brundle has a hard time separating Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton as the best drivers of 2007: this is who I picked as the best driver. Brundle also has a piece on why he thinks Hamilton is the real deal.

Viso: I want to race – Ernesto Viso, the Venezuelan who survived a terrible crash in GP2 at Magny-Cours in last year’s Grand Prix weekend, wants an F1 seat.

Teixera thanks Ecclestone for help – A1 Grand Prix’s Tony Teixera thanks Bernie Ecclestone for his help in securing the deal for the championship to use Ferrari engines.

Hamilton hoping for less politics in 2008 – Lewis Hamilton wants fewer non-racing distractions this year.

The year in review: SportThe Independent’s take on the 2007 F1 season.

Williams opt against official car launch – No formal launch for the FW30 – use the F1 Fanatic calendar to keep up to date with the 2008 car launches and tests.

Ralf confirms no F1 drive in 2008 – No seat for Ralf Schumacher in 2008.

Happy new year – GrandPrix.com offer wishes of the season – but can’t resist a dig at some of their rivals!

More on the 2008 F1 driver line-up

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “F1 news review: Traction control debate”

  1. About the 2008 line-up, i thought Asmer is oficially third BMW driver.

  2. I don’t think that’s been confirmed yet. Last I heard they tested him and Javier Villa at Jerez:

    2008 testing round-up 2

  3. Ok, i have just read the official website for BMW F1 and they say that Hulkenberg is the test driver. I don’t know if they are planning have more than one test driver, but with the new limits in tests, i think it’s over for Asmer and Villa.

    Bad for Asmer who did it really well in Jerez. Villa needs to improve a lot, but I think he has quality. I don’t know if a second line team in GP2 is the best place for this young driver.

  4. Ok, my fault, i opened a lot of websites, and i had got a problem: Hulkenberg has been confirmed in Williams. Sorry about my previous post.

  5. I can’t believe the drivers are complaining about racing in the wet without traction control. It’s not like it never rained in the pre-traction control era.

    Am I missing something??

  6. I think its a 100% stupid idea to take away traction control!

    formula 1 is world renowned for its safety and I think all that will change in 2008 and I wouldn’t be surprised if the F1 world has a death on its hands!

    most drivers in formula one now have never driven a race without traction control and take Fuji for example when it was raining like mad! people were sliding around all over the place and even massa is saying that if that were to happen again then people would spin on the straits, and I agree totally!

    correct me if im wrong but hadn’t it been almost 10 years since a race was red flagged? also hasn’t it been almost 10 years since traction control was brought in?

    if that’s right then I rest my case. :)

  7. Traction control came back in 2001. The last race to be red-flagged was at the Nurburgring last year, before that it was the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix.

    More on traction control here:

    Traction control ban: better races, less safe, more controversy?

  8. I think the drivers should get over it. The traction control is finally gone and yes dear F1 prima donna drivers, you may slide off the track when it rains, that’s what happens when you make mistake !

    Everything that makes the life more difficult for drivers and requires some raw skill seems to be turning into a safety issue these days …

  9. Traction control should be banned one year ans allowed the next just to keep t interesing….Excellent to see the Mclarens have 22&23 as their car numbers

    I cant wait for March to come

  10. Traction control will show that there are some drivers out there (Webber, Trulli, maybe Button) who are proper racers who were hampered by the electronics. It will also show that there are some drivers (Alonso) who have been massively flattered by the old system. The best two raw racers on the track (Raikkonen and Hamilton) will be fighting it out wheel to wheel next year – it’ll be fantastic.

  11. Think I’ve already made my views on TC clear, but just to reiterate – it was a travesty when it (and active suspension etc) were banned originally, and it’s a travesty again.

  12. The problem with racing in Fuji without traction control is not that there would be no traction control. It is that the FIA preaches safety but will not delay a race because TV schedules and Bernie’s bank balance are more important than drivers lives. Driving an F1 car in weather like that is not difficult due to lack of grip. It is difficult because the driver can’t see. One or two more may slide off without traction control but they should not be made to race in conditions where visibility is zero. It doesn’t matter whether you are Taki Inoue or Ayrton Senna. If you cannot see you are not safe.

