Improving F1 means solving a three-dimensional problem (Making F1 better)

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Containing costs to allow new teams in is vital for F1

Cost, Safety and The Show. If you want to get anything changed in F1, these are the three criteria you’ve got to satisfy.

So how do our ideas for making F1 better measure up?

The Show

Ordinarily I avoid using the phrase ‘Improving the show’ but I use it here to make a point: however much the powers-that-be in F1 talk about improving the show, the reality is they can’t do it by compromising costs and safety.


F1 has been preoccupied with cuttings costs for years. But the onset of the credit crunch inspired a new urgency in efforts to make F1 cheaper as the teams faced dwindling sponsorship revenues – which the blank bodywork on the Sauber and HRT cars makes painfully clear.

If costs get out of hand teams will drop out, leaving F1 races with dwindling grids.


Formula 1 has gone 16 years without a driver fatality and it’s nine years since the last death due to an F1 race.

But it will not prevent further fatal accidents by resting on its laurels – and the governing body understands that. Felipe Massa’s escape from a shocking accident at the Hungaroring last year was thanks to recently introduced advances in crash helmet safety.

But what about…

There are other important factors – but none as decisive as these three.

For example, there is a growing recognition of F1’s need to support the car industry in its efforts to reduce emissions and waste. But the teams’ collective decision to abandon KERS this year to save money shows that other priorities – containing costs – trumps that need.

What the 3D problem tells us

There’s been a lot of criticism of the number of small changes made to the F1 rules each year. This season we’ve had a new points system and a rule forcing drivers who qualify within the top ten to start the race on the same tyres they qualified on.

These can be seen as attempts to solve one part of the three-dimensional problem – improving the show – while not making the other two problems worse.

But even if these changes have helped in some small way I doubt anyone would say they’ve cracked the problem of improving the quality of racing in F1.

I suspect real progress will only be made when someone makes the call to sacrifice one of the three parts to improve the other. But that will not be an easy decision to make.

For example, in January Adrian Sutil claimed part of the reason F1 had become less exciting was because of track like Yas Island which are “too safe”.

Can F1 afford to give track designers more freedom to create exciting circuits, with faster corners and less run-off, and improve the show – potentially at the expense of safety? Sebastien Buemi and Natacha Gachnang’s accidents two weekends ago are powerful arguments against relaxing safety standards at F1 tracks.

Over to you

We’ve all got ideas for how we would make F1 better – hundreds of them have been shared here in this series the past few days.

But are they all realistic? Can they pass the three-dimensional test? Pick an idea that you think would make F1 better and see if it does.

Are there any changes F1 can make that would improve the show without pushing up costs or risking safety? Are there some changes that are so important that accepting compromises on costs or safety are necessary? Have your say in the comments.ta

This article is part of “Making F1 better”, a series of articles looking at ways to improve Formula 1. Fore more information see the introduction: Making F1 better: a discussion series

Making F1 better

    Author information

    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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    111 comments on “Improving F1 means solving a three-dimensional problem (Making F1 better)”

    1. IMO, you don’t have to make the tracks dangeous to become challenging. Why can’t there be slightly less run off, but with these padded barriers we see being used these days?

      1. teeb123456789
        26th April 2010, 20:49

        the way to implement this would be to change the ‘f1 track desgn rule book’. (There genuinely is a rule book/ guidance book for track designers). You would change the rules allowing there to be less run off, steeper gradients (more hills) etc. Probably the return of gravel traps would be good in my opinion. More people will be caught out by them, separating the best from the best =D

        1. Absolutely, I agree with this. I don’t know why they have the gradient rule in the first place. Some of the classic tracks of old had GREAT hills which made them more interesting.

          Honestly, I think closer barriers are possible without making things that much less safe. Obviously at places like the end of the straight in China, it’s good to have a ton of run-off. But on other corners not at the end of the long straights where speeds will be huge, why not give less run-off? Mistakes will be punished without having too much of a high-speed impact.

          1. DamionShadows
            26th April 2010, 23:10

            You pretty much summed it up perfectly in my opinion Joey. There should be more high speed corners instead of these long, slow curves or slow right angle corners piled on top of one another.

          2. For track design I think it is possible to get rid of some chicanes and enormous run of areas and put some of these new padded barriers in place.

            The risk of damaging the car when mistakes are made is a little higher, the danger to drivers and bystanders not.
            Cost would not be higher, possibly lower for new tracks, as they would need less space for run off.

            Does anyone know why the gradient is so stringently avoided?

            1. The problem with having barriers that close to raise the risk of damaging the car is that the teams wont like the idea of having to pay to rebuild cars even more frequently, it’ll put up costs. And as we saw with Natacha Gachnang’s accident even with those padded barriers you can still cause serious injury to the driver. Safety has to be paramount, no one want to see some one seriously injured or worse.

    2. I think a move back to turbos, and larger wheels with thinner tyres! This will give drivers more of a platform to overtake! And it will reduce fuel consumption!

    3. Getting rid of the double deck diffusers and all the extreme aerodymanics will improve the show considerably and reduce costs, while not comprimising safety.
      Because this would create less downforce, my vote goes to more mechanical grip, and no rev limiter on the engines. If these changes would come through, overtaking (on dry races) wouldn’t be impossible and racing would be important again.

    4. Whatever about making runoff areas smaller , make them more of a threat , nowadays a trip to the tarmac on a new track is a lovely drive, and you back on.
      But what about having more deeper runoffs, where when a car goes in they will find it hard to get out, and if they do they will have lost time and maybe clogged a radiator or something just as a penace for their mistake.
      That is my point :D

      1. Exactly, I mean on several occasions Kimi went off, onto the run-off at Spa and it was more advantageous to him than staying on the track.

