F1 Fanatic round-up: 29/4/2010

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Today I’m at Silverstone to get a first-hand look at the changes made to the circuit for this year’s Grand Prix. Stay tuned for more from the track and keep an eye out for updates from me on Twitter.

If there’s anything you’d like to know about the changes to the track for this year, or the further revisions planned for 2010, post your questions in the comments and I’ll read them before I get to the track.

The next instalment of the “Making F1 Better” series will be up tomorrow. Here’s today’s round-up:


What F1’s future means for the car you drive (BBC)

“As far as F1 is concerned, if the sport can shed its image of profligacy with resources – in this case, fuel and money – while embracing and helping to develop and refine road-relevant, future technologies, new manufacturers could be attracted into the sport. My sources tell me, for example, that Volkswagen and Hyundai – neither of whom have ever been involved in F1 – have had talks about entering the sport on that basis.”

John Booth talks about Virgin’s F1 baptism (GrandPrix)

On the budget cap not happening: “It’s a bit disappointing although I don’t think anybody really expected that to happen. But there does seem to be a general realisation from the established teams, with the possible exception of Ferrari, that it was unsustainable as it was. There’s now only one genuine manufacturer in F1 as far as I can see and everything has to be more tightly controlled to see if we can make some changes and drive down costs. And I do genuinely think that’s the intention. There’s a definite sense of people trying to make it realistic again.”

Why we wish IndyCar would come to Britain (Brits on Pole)

“To our minds there?s one outstanding venue that should be hosting an IndyCar race in Britain, and that?s the same one that hosted it twice before. We want to see IndyCars on the full oval at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, where Tony Kanaan still holds the lap record. No messing about with road courses or street courses. If IndyCars are going to come, let?s do this in style.”

Mercedes MGP W01 ?ǣ Spanish update predictions (Scarbs)

“According to the informed rumours, Mercedes will opt for a blend of front suspension changes mated to a shorter gearbox. In the process extending the wheelbase. Many in the media have highlighted the changes as a wheelbase change as the solution to the balance problem, but the extended wheel base is largely a function of the shifting the axles. It is not in itself the primary solution to their problems.”

The F10’s steering wheel (Ferrari)

Ferrari explain the F10’s steering wheel in this video.

The Secret Life of Nico Hulkenberg (F1.com)

“Q: Which film makes you cry? NH: ?Marley & Me?, I think.” Because it’s so bad, presumably.

Comment of the day

There were lots of interesting explanations for Williliams ‘fall from grace yesterday. Antonyob blamed the transition from Patrick Head to Sam Michael and Dougal cited ever-rising budgets.

But Lustigson’s point about the change in the tyre rules late in 2003 particularly struck a chord with me – would they have lost BMW so soon if they’d won that year?:

Juan Pablo Montoya was only a point adrift from Michael Schumacher with three Grands Prix before the end of the season, while the team actually lead the constructors? standings with as little as two races still to go.

Ironically, what helped them develop Williams? speed in the early days of their relationship with BMW, arguably cost them either of the Formula One titles: Michelin?s tyres of which the front versions were deemed too wide by the FIA at 75% of the season.

Site updates

The 2010 F1 statistics page has been updated.

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

The ninth and last F1 race at Zolder was held on this day in 1984. The track, forever remembered as the place where Gilles Villeneuve lost his life in 1982, was dropped to make way for the revised Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which has remained on the calendar more or less ever since.

Michele Alboreto won the last race at Zolder driving for Ferrari. The circuit is still in use and held the Masters of Formula Three race in 2007 and 2008 before the event returned to Zandvoort in The Netherlands.

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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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53 comments on “F1 Fanatic round-up: 29/4/2010”

  1. I like how the interview ends with “Hulk getting angry” hahahaha!

  2. What was that song, I hate Mondays?, well, I hate ovals.

    1. But I like hubcaps :)

    2. there can be some great racing on ovals, i don’t mind them.

  3. You know you sometimes buy some sort of training equipment and you honestly think that you will use it and get fitter and fitter, and then it’s tucked away in the far corner of your closet.

    Ha. Stay away from the shopping channels, Nico!

  4. The GT1 World Championship will be using the new Silverstone layout for their round this weekend, so for those who have access to televisual coverage (unlike me :( ), tune in and see some great racing on the new circuit.

    1. Magnificent Geoffrey
      29th April 2010, 6:41

      I take it you’ll have internet access during the weekend, though? If so, they are streaming the international TV feed live on the GT1 web site. I watched the first race in Abu Dhabi on the telly and because Race 2 was on far too late for me over here I watched the full thing on their site the following day – utterly fantastic I thought. Exactly the sort of thing F1 should have had for years by now…


      1. That is a good way to go. The Formula1.com website put the race highlights of China on only yesterday.

      2. cool. I knew they put Race 2 on the website for viewing afterwards, but didn’t know it was streamed live.