    It is very sad that the drivers have accepted that it is OK for them to race in conditions like Fuji.

    What is the point of Max and co constantly preaching safety then giving Fuji a GP at that time of year. Everyone I have spoken to and every racing journalist I have read anticipated the weather. Why can’t the FIA?

  13. following on from the comment about racing during the rainy season – weren’t brazil and the british gp’s dates moved to lessen the possibilty of poor weather ?

  14. I think Steven Roy has more or less hit the nail on the head there. The problem is the lack of consistency in wet races in either delaying the start/starting under the SC, and red flagging them when it gets too wet. Fuji was a prime example. If my memory serves me correctly, they started under the SC for a 30-40 minutes, and only bothered to actually bring it in because they sent a car round to unlap itself (was either an Aguri or an STR) which set a decent laptime. If anything conditions got worse (than those at the start) near the end of the race, but noone was red-flagging it or SC’ing it then. Where I disagree with Steven is that that race proved it could have started green flag racing much earlier than it actually did, and the drivers were a bit over-cautious. I thought Fuji was less dangerous than Nurburgring, because there a downpour occurred when everyone was on slicks as opposed to already knowing it was raining.

    The FIA/FOM/whomever makes the decision wanted the Fuji race off at the usual time to keep to schedules, but was entirely prepared to see no racing at all by keepng the SC out for too long a time. That’s whats wrong, and could easily have cheated the paying punters out of a proper race. Keith mentions the Brazilian GP in 2003, which was the last race (and the only one for a long time) that actually had the start delayed, and even then when it did get underway it was STILL under the SC. I suppose you can make the argument that it needs cars going round to clear the standing water, but those laps should surely not be counted as part of the “race”.

    I’m of the firm opinion that if an incident (crash, weather, whatever) is so bad that the SC has to be out for more than 15 minutes maximum, then it is deserving of a red flag. But the SC has become over-used simply to try keep to broadcast schedules, which is surely taking the biggest liberties with driver safety.

  15. Vertigo

    Alonso compited in karting against Kimi many times, obviously without TC, and success most of the times.

    I understand you hate the Alonso out of the track, but into the track Alonso is one of the talented drivers. Other drivers that i think could get some benefit: Button, Sato, Alonso, Kimi, Lewis, rookies coming from GP2. Deadpoint for Barrichello, Massa, Trulli…

  16. I know Alonso is a very talented driver. Just leave me to hate him in peace!

  17. Ah, truth is a wonderful thing. Well said, Vertigo! :D

  18. …love those last two posts..ha..ha

    Is it a stupid question for me to ask if they can use traction control only in wet races or,is there not enough time to set that up prior to a race?

    also..I want to disagree with Brundle and say Nick Heidfeld was more impressive than Nico Rosberg this year,although I cheer them both on.

  19. I have to agree with Robert if the race is not fully underway within a minumum of 15 mins of the published start time due to adverse weather conditions – it should be red flagged – schedules – tv slots – should not compromise basic safety be it for Fi – horse racing – anything – but even past seasons drivers had the sense to stop – even though it cost them a championship – lauda and hunt the shunt got it because lauda retired due to the conditions!! – stuff itv – get it on a another provider with better commentators – apart from martin brundle – and on that subject – any news on his fight against mad max?? – thats went quiet lately? – hope he doesnt issue a statement apologising to max ?? – that would be the end

  20. Martin Brundles comments should not even be on TV

  21. Racing is all about risk and risk management. Running without TC will no doubt make the dry races much more enjoyable and put a premium back on driver’s skills. Wet races without TC will mean teams will have to decide more quickly when to go from dries to intermediates to full wets, or back again.

    The visibility issue in full rain has always been amazing to me, how anyone can go at speed and not see is beyond my comprehension. Maybe without TC it will slow the drivers a bit more for a safety benefit as opposed to making it more dangerous.

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