    5. As far as cost cutting goes car development is by far the most expensive. But instead of limiting this, there cutting costs in other ways. Thats why they should make a budget limit for car development. Bigger teams will cry about this but as the STR guy said a couple days ago: They’ll just have to decide if they want a whole cheese sandwich or 3 grams of caviar to fill there hungry stomachs. And then loosen up the rules in some areas. If they just set a fixed horsepower limit (instead of the complete engine regulation), this could attract lot’s of teams. For example Volkswagen could show off their knowledge of small turbo engines, ferrari their mighty V12’s and toyota could go back to hybrid systems of maybe full electric drive. And it would be a lot easier to transfer technology to road cars.

      1. But that would lead to a technology war amongst the engine suppliers, and the engine is probably the single most expensive part of the car in regards to development. They froze it because the prices were just too high.

    6. Why not keep the large run off areas but make them gravel instead of tarmac therefore punishing the drivers more for going off track.

      1. The reason gravel traps have been gradually phased out in favour of tarmac is because if a car goes sideways into the gravel, it is likely to roll. But tarmac doesn’t really punish drivers for making mistakes. I’d like to see a solution like they have at Paul Ricard, where the runoff is extremely abrasive tarmac. That would slow the cars down faster, and provide a punishment (in the form of tyre wear/damage) for going off the road.

      2. Everyone seems to want to get rid of the tarmac zones, but would we really have had the pleasure of watching this had there not been any tarmac zones?

        I think that by putting tarmac zones by the track, at least the drivers can’t use the “I didn’t want to overtake because it’s too risky to end up in a gravel-trap” excuse.

        I don’t know about the safety difference between the two though, maybe the gravel is better in some cases, so perhaps the first part should be tarmac and further toward the walls should be gravel.

        1. Well most of the times MAS or KUB went off, it wasn’t by a long way and it was usually grass. Only at the end Massa went all the way off and he got superior traction, which I don’t think is right. Instead of being punished for going off track he gained an advantage. Although Kubica shouldn’t really have shoved Felipe off the track in the first place and perhaps he wouldn’t have done so had there been gravel.

        2. It would have been just as good a battle, they just wouldn’t have kept going off the track.

    7. making better tracks doesn’t mean making them less safe…

      for instance… gravel and grass around the track instead of miles of tarmac… then, if you go off a bit, you lost it… but it can also slow you down in case of a crash

      Whats the point of being careful at a corner if there’s plenty of runoff area to avoid any kind of time lost? drivers can push a lot more when nothing is around the corners and the runoff areas allow you to take back the track without much problem…

      but risk a bit more than needed at Monaco and your race will be gone.

      1. An F1 car entering a gravel trap sidways at triple-digit speeds has poor odds of coming to stop with the wheels down. You can Youtube enough horrifying accidents at Elkhart Lake or Road America to verify this conclusion. That is the primary reason for tarmac-runoff, not reduing the punishment for errors.

        But I have gone on the record often regarding the foolishness of having the Hamilton-Spa rule but still allowing people to shove others off the track, which the tarmac runnoff development allows. For example, Sutil putting Trulli in the grass at Brazil is perfect example of how drivers have no qualms about “taking their line” against a driver on the outside nowadays, because now, normally, there is no consequence for such behavior to either driver. Letting such behavior continue but forbidding taking advantage of running off track has been proven to be an unenforceable, inane state of the driving rules.

    8. Building an F1 car is a many-thousand dimensional problem, this should be easy!

      1. Kudos for the avatar : )

    9. ban double diffusers. which is already going to happen! :) the first couple of dry races in 2009 (Aus, Bah, Mal) had some closer racing than previously.
      2009 would have been a vintage season had there been compulsory KERS and no DDD.

    10. I reckon if the FIA gathered some F1 drivers and designers (past and present) around a table, there would be no shortage of ideas.

      The FIA don’t need to let them make all the decisions, obviously, but they would have the opinions of drivers from different eras and who raced under different rules, then it could be discussed what changes need to be made, ie. car design, circuit design.

      Maybe they could have their own survey for the fans aswell, although not one like the LG survey, that was just a gimmick.

      Then the FIA can group the best ideas together make the rules accordingly, have an indepenant group build a scale model of a car to see if they work.

      And make sure there is not of this “spirit of the rules” business either. Rules are rules, if the car abides by the rules, it can be raced. If not, then it can’t.

      May have gone of on a bit of a tangent there… sorry about that.

    11. Give un established teams a extra turbo :)

    12. F1 tracks nowadays look a lot like car parks that have a track painted on them for the occasion, example being Hockenheim they really butchered that track.

      Bring back the gravel traps.

      Actually, now that I think of it the gravel trap at the end of the back straight in China probably saved Sebastien Buemi’s life. Imagine if that had’ve been tarmac… ??

    13. fred schechter
      26th April 2010, 19:26

      Questions for your question Keith,
      1. Why does everyone feel that exciting track design, and track safety are mutually exclusive. Designs that reward good driving with a variety of curves, overtaking opportunities, and high speed don’t need to be made while ignoring safety.

      2. Ah, the show, there are 3 shows going always too (this point is often skipped, TV, “media” (anything shown/written about after the live event), and of course attending the live event in person. It seems these aspects of “the show” are thought of separately rather than at the same time. It seems the results of “the show” are different according to which show a viewer gets. (just a bit to think about there)

      3. If mechanical grip is pushed through the roof, and technical innovation for road car improvement are highlighted, it seems we can improve greatly in this regard (are we thrashing this to death or what?!) Here’s a great example of fantastic racing, that’s simply mechanical grip and driver chutzpah on a relatively simple track.
      Granted we don’t want F1 to be anywhere this homologated, but by the same token, the racing itself is fantastically exciting. What we want is an exciting event with an announcer completely on his/her toes for the length of a race, a tv director showing you the maximum excitement (REGARDLESS OF LIVERY!!! (I’d like to see a torro rosso driving please)) and better video technical explanations. Maybe even an attempt like the American series that do side by side picture when in commercial so that you can see what’s going on when the ads are going (I don’t know if the Beeb has this problem or not, but Speed sure does!) It seems this comes back around to Napo,,, Bernie’s belly scratching over-commanding tactics and more creative freedom needs to be excersized for broadcasts.