  5. I think in the near future we may see that more manufacturer returning in F1.The likes if Volkswagen and Hyundai have been rumors for quite sometime, if Mercedes succeeds then I think more cars will follow their footstep.

  6. Harry Ball Ox
    29th April 2010, 2:15

    I’d like to know, specifically, what happened to the track, if anything, in the last few weeks allowing Damon Hill to go from loathing the track to loving it.

    Or is it simply a matter of politics withing the BRDC whereas he had to find a way to retrack his previous statements without retracking them.

    1. I noticed that as well. Maybe he wanted to get the point of having to do it with only limited resources over.
      Now he has to promote what they made of it and it is not done to tell everybody
      “if you would have given us a load of money, then the track would be fabulous, but what we have here is not to bad”
      so he just presents its positives.

  7. According to the informed rumours, Mercedes will opt for a blend of front suspension changes mated to a shorter gearbox. In the process extending the wheelbase. Many in the media have highlighted the changes as a wheelbase change as the solution to the balance problem, but the extended wheel base is largely a function of the shifting the axles. It is not in itself the primary solution to their problems

    My head hurts.

    Didn’t Indy run on the Rockingham oval quite a few years back? It would be nice to have them back.

  8. If Indycar goes to Britain, I want to see them run a road-course, frankly. We have plenty of oval venues over here in the states, let’s see them have a go at something more unique…

    1. If they came here it would interesting to see them at Silverstone, where comparisons can be made to F1.

      1. UneedAFinn2Win
        29th April 2010, 12:42

        They were about 7 seconds slower than f1 in 2006, and they still use the same car, so just watch the gp2 race instead :)

    2. It sure would be nice to see them at Silverstone, just to compare their speed and the whole event with F1.
      But i would like to see them on the Rockingham speedway. Let Indycar show where it stands compared to 2001-2 and offer a completely different experience than F1 or junior formula.

      1. Push the Button
        29th April 2010, 13:33

        Exactly, Indycar in the UK is not for the European Emigrants over in America but ultimately for the British and other nationalities in the UK.

        Therefore Indycar should show what it does best and is well known for… racing on ovals, and at Rockingham… as said before we have enough circuit racing over here, I can just watch GP2. We could compare Indycar and F1 times at Silverstone, but would it tell us anything we don’t already know? No. Does it make Indycar less attractive? No. Is it like comparing apples and pears? Yes.

        ps. Apologies for the first paragraph, I just have a real issue with the European genocide of Native Americans.

    3. I watched Champ car twice at Rockingham and it was fantastic. However, I personally believe that they should have made the track longer. The straights between turn 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 should be much longer.
      What you get is the cars running almost a constant circle with not enough space, or time, for a pass. The only pass point is into turn 1 where you have to slow up the most.

      The only passing seemed to happen as the pit crews raced each other when a yellow came out.

      So, as much as it was an awesome spectacle, maybe a road course would be better.

      The short track suited the NASCAR equivalent support race better.

  9. i never had a problem with dr. mario, but something about bmw feels pretty gutless to me. the way they quit while leading the championship, and the way they jerk around williams and sauber, and the exodus of the manufacturers. meh, kick ’em when they’re down i guess

    1. Push the Button
      29th April 2010, 13:38

      I agree with your sentiments here. I think the moustachiod man did the best job he could within the shackles of the board, but ultimately the board were cutthroat. If my memory serves me right BMW is still at the top very much a family run company and I’ve seen in the past too many bad reports about the selfish decisions and desires of the patriarch.

  10. Refuelling may return as it is relevant to the average motorist. Uh-Huh. What drivel. What nonsense. Windshield wipers are relevant to the average motorist, too, but I don’t suppose we will see them on F1 cars anytime soon.

    F1 needs to remember that sport is equal to or greater than the importance of motor, in the word motorsport.

    What we appear to have here is a case of the tail wagging the dog.

    Green technologies and road relevance are politically correct ways that F1 feels it can redeem it’s image. Nonsense. Formula 1 became popular as a rich man’s sport and got along just fine for 50 years with that image, growing a worldwide fan base. It’s only the last decade that I’ve heard a waterfall of complaints, as Mosley’s FiA well and truly mucked about with F1.

    The best way to redeem it’s image is to cut the nonsense and get on with providing a platform for the best racing cars driven by the best racing drivers, as it once did. F1 should remember that F1 bills itself as the “pinnacle of motorsport”. So let it be. It doesn’t need to be the pinnale of technology/computer-control developement. After all, as I’ve asked many times, do you want a racing car or a fighter jet?