      Got a little wound up there I guess. Glad the circus is coming back to Europe! (too bad I can’t be there)

      1. On point one you’re probably right – it’s just that we’ve had a lot of new circuits in the past few years and I don’t think anyone would miss them if they were gone overnight.

    14. I think the best thing that F1 could do to improve racing and ‘the show’ (i hate that term as well), is to leave the sport alone. Try presenting and promoting an already incredible sport differently. I’ve watched a NASCAR race on TV, there is no room for error, there are a thousand overtakes in a race and the tracks are almost all the same (from what I can tell), and I found it the most boring spectacle ever! But they give their fans incredible race coverage, Internet coverage, the drivers and teams have personalities, and they appear on Television broadcasts to try and promote the racing.
      I think they have one thing right, in order to improve ‘The show’ they have improved ‘the show’ and not changed the racing.

      1. I hope I don’t get in trouble here for admitting I watched a NASCAR race. I swear to god it was only once!

      2. I gather many Europeans are victimized by NASCAR’s marketing and their monopoly of racing-coverage in the U.S. Every Sunday night in America the local news has a NASCAR segment in which we see 2-3 massive pile-ups, and then we hear there was a pass for the lead in the last 2 laps. What you don’t get to see is that before that pass you had 4 hours of cars driving in circles, that the “passing” recorded in the books is just slight adjustments among the cars driving in two rows at all times like highway traffic, and the last lap pass occured because there was a yellow flag for “debris,” or something, in the last 5 laps. Or that the car behind rammed the one ahead going into the final corner to get by, which is called racing in that sport. NASCAR is boring.

        1. In fairness, Cacarella has a point. F1 can do better in selling its product and reducing its distance to the average fan.

      3. Agree with you 100%: NASCAR is boring as hell…

    15. Keith, you are missing a dimension: the Brand.

      It would be quite easy simultaneously to increase safety, improve the show, and reduce the costs. The France family has got it down to a science(excpet maybe for safety), but I don’t think many of the people who buy tickets, or watch on TV, are impressed with that solution.

      F1’s challenge is to maintain a unique, elite brand while maintaining a balance of innovation and affordability for the teams. Because the teams want both. And sponsors must be offered an affiliation of a higher perceived sophitication than they can find in IRL or BTCC, to convince them to pay the high costs.

      Improving your 3Ds cannot come at the expense of the brand, because other high-tech, high quality racing brands like ALMS are ready to compete in a lower-value space.

      We should not forget the lesson of the 90s when Group C became more sophisticated and was drawing more manufacturers than F1. Group C had high tech, it had marquis drivers, it had a signature annual event that was a bona fide racing event. It had close racing among technically diverse cars. The 91-93 recession was F1’s fortune in that case, and the FIA sabotaged it’s engine diversity. But it was a real threat.

      1. You’re right that it’s an important part of what F1 is. For the purposes of this debate I consider it part of the show.

      2. Intelligent input DaveW. Comment of day!!

    16. Cost cutting is the worst road to go down. I have watched for 40 years and there have always been smaller teams in the sport and also doing well. F1 is a sport and sport is big business. football teams will have double the budget of F1 teams and that is wrong. There are many categories available to race in without making F1 budget. To keep it the best requires money and if you don’t have it go somewhere else. I am not saying that we should return to quali and race engines and the use of 40 sets of tyres but if you can generate money let them spend it. Sponsors are leaving because F1 is losing its position. Reduce the politics, allow creativity and let the team’s race. Too many teams are upset and concerned by 2mm areo flaps/F ducts/diffusers etc. Please remember the days when at the first race of the year cars turned up with 6 wheels and hovercraft fans. F1 is about technology.

      1. That was a party political broadcast on behalf of the Ferrari party.

        1. yes, and although Ferrari have a huge heriatage, a massive following of loyal fans, and years of success, their opinon is to be ignored, because people disagree with them.

          Oh, it is even worse a fan agrees them, because then they are just been ‘horse wispered lies from LDM’, or blindly whorshiping at the alter of ferrari. After all, if you are a ferrari fan, you opinion is somehow tainted. Lets ask the fans of USF1.

          1. I remember Ferrari becoming a bit irrelevant in the early 90s, because of their lack of performance.
            I’d say sponsors are leaving F1 because of the ‘business case’; it’s harder to have a meaningfull return on 100m than on 40m.

    17. Personally I’m very confused by F1’s so called safety standards. In my simple world something is either considered safe or it is not. I cannot see how something is acceptable at one track but not at another. That to me is double standards and totally illogical. The street circuits particularly Monaco have far less run off and far harder barriers than the permanent circuits. If a poor road surface, Armco barriers etc are perfectly safe enough to stage the Monaco grand prix, then why can’t the new circuits like Yas Marina on similar speed turns have no run off and Armco like Monaco…. if that’s not safe then why are we still racing at Monaco (mind you we all know the answer to that!)….. I don’t ever want to see another driver die, but the cars are so strong now and the dangers of places like Monaco so consistently ignored that to me the argument about track safety rings hollow.

      1. Monaco is also considerably less quick than other circuits, due to much shorter areas or acceleration and higher drag. So while the walls may be closer, there is also much less speed to be disapated when they’re hit.

      2. Yup, monaco is far lower speeds, so less danger…yes the car will be smashed up but the driver should be fine – unlike what might happen is one comes off the shanghai straight at 300+ kmh

      3. I completely agree, it’s completely illogical that they reduce the challenge of the likes of Spa and Suzuka with huge areas of run off, whilst introducing street tracks with no run-off like Singapore, Valencia and soon Rome.

        Safety in F1 shouldn’t come at the expense of diminishing the challenge. Replacing gravel traps with run off areas means the challenge is significantly reduce without much safety benifit.

    18. I’m curious. Sutil says some tracks are to safe. I’d like to ask him if he thinks it’s possible to build a safe but driver challenging track and or if there is a circuit of this nature in the F1 calendar this year or in general does a track of this kind exist anywhere or are these question an oxymoron in themselves lol…

    19. look at the china GP, it proved an exciting race, a show. why don’t we look at why that was good and copy it.
      one reason why it was good, was that head wind at the end of the straight. now you cant put a wind machine at the end of the track, but we could design the stands to channel the wind to the cars, making it easier for silpstream cars to over take. its a bit out of this world but any thing to encourage overtaking

    20. Fix the core issue: wake turbulence. If cars can close up on each other, there will be more overtaking and hence a better ‘show’ no matter which track they’re driving on. It would make all tracks more or less interesting. I would go for wing cars, focus on aero which is less dependent on clean air.
      Is this more costly ? I think not: all development teams are in place, they just need to design their car differently. Keep standardization and resource restrictions, they keep most of the field on the same level and hence more chance of close racing. I said this before: FIA/FOTA are on the right track in this area. I heard they’ll introduce a small turbo with kers for 2013, great idea ! If 2010 produces the same racing excitement in the dry as it did in the wet, then it’s actually hard to point to improvements. But that can be said for all wet races off course. I expect 2011 and 2012 to be very interesting as the big teams will have to start scaling down to the levels of Brawn.
      In order to spice up things, I would introduce a US GP on Indianapolis and a French GP at La Sarthe. Maybe an additional aussie GP at Bathurst and US West at Laguna Seca. This would be less safe compared to the current standards, but wouldn’t need to cost that much.
      Current tracks could be tweaked in order to improve overtaking, with driver input off course. I’m thinking a long the lines of: the outside track in Bahrain instead of the current infield, sharpen some corners in Singapore. If they can’t follow closely enough however and slipstream, all this would be to no avail.
      So, more Show and still the same Cost, at the expense of a bit of Safety.
      You can grill me now !
      Extreme idea: introduce a tunnel so that an F1 car can actually overtake upside down. Clean air on the ceiling, wouldn’t that be spectacular ? I propose putting a white line at the end which you cannot cross to improve safety, like the pit exit.

      1. Aww, you’ve been watching the Schumacher commercial!

      2. “I would introduce a US GP on Indianapolis and a French GP at La Sarthe. Maybe an additional aussie GP at Bathurst and US West at Laguna Seca.”

        Now thats a calendar i’d love to see!

        1. Absolutely!
          Once upon a time all the F1 tracks were very different, each with their own character and challenge. These days the tracks are nearly all the same. The new far east fly away races are just a blur to me. I constantly get confused which track I’m watching the race on.
          This is one of the reasons why Indycar is so good to watch. The variety is unbelievable. Bring back the old Ostereichring, Interlagos and Hockenheim. Those were true tests of driver and car. Even Monaco has gradually been homogenised with low kerbs and a few run off areas. The real point I’m trying to make is the improvement in saftey is a good thing but it has reduced the challenge imeasurably. Bring back the challenge!!!

    21. Regarding cost and the quality of the show, I think there’s plenty of debate as to what could be improved but we’re definitely moving in the right direction regarding safety. Naturally this has an impact the performance of the cars, and consequently the show, but safety should be considered the most important of the 3 “dimensions” above.

      I think that if the FIA really wants to cut costs, the first thing they need to do is stop changing the rules every year. If we had only minor changes, the smaller teams would have a better shot at competing. The larger teams would still outspend them, but if you had a set formula for several years, the rate of improvement would decrease from year to year. This would get the field closer together. A little rain in the mix, and the lower teams have a chance at good points positions.

      To improve the show…again, we only need minor changes to allow overtaking. I think the teams have already agreed on some changes regarding the floor and the diffusers that will help next year.

      I do think that the teams should be allowed to come up with clever tech if it’s relevant to real world applications. KERS for example, should be one of the areas where there are few restrictions. Maybe require Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault to make their systems available to the smaller teams, with each team able to supply a maximum of 4 other outfits.
      Limiting the rate of progress of green technologies doesn’t make sense if the FIA really is trying to be more green…

      1. Regarding KERS, I’m not sure there are that many systems — my understanding was that McLaren was the selected supplier for the whole grid in 2009 and Williams was the only other team that developed their own system.

        1. That’s not to say you don’t have a valid point, no matter how few suppliers there are.

        2. You may be confusing KERS with the standard ECU. The FIA decided to introduce a standard ECU to help police the banning of electronic driver aids a few seasons ago and McLaren were chosen as the supplier.

          Most teams developed their own KERS but Williams were the only team to develop a fly-wheel based system.

          The Mercedes KERS which McLaren used was rated as the best but Ferrari, Renault and BMW all developed and raced their own systems.

          Honda were developing their own KERS before they pulled out of F1 and I think Toyota had a system but never raced it.

          If some customer engine teams such as Red Bull or Force India had decided to use KERS they would have used the one made by their engine supplier.

    22. bring along turtle shells and magic mushrooms to replace KERS in the future, dont ask me how I got the ideas I can’t for the life of me remember…….just work with me here.

      1. I volunteer to be in the test group to validate these proposals – lol !

    23. I have been reading the last few posts about “improving the show” but had never commented before.

      I think one of the things that is easy to leave out of the discussion is tracks.

      We have seen circuits like Turkey, Valencia and Abhu Dhabi produce boring races. On the other side tracks lke Spa, Brasil, Australia and Suzuka almost always produce a good show.

      What F1, in my opinion, really needs is more exciting and different tracks like ovals ect.

    24. My favourite solution, cutting back on aero, would reduce costs and improve the show, and probably make things a lot safer too, with reduced cornering speeds.

      But as for the tracks, I think more could be done to make them safe but stop them from being giant cotton-wool wrappers. After all, if Monaco was deadly there’s no way it would be on the track in the form it is, even if it is Monaco.

      I say, if a track is safer than Monaco, it’s safe. I keep harping on about it, but Kubica’s crash in Montreal showed that the blessed high levels of safety in F1 have a lot more to do with the car than having acres of run-off areas.