    F1 has fallen into delusions that it is, or should be, a leader in developing technologies for Joe Public. Nonsense. The manufacturers can develope things quite nicely on their own in their own R&D facilities, something which Honda, BMW and Toyota are doing just now, without pumping hundreds of millions into F1 each year.

    The KERS fiasco of 2009 is a prime example. The F1 KERS setup had little to no relevance to road technology, being quite different from the energy recovery and storage systems used in hybrid and full-electric cars. Besides, Honda had developed and begun been selling the ‘Hybrid’ some years before KERS was ever introduced to F1. KERS was a lame, and extremely costly, attempt to “look green”.

    Now the talk of going to small turbo engines, again with that term “road relevance” cropping up. There already are small displacement variable vane turbo cars being sold in showrooms. How is it that F1 going to this formula would be beneficial to developing road technology? The technology already exists.

    Formula 1 needs to concentrate on being the best form of motorsport. It’s a sport, not a R&D facility. Motorsport is by definition there to provide sport entertainment, not to campaign for the next Nobel Prize for clean road technology. Let the manufacturers do that in their labs, for road cars. If F1 wishes to use various technologies, fine, go with it. As long as it improves the racing.

    For my part, they could do away with semi-auto gearboxes and put a clutch and shifter back in the cars, limit the aero to about 25% of what it is now, maintain the ban on electronic driver aids(include the fuel mapping for race launch in this ban, please)and allow the wide rear tires again. Yes, that’s ancient history, and yes, I’m an old fossil. But some of F1’s best racing was in the days when grip and driver ability were more important than whose multi-million dollar computer simulations and controls could pilot the car best.

    F1 needs to remember who brung them to the dance, and what made F1 the pinnacle of motorsport. Redefining the direction of F1 to more closing follow it’s origins is said by some to be regression. I say it is progression. F1 has tried to be too many things already, when concentrating on the racing is what is sure to keep F1 alive for generations to come.

    1. The refuelling part made me sit up as well. Who has the experience of getting to a gas station, having pumped 100 litres of gasoline in the car by 3 guys and then racing away.

      Or would they have the driver get out of the car, fill it up, buy a packet of gums or some coffee and drive on?

      I do think the article rightly states that it is bogus to promote F1 as a green sport. This is racing and it should stay racing with the best cars and best drivers. Efficiency while having great power is part of it and can be presented as a selling point. Refuelling is not.

  11. The BBC article on engines is a nice read.

    I think making it 1.6 or 1.8 engines makes it sound less of a clio cup thing (even cars like VW Passat are starting to run on 1.4 l engines now) than 1.5 litres, but the 1.5 litres have some nostalgia from the Turbo area in F1.

    Nico sounds lika an ordinary nice guy there. He would probably like Williams getting closer with VW to have some more VW cars to try. How bad to sometimes drink a Coke!

  12. I went to Rockingham last weekend, the place looks like a building site without the builders (exactly like a building site then). I’m not sure what kind of standard Indycar demand of their circuits, although I imagine it’s somewhat more lax than F1, but the place left me somewhat underwhelmed, and it seemed packed even with less than half the stands full.

    Which leads me to my next concern, how many people here would actually go to an Indycar race? I think it would end up being like the Istanbul or Shanghai of Indycar.

    The oval is quite nice though, would probably need a little work doing to it but the views are great.

  13. BBC 1 is interviewing Damon Hill about “new” silverstone within the next ten mins.

  14. HounslowBusGarage
    29th April 2010, 8:35

    Nothing to do with any of the above, but here’s a link to a kerfuffle about the Marlboro branding on the Ferraris.

    1. Interesting article. The question is if the bar code livery actually matches with the Marlboro brand bar code.

      1. It does not really have to be. I hope somebody takes this to court (why not Philip Morris competitors), as everybody following F1 longer knows that the barcode stands for Marlboro, so the advertizing works.

        F1 would be better of without it, and the extra money Ferrari is getting will be less needed with budgets going down in the next seasons.

        1. Is it just me who thinks it’s stupid how long it’s taken for someone to actually complain?
          Isn’t it going soon anyway or the Malboro in the Ferrari title is?
          If there’s a loophole then good on Ferrari for finding a way around it although I would prefer it is loopholes were closed up so it was the same rules for everyone as that’s only fair. However, I still don’t see the point in banning cig ads when other things are acceptable. I’m a non-smoker and would never dare take up the habit but I still don’t see the point but if it’s the rules then everyone should play by them.

          1. I agree, that if it has taken them more than three years to complain, then the people whinging are just acting like fools.

    2. But just about everything for sale has a barcode on it! What next? No more piano lessons for the kids?

      It would be more understandable to attack the full name of the team if one wanted to make an issue of Marlboro sponsorship.

    3. What a Marlboro pack looks like in Europe:


      1. Well if anyone doesn’t like the big warnings on cigarette packs in the UK, the Australian Government want tobacco firms to drop all colour and branding logos from cigarette packs.