    25. If they don’t cut the costs, teams will go under. Fact of life, sure as eggs are eggs etc.

      Soccer teams have huge budgets, but they are living beyond their means and soon, as we are already seeing, it will come crashing down around their ears. £100,000,000 players? Do me a favour!

      We can’t have sport being ruled by how big a bank balance you have. It has to be something more human than that. And yes, you may say, what about Toyota? Well, Toyota was a good example of why, no matter how much money you have, it’s best to stay away from things that you know little or nothing about.

      1. Why don’t you go and watch people race fiat pandas or renault twingo’s. If you have watched this sport for any time you will know it is about development and money. Jordan, Stewart Toro Rosso etc have all done well on small budgets don’t drag everyone else down. As Toyota Ferrari and Mclaren have shown in the past money does not buy success, talet does.

        1. “Jordan, Stewart Toro Rosso etc have all done well on small budgets don’t drag everyone else down.”

          Have they indeed. Scraped together the odd lucky win in their fight against obscurity. Maybe we should just be thankful that they’re ‘making up the numbers’ and F1 can go on thinking that everything is rosey in the garden when in fact it shouldn’t be too surprised if more teams drop out at the end of this season than did last season.

          Heres a line from Ascanelli of STR, I think that it sums up his thoughts and that of other “small budget” teams quite nicely with regards to the current state of F1.

          When asked if he would be developing an F-duct (I want one for my car) for his own cars the answer was no:

          “That’s because if I have ten euros in my pocket and I’m hungry, I buy two sandwiches with it instead of three grams of caviar,”

          “As Toyota Ferrari and Mclaren have shown in the past money does not buy success, talet does.”

          So why so negative towards a budget cap then?

          1. yes, but limited rules result in team spedning a lot of money developing things like ‘tuning vanes’. There is a budget cap. It is differnt for each team, as it is called thier budget.

            Small teams will strugle to compete on this smaller ‘budget cap’ when they are spending money on tunning vanes, light wheel nuts, F-ducks etc. When the rules are so tight in some areas, it encourages development to the nth degree to gain a competitive advantage. Where as, if they were greater restrictions on areo, but more open rules with regard to suspension systems, kers, a range of enigne options, etc then smaller budget teams are more likely to be able to affoard to be able to think outside the square and beat the bigger teams.

            But money has always, and will always be a challage, as it was for tyrell, and stewart, so it will be for STR

            1. IMHO there will always be good and bad teams, but a situation that only 2 teams can actually win should be avoided. 99 was more interesting than 98 as Jordan had a chance at winning the crown. Yes, Hakkinen vs Schumi was a nice battle; but what about the other 18 cars on the grid ? They would just be in the way. Why bother extending the grid then with new teams as the money will go to the established ones where chances of success are higher and with them the benefit for the sponsors ?
              Money should be spent on car development, not on temporary appartment blocks in the paddock.
              The key is finding the right balance and there I must say the resource restrictions are a good idea. All teams will be more or less the same size and the best people can still show how good they are. Some parts are spec, but there would still need to be enough room to explore and differentiate. A tough balance to strike, as the dynamics of the sport will ensure successfull designs are copied. But where do you want them to spend the money: on wings (not road relevant) or on suspensions (road relevant) ?
              I would be nice to see Virgin get their act together as the CFD technology seems very relevant,and cheaper. This is a nice area to lead the field, as are all the simulators the teams have set up. Replacing wind tunnel with CFD would already bring down cost without necessarily putting steps back.
              As money is indeed always a struggle, it seems to be more about the level of expenditure than the relative expenditure between them: 40m are easier to find than 200m…

            2. but gilles,

              If a team wants to “waste” money on a temporary appartment blocks, than that is their choice. Sure, they could spend that money on development, or tey could spend that money entertaing their corporate guess, who then pay the bills. They are not forced to spend money on those facilities, they choose to. Just like people have talked about restricitng the number of people at a track. Personally, i dont think having an extra 30 people looking at computer screeens telling me data will win me more races, i would rather have theat money spent on people back at the factory. But, the teams choose to bring them along, so they must have made the judgment call that it was worth it.

              Putting all the money into cfd also, would mean that aero would still play the dominating part? Yes, cfd is a great technology, and is geting better all the time. But open up the rules, so instead of running 5 wind tunnels 24×7, do some cfd and some aero, but more resources are diverted else where because the marginal return on spending the money else where is greater, and it is allowed in the rules (kers, suspension etc, etc)

            3. sorry about the spelling

          2. F1 has never, is not and never will be egalitarian. If you take any team from any 4th division of any sport you can see what real life is and F1 is not part of it in the same way Seria A, the premiership and la lega are to their respective leagues. You are talking about a level of equality that not even Marx thought possible.

            1. True, a marxist F1 is not the ideal. The line of thinking is more to have the grid within a reasonable gap of each other whereby all have a certain chance of winning, albeit a very small one when you’re at the back. The outcome of the race should not be a foregone conclusion. In this respect I would say the current restrictions are working and as of next year we’ll start seeing the importance of all those people on the track, staring at computer screens. If the restrictions would not have been there, Mercedes would not have bought Brawn. Would they have continued investing in the engines? If not, would another manufacturer have stepped in? New entries all point to the costs involved. Even Ferrari needs money from Fiat in order to survive. Opening everything up will ensure that only the big teams survive and we will eventually end up in Di Montezemolo’s street: make these teams bigger to ensure a proper grid size. Would you watch 5 ferrari’s racing 5 mclarens ? Remember that without this budget idea, you would be looking at a 8 team grid. How realistic is this ?
              But one team can be better at finding sponsors or simply be more attractive to them than others, so a certain gap will always exist. The question is how big of a gap you want to see and in which area this gap will develop.
              In La Liga, at the end of the day only one of 2 teams will win the championship – unless they both screw up every ten odd years or so. The premiership at least has 4-5 teams battling it out, which makes it much more interesting.

    26. bonekrusherf1
      26th April 2010, 20:58

      WhatEhat about the fans? Why can’t we have any say to how f1 should progress, after all we are the ones that buy the tickets for the races, the merchandise from the teams, and we supply the tv ratings for the races.

      1 For one the tracks for the most part are fine except for a few where u have a long straight followed by screwy turn like turn 1 in china. Some of these tilke design tracks are like this and the cars can’t go deep into the turn to overtake then have a good enough exit. Example hairpin turn at French gp is a great place for overtaking.

      2 Bring testing in season back but have them on the thursday before Friday practice. Open the gates and sell tickets to the fans for the test session.

      3 Loose the big aero to allow clean air for following cars. Bring back more mechanical grip and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE yes I said it four times, bring back the awesome sounding V10. That engine actually sounded like the cars were going somewhere, and to hear that sound of the car accellerating, going by and taking off was and is the most excited thing I have witnessed in motorsport. I live in America and started watching f1 in 2000 when they came here to Indy and was instantly a fan just from the engine sounds alone. Now I’m a hardcore fan that can’t get enough F1. So please please bring back the v10 and let the FANS have a say in the matter, after all F1 isn’t F1 if it doesn’t have fans.

      1. yes, i loved the sound of those v10s

    27. There is no problem. F1 is just fine for me.

    28. How about specifying a maximum amount of downforce that a car is allowed to generate? Define a set of standard wind-tunnel tests that teams will have to submit their car to at the beginning of the year, and any car that has in excess of the max amount of downforce has to be modified to meet the rules. Throughout the year, as a team makes updates to the car it is up to the team to ensure that it does not exceed the regs, and if any team believes that a competitor is not playing within the rules, they can have the competitor’s car tested. If the car is within specs, they challenger pays for the testing and takes a 12 place grid drop for one car or 6 place grid drop for both cars at the next GP. If the car is not within the specs, the team running the car pays for the test and takes the drop in places instead.

      Probably a whole host of complications I haven’t thought about, just came up with it off the cuff.

      1. I think that’s a good idea minus the grid drop penalties.
        Red Bull would just make STR make the protest, McLaren or Mercedes would make Force India do it, Ferrari would lean on Sauber or STR.

        And for this to work they’d really have to open the areo regs up so that all the teams can have different solutions to the same problem otherwise it will just end up as spec areo…

      2. Impossible to police.

    29. One thing that Formula 1 needs to do, in my opinion, is be a bit more fan friendly. Red Bull’s (and other teams’) events in cities are a great idea but they’re the only major team that really does it. I would love to see teams doing stuff like that during the off season and to places that are markets ready for F1.
      Another thing that can be done is have the drivers really show their personality a bit more. I mean we see an occasional interview and that’s about it from these guys. I want to feel a personal connection with some of these drivers.

      Finally, as I am a little biased, bring F1 back to the US. A huge market is missed out and alienated. Get a track like Watkins Glen, Road America, or Laguna Seca. Sure they’ll need some fixing up but I mean come on… Bernie can share.

      1. yes, i want burnouts (unlikely now due to engine limits for the season), flag waving etc. F1 is great, but it can be a bit too precious now days. Like drivers have to click their wheel back in before they go hug them team! what a pathetic bit of red tape that is.

      2. Another thing that can be done is have the drivers really show their personality a bit more. I mean we see an occasional interview and that’s about it from these guys. I want to feel a personal connection with some of these drivers.

        I think that’s a good point but how do you encourage something like that?

    30. Rubbish Dave
      27th April 2010, 0:12

      I agree with John H. No real problem here. How many fans does the sport have? Plenty, no problem there.

      But a few further words.

      Track Design. Does really need to be opened up to more than one person (or company, really) who seems to be running short of ideas. The new portugal circuit is stunning in comparison to the new circuits on the actual calendar. Although, admittedly, not so good for overtaking judging by the GP2 races there last year.

      Runoff is an interesting problem. A simple solution would be to have an added compulsory pit stop if you ran too far off track, much in the same way that you’d need to replace a punctured tyre if you brushed a wall. But emotionally, there’s a gulf between hitting a wall, so giving yourself a penalty and Crossing a line and having stewards give you a penalty.

      The other issue worth a few words is cost. A large problem is CVC taking an awful lot of money out of the sport. (Blame Max for giving up the rights to Bernie for so long, and so little)
      But then, you’ve also got the problem of expectation. I don’t know about anyone else, but I thought Minardi et al brought an awful lot to the sport even when running so far off the pace due to having a fraction of the big teams budgets – variety being great and all. But somehow, the expectations have changed, and teams aren’t allowed to run so far off the pace without somehow being an embarrasment to the sport, and so the playing field has to be brought down – something which runs quite contrary to the spirit of grand prix racing for almost all of its life. I’m not really in favour of homogenising the whole grid- teams having different goals has never really been a bad thing. For Minardi, points were as much of a result as a win was to a Ferrari or a McLaren. And so I’m loving the new teams and their own ‘unimportant’ battles this year. They bring a lot to the sport, and I have very little time for anyone who disparages them for not really being able to realistically challenge for a win.

      1. Spot on about CVC. I’ve yet to see them invest a penny in a sport. I hold them totally accountable for the lack of HD among other things. We won’t improve F1 till they have been removed.

        1. Right indeed about CVC. They make their money by getting as much as they can out of the sport, and not by putting extra money in. In that respect, Bernie’s quest for more races outside Europe can easily be understood: all these countries pay the bill for the race and the revenue goes into Bernie’s pocket. What a nice position to be in…
          I would suggest a NHL/NBA-like series, whereby all participating teams get their share, rewarding more for behavior in the interest of the collective good (the show as a whole).

    31. Regarding Adrian Sutil’s argument: I think it’s far too simple to see the shortcomings of some of the more recent circuits to be a direct result of “too much” improved track safety.