    4. Great, more of this nonsense.

      If I were a smoker, I would probably have tried Malboros by now, because of seeing them on Ferraris. But I’m not a smoker, so I’ve never had any inclination to.

      I do drink, but have never bought Johnnie Walker on a whim, despite McLaren sponsoring them.

      Personally I find it highly insulting that these doctors and politicians have decided that I will become a drooling slave to companies because of sponsorship. And if smoking, why not drinks, or the robbing financial institutions, or electrical companies whose products supposedly make us stupid by spending all our time on them instead of reading?

      If tobacco is to be kept out of F1, at least say it’s because we don’t want F1 associated with something as unhealthy as smoking. Don’t act like we’re being saved from evil; it’s condescending at best.

      /morning rant!

      1. So I’m an ex-smoker of nearly a month now, and an entirley unrepentant drinker. An I have to say Marlboro are overpriced rubbish. Still, it’s all a matter of taste but I wonder if my supporting of McLaren means those ads have the opposite desired effect on me? :0

        Obviously not, only the very easily swayed will watch F1 then start smoking. Theres no fags in the paddock, none of the drivers smoke, none of the team bosses smoke, because it’s bad for you. If there was a smoking role model, things would be worse. But still freedom of choice, an I still don’t understand the mindset if someone who looks upon a name upon a car, an feels they must buy.

        While I admit that we’re probably better off without tobaco sponsership, I agree with Icthyes, evil has not been abolished.

  15. hi,

    when silverstone tickets came on sale there were rumours of this rack change and this made me question if i should sit at abbey or farm grandstand because of the possible changes i thought abbey was the better option from your visit can you tell me how the track changes effect the spectator viewing from these areas, thanks

  16. Re KERS making a comeback, the interesting part for tactics and strategy is using the stored energy by “re-applying it to either boost power OR cut fuel consumption during acceleration”.

  17. What I’d like to see is a side-by-side comparison between the old and new track layouts. Perhaps have the ability to overlay one on top of the other. It’s all well and good to tell us at which corners the track has changed and so on, but not all of us know every corner by name: The only corners I can name belong to Spa, for example.

    1. I saw this somewhere else yesterday. I am not completely sure Schumacher is doing the wrong thing by trying.
      But from what i have seen up to now does show he is not as good as he was at his prime and certainly does not have that killer instinct driving him forward to wins.

  18. This is interesting too, about KERS:

    I understood, that both the Renault and Ferrari systems were done in cooperation with Magneti Marelli. Renaults was not effective enough (or the packaging in the car) and Ferraris system was a handfull for drivers under braking (experienced by Fisi after jumping in the Ferrari last year), but it was a lot better than the Renault had.

    So both are somewhat of a worse package than the McLaren/Mercedes KERS. I wonder how much would they want for their system (supplied with the engines i suppose)

  19. If the cars become more efficient and one day need less than 100kg of fuel, would refuelling be needed by the teams anyway? If a refuelling stop took longer than the time saved by not having the fuel onboard, perhaps it would become obsolete. Then again, we have a similar situation with tyres this season. Knowing FOM, we might eventually have one mandatory refuelling stop, in a desperate attempt to “improve the show”.

    1. A lot of the “improve the show” nonsense is actually coming from FOTA. But, I think teams should be given the freedom to design their own engine solutions. Some will require refuelling, others won’t. That way we will see real differences in strategy and (hopefully) more interest!

  20. Latest news about Stefan GP. A sad story indeed, this even thrumps the not so good saga of USF1 (are they bidding for 2011?).


      1. Interesting stuff. If Pitpass are accurate (which they aren’t always), then it confirms the suspicions I always had about Stefan GP – namely, that most of their statements were essentially lies. I hope some of the other potential entrants for 2011 are more competent!

    1. That is also a very interesting link!

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      29th April 2010, 12:55

      That’s a very strange story, isn’t it? Is he just a fantasist or is there anything of substance behind the dreams?
      AMCO Corporation has a website and apparently the company has projects, but it’s difficult to tell whether the company is tangible or not.

      1. I seem to remember reading an article (maybe on F1 Technical?) that suggested that, when contacted, the big companies supposedly working with AMCO on some of these projects had never heard of them.

  21. Nee silverstone is looking awesome..

    And slightly off-topic: Keith, compliments on your mobile site!! ;-)

  22. A while back when it was reported that Silverstone had lost the F1 GP to Donnington, I felt then and still do now that Silverstone should be talking nicely to Indy Car to host a race in the UK. They are going to need to generate several revenue streams to pay for the upgrades and various hosting fees for various events and what better series to have than this. (Sadly I could not get to read the article on the Indy Car issue as the link is broken on the original site as well)

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