      In my opinion, if a circuit is not exciting, interesting or challenging enough, lessening the safety features won’t help solve the problem, because it doesn’t address the issue that slow corners, chicanes and a few straights to connect them aren’t the only kind of challenge a race track could or should offer.

      There’s an intent behind this, obviously, as many of these segments are supposed to help make overtaking possible with the wake-turbulenced Grand Prix cars. The effect of that I see is that track architects have to design circuits in a way that helps skirt around the cars’ aerodynamical deficiencies.

      The priority, thus, should be to find ways to lessen the severity of these turbulence problems. Making significant progress on that would mean circuit design would no longer be, essentially, painted into a corner because of what requirements are in place. Instead of that, it would be possible to encourage track designers to be more creative, in the interest of providing a more diverse challenge for teams and drivers.

    32. inc0mmunicado
      27th April 2010, 0:38

      Ban windtunnels, CFD, 4-post rigs, driving simulators, custom engine maps in the ECU, and complicated steering wheels. These add to the cost, reduce safety (because they make cars faster), and don’t improve the show. More pitlane girls and fewer engineers! Limit real time data acquisition to a certain amount of bandwidth! Also, if F1 is going to “cost less” for the teams then my ticket to see a race should cost less too!

    33. My weekly rant.

      Aeros extraneous of the wheelbase should
      be spec.

      This way, we have sponsor area, and low
      aeros. The front and rear wings will basically
      become billboards. They may also be designed
      to be so high on drag and turbulance as to
      make chassis body-work in-effective.

      Problem solved, Now, we are on to mechanical
      grip, and passing chances and slip-streaming.

      Also, my photo should be on the side-pods of
      all cars. And, maybe, my number. And a message
      that I am single?

      Oh, and any sponsors that want this space?
      I get the dosh.

      Am I reaching?

    34. It seems that F1 teams competed for a long time on much less money with greater technical freedom than they have now… Along that line of reasoning I reject the notion that technical freedom should be equated with greater cost.

      I propose vast technical freedom with the following guidelines and limitations:
      • severely limit the race fuel allowed but open power plant and KERS technology
      • severely limit aerodynamic forces by restricting wing span and cord lengths (or by any of the other methods suggested in this forum) but open tire competition and technology
      • open drivetrain technology and chassis configuration but limit them to open wheel/open cockpit

      Assuming safety and costs aren’t negatively impacted (certainly a large assumption) these changes would ensure:
      • cutting edge technology in the realm of fuel economy and reduced emissions
      • cutting edge technology in tires and mechanical grip
      • crossover possibilities with road cars
      • better overtaking
      • better competition via opportunities for innovation

      The lack of technical innovation is the achilles heal of F1 today. There is nothing cutting edge or interesting about engine freezes, tire monopolies or ‘push to pass’ buttons.

      1. I also think freeing up a lot of the chassis, suspension, gearbox and engine parts and switching ressources away from aero development should be the way to go.

        to improve the show, the teams could then show of their developments during the season or at the end of the season and maybe supply some of it to their competitors or to 3rd parties to get back the cost for development.
        Like in football there are some teams bringing up new players and others just buying them.

    35. Here comes a wild suggestion;

      1) Divide the car into components (like engines, gearboxes, KERS, suspensions, chassis, etc.)and define standard interface and communication protocols for them.
      2) The teams and specialized companies will be free to develop the components, but they will be obliged to sell them to any other team.

      The biggest advantage will be that teams like McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and RB, will still spend fortunes to develop their cars, but, it would be much easier for teams like Williams, Force India, Renault etc. to build a competitive car.

      Your computer has this kind of multiple component standard communication and interface protocols scheme. And they are getting better and cheaper each year. And if needed, protocols and interface can also be upgraded from time to time.

      Of course, some of parts, like aerodynamics, will be let for the teams. The last thing I want to see is a f1 where all cars look the same.

      1. Kind of like open source F1?

    36. It’s a bad idea to ignore circuit safety because that’s the reason I think there hasn’t been any driver causalities in about 16 years but I think what they can do is to reduce cost & then improve the show.That doesn’t meant that they will put economical drive on Sunday but they needs to use technology like KERS if they are available at a low cost.

    37. Im pretty happy with the circuits, tighten up some of the new street circuits,more bumps,more walls,more like concrete canyons that punish errors.Safety is an interesting question,Im a little concerned that the more time go’s by without fatalilaty that the closer it gets.

    38. The show part can be improved immensely without a lot of extra cost by:
      1. improving TV coverage to show all the action.
      2. improve the accesibility of footage over the internet. Why not show all fastest qualifying laps and offer views from the cockpit of (for example) a specific driver etc. for download.
      3. Give fans the possibility to post their own pictures and video coverage from the race on internet. Maybe have them “legalize” it through the FIA or FOM first if it needs be.

      4. Support teams to do more actions like the Red Bull runs or the Renault road show. This is a great way to show what F1 offers.

      5. test lowering race tickets to get more people to the track, especially with tracks that lack visitors (most new tracks).
      6. Improve the show with more drivers etc. present and doing some presentation runs during the race weekend and have them do some fun tricks with the cars after the race.

    39. Oh and let the FOM / FOTA or who ever organize fan visits to team bases a lot more. Especially the smaller teams. Just make it part of some contest for registered fans or something.
      Their bases might not be as impressive as visiting Ferrari in Modena or the McLaren Tech Center, but i would love a chance to get into STR, Lotus, Virgin, Force India facilities and look at how they work.

    40. I think the rule making has to be more focussed on stability as well. This will save enormous amounts of money.
      Let the FIA / FOTA and FOM discuss an engine formula (best with more freedom to choose a configuration not a spec engine), tyre construction and size and aero limits/definition and some areas of development inside the defined framework for say 2012/2013.
      Do not change the technical rules until then so teams can make a car and only update it instead of building completely new cars each year.
      After bringing in the new rules, let them stand for 4 years and bring a rule update in only after that time has passed.
      No more knee jerk actions, but evolution after discussion with all involved.

    41. There are 2 types of mistaked made in F1. 1 made by driver and other by the manufacturer( in making a car ).
      The drivers make mistake when they drive and the manufacturers make when they make the car. ( IT could be in terms of bad engine , bad aero or anything whihc is mechanical).
      What FIA should do is to penalise teams ( this includes everyone in that team) when there is a driver mistake (This could be done by reducing the run-off area so that if a driver makes a mistake , he cant come bak and race again) and to overlook when its a manufacturer mistake(like avoiding the engine , gearbox penalty). Give more freedom to these people.

    42. Get rid of hockemhiem,it use to be good,unless they they just race straight up to the stadium,cut out that stupid section between the hairpin and the stadium but its pretty much useless nowadays,just race at nurberg. They need to have a lot less Bahrain style of races,its pretty obvious that a lot people don,t like that sort of thing,where as the other races u could say to someone, HEY CHECK THIS OUT!u cant really do that with bahrain,a few bahrain,s are ok but

    43. Haggis Hunter
      27th April 2010, 9:56

      why dont they give a bonus point or points to the person who qualifys 1st, then reverse the grid (or first half of the grid). to me that would certainly help

      1. I think that won’t be a good idea for giving point to the guy who will be P1 on Saturday.

      2. That’s not possible if it’s only a point for the pole setter. Then, say, Kubica, would know he can’t get pole, so he wouldn’t set a lap time and would be last, thus starting from pole.

    44. Let’s start with the basic improvements:
      F1 in HDTV (1080).
      Ban on in-race advertisements.
      Constant position overview on screen (on the far left so it won’t show on old fashion tv sets).
      Direct radio contact instead of FIA/FOM filtered a few minutes behind.

      You get the picture: Focus on TV broadcast quality. Hands off the racing until you get at least the basics right.

      1. BeyondThePale
        27th April 2010, 10:47

        Sure, we all hate the in-race ads, but is it realistic to ban them? I don’t think so, unless you are watching the race in pay-per-view.

    45. The changes I would like to see which I think can pass the three-dimensional test are getting rid of the requirement to use both types of tyre during the race and hence the compulsory pit stop, make it so it is not so easy for the soft tyre to last so long and the old problem of making it so the cars can follow each other more closely.

      With regard to safety at the circuit, I don’t think the problem is that tracks are too safe but that mistakes are not punished.

      An example is that in recent years we have seen tarmac run-off replacing gravel traps. It used to be that if you went off track you lost a lot more time and there was more of a chance that the car would be damaged, now with tarmac run-off areas you will probably only loose a place if someone is following quite close behind.

    46. I think there is a 4th dimension as well, which is the speed of F1 cars.

      Everyone will agree that we need longer braking distances, harder tyres and less downforce etc, but remember F1 has remain fastest(around a lap) form of motorsport as well.

      1. Again, I’d consider that part of the show, speed is essential to the spectacle of F1.

        1. I agree that speed is an essential part of the show, and a car that is incredibly quick around a track with little help from aero would still be really cool to see.

    47. Is there a way to accurately measure the amount of turbulence left by an F1 car?

      The FIA could restrict the amount of turbulence generated at the back of the car and open up the technical restrictions.

      1. if that were possible, i’m not sure if it is or not to a greater enough detail and accuracy to base rules off, then i would like to see something like this tried.

    48. down force cap, tested by the fia at a certain speed, wind tunnel…………..

    49. some extra points for fastest lap………..?

    50. Please, if there is anything we can see from the current season, it is that we do NOT have to improve the show. it is fine the way it is.

      1. INDEED!……….

    51. I have an idea that would work for all three problems (the show, cost, safety) but would be seen with some resistance. Standardization of some sort should be considered for certain parts. Maybe standardize the wings the teams use, cutting down on the reliance on aero, which would increase overtaking and allow for closer following. A standardized wing saves cost by being massed produced and solves safety as it allows the F1 governing body control over how much down-force it produces, making races potentially more exciting. Even if safety isn’t as much of an issue it will lead to closer racing and fewer double digit victory margins. And the wing is just an example of one way to go at it. I wouldn’t want teams to have their whole cars standardized (and the wing is just an example i’m using here, it could be anything) but by standardizing the wing, something that each team has pretty much maxed out, will allow spending to flow to new and revolutionary things like KERS.

    52. in temrs of my earlier comment about making engines smaller… FIA and Fota can agree to use existing engine block designs, and improving on them… they all have 4 pot engines made for production they can use… Ferrari has got Fiat’s latest decent 4 pot… Renault has got a lot of choice, same goes for Mercedes… and the rest can borrow from other manufacturers… or buy their engines from the the four manufacturers.

      such solutions will greatly improve the relativeness of the sport to production road cars without much affecting cost and safety… same goes for tyre design, brakes etc….

      F1 should always be the cutting edge of technology… but as we enter a new age, perhaps we should change our perceptions a bit.. F1 can still be at the cutting edge… but from a different angle…

      it can be the ultimate formula for already existing solutions…

      engines, use a standard 4-pot block, but the anciliaries and components be developed to produce the maximum amount of power possible with the least amount of fuel burned and emissions. brakes should be better more developed designs of what you might find on sports cars, even if they are very expensive sports cars…

      suspension components and safety solution should also find their way…

      and for those solution that do hinder costs, once they are made to be shared with a sports car, even if it is to be a limited production one, the costs would be brought down…

      As for aerodynamics, once the other variables are exploited towards performance, cost and fuel economy Aero will follow. and since too much aero is not good for efficiency, it shouldnt be a problem in terms of Cost to limit it, and the resulting less downforce will make cars more of a handful and spice up the show

    53. And, on a different tack, why not allow the teams to nominate their own choice of rubber compound which they believe will work best on their car on a per-driver and per-race basis?
      That way no-one will know what rubber a team is using until they turn up at the track and the teams would have total responsibility for their cars’ performance instead of making the best of it with the tyre manufacturer’s nominated compound.

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