Webber wants more challenging tracks

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In today’s round-up: Mark Webber endorses Jackie Stewart’s view that modern F1 tracks don’t punish drivers’ mistakes.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Mark Webber on Twitter

“Jackie Stewart [is] spot on today re[garding] track designs. Tilke’s best track [is] Sepang.” Stewart had cited the example of Webber being unable to pass Fernando Alonso at Abu Dhabi despite the Ferrari driver going off four times.

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Formula One’s Williams races to German float (The Daily Telegraph)

“Baader Bank, the joint lead manager and local bookrunner in the flotation of Williams Grand Prix Holdings, said enough orders had been taken for full subscription.”

McLaren Formula One group says it has no plans for flotation (The Guardian)

“Myers said McLaren’s strategy ‘is to remain as a private company in the ownership of a small number of focused shareholders, since we believe that best suits our business model’.”

Getting a grip (McLaren)

“The proliferation of aerofoils in 1968 set many designers thinking in terms of developing four-wheel-drive systems for the following year to generate even more grip. McLaren joined Lotus, Matra and Cosworth in building 4WD machines, but the McLaren M9A only raced once, in the 1969 British GP at Silverstone where rising star Derek Bell was entrusted with the driving. It was not a success.”

Lotus ‘must be ready to act on KERS’ (Autosport)

Heikki Kovalainen: “The decision was made to put more resources in the aerodynamics of the car, rather than on KERS. Of course as a driver I favour KERS, I’d rather have it because in a racing situation it’s very important, and it’s probably about 0.3 seconds in pure lap-time as well. But the team decided it was more important to get the aerodynamics right, and add the KERS later on.”

The cat that got the dream: Nicole Scherzinger says goodbye to the Dolls (The Daily Mail)

“I don?t understand everything but Lewis [Hamilton] explains a lot and for the most part it just blows my mind, it?s like watching astronauts or scientists. Lewis has to be so focused. There are only 22 or 23 people in the world who are able to do what he does, so obviously he has to be mentally strong.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

A portion of Tinakori Road’s thoughts on “The end of the pursuit of speed“:

After seeing Warwick brown?s Lola rolled into a ball at Surfer?s Paradise in 1973, I appreciate the safety of the present days? race cars and all the effort and rules that have brought that about.

Having made an error and going off at turn four at Laguna Seca and hitting the barrier straight on at over 120mph, I will always appreciate the modern technology that allowed me to drive home that day (tyres don?t work any better on dirt than they do on grass, at that speed. You can turn the wheel but your direction doesn?t).

All that being said, I have come to see motor racing as an endeavour that definitely has limits in nature. One of those limits is peak oil. It saddens me but since we are bumping up to that limit, I don?t see how F1, or even motor racing itself, can continue on into the indefinite future.

At some point, it will have to stop if we continue to use fossil fuel and don?t change over to something else. And if it is not peak oil, then climate change will certainly dampen the enthusiasm for motor racing when people are starving.

My humble proposal is that F1 leads the way and changes to using hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source. Yes, electric motors don?t make the ground rumble and we could even burn it instead of using fuel cells, but we might be able to see some motor racing competition down the road, 30 or 40 years from now.
Tinakori Road

From the forum

Grace makes some alterations to the Williams F33 livery.

Site updates

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The revised Features and Information menus bring a wealth of F1 Fanatic content in reach within a couple of clicks.

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Red Bull and Infiniti

Part of yesterday was taken up with the rather messy breaking of the Red Bull/Infiniti story.

Yesterday’s round-up originally included a link to BBC’s take on the story, which reported that Red Bull’s Renault engines were to be branded Infiniti. I later received an email from Joe Saward asking if I would credit him as the originator of the story, which I did.

Then Infiniti’s PR people criticised the BBC for their story and it later turned out the engine re-branding aspect was incorrect.

So, to prevent further confusion, the title of yesterday’s round-up has been changed. You can read the Red Bull/Infiniti story here.

The confusion is regrettable and could have been avoided had they simply issued a press release instead of selectively brief a small number of people and attempting to embargo the story for a day.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jose Arellano!

On this day in F1

A Repco-engined F1 car started a race for the last time on this day in 1969 at Kyalami in South Africa.

Just three years earlier Jack Brabham had won the world championship driving a Brabham-Repco.

But he saw which way the wind was blowing and at the first race of 1969 both of his cars were running Ford Cosworth DFVs. Two privately-entered Brabhams had Repco engines, but after that race they were never seen again in Formula 1.

Image ?? Renault/LAT

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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64 comments on “Webber wants more challenging tracks”

  1. The tracks are less challenging mainly because of the overly restrictve regulation on track design (not even talking safety). Mistakes must be punished, accidents must be prevented. Whoever thoinks that you only only have one is wrong. 2-3m grass verge to punish small offs, tarmac and tecpro behind to ensure safety during large offs.

    Obviously the fastest corners will have all tarmac run off, but not every corner needs it – especially not a slow corner closely preceded by a slow corner.

    1. I think the whole story is coming from the wrong angle. Of course mistakes have to be punished, I guess everyone agrees on that. The point Stewart is making on the other hand is somewhat weird. Alonso could stay on track if he wants to, in the situation he was in I believe he just didn’t care about anything anymore, had Webber come past or not, he was driving all over the place anyway. Furthermore, yes, mistakes need to be punished, but that doesn’t enhance anything, it just makes things normal again. Overtaking because someone made a mistake isn’t the ‘skill’ people want to see, overtaking due to a great manoeuvre is.

      (I just reread what I wrote and .. well .. its late, but maybe someone gets what I want to say.)

      1. Alonso, as well as quite a few drivers at Abu Dhabi, was simply going very wide out of the last corner: there was some kind of depression in the surface (like a drain or something) but aside from that, there was nothing to actually slow them down for leaving the track, which meant that if anything they gained time from what theoretically lost them time.

        They need to find a way to punish drivers for small mistakes as well as big ones: we all quite enjoy huge crashes (as long as the driver is safe) but they also need to make sure that if a driver goes off by just a little bit, he is punished because he looses enough time to make it matter.

      2. Overtaking because someone made a mistake isn’t the ‘skill’ people want to see, overtaking due to a great manoeuvre is.

        But this isn’t necessarily just about overtaking. Personally, I like to see the drivers on the limit now and again like at Monaco, whereby pushing just a little bit too much can result in a DOF.

        These days the ‘limits’ are not really black and white due to the massive run off areas.

        Bringing back gravel traps would be my favoured option for most tilke tracks – yes I know the cars roll in them but in terms of safety, rolling a car isn’t as dangerous as it once was due to the strength of the cell.

    2. I believe Jackie Stewart and Mark Webber make good points about punishing a driver; unfortunately a lot of people have taken the comments the wrong way, and think punish means, injure or hurt. I’m sure that is not what Jackie Steward means (considering he campaigned so long and hard to improve safety). I am sure Jackie Stewart means penalise a driver time wise, and position wise.

      With safety so important runoff areas are unavoidable, and there is no doubt that they have seriously improved the safety of motor racing circuits. To the people questioning the size of runoff areas they are calculated using a simulation based on research undertaken by incredibly smart people such Peter Wright at the FIA. Having previously read some of the research papers on the matter the theory seems to be pretty well thought out.

      The problem with these runoff areas is they kind of turn a track into a car park. If you look back at old races (even circuits like Monaco), part of the excitement was watching a driver on a challenging piece of road, push his car to the limit, knowing that if he messed up, he was in the wall (if there was one), or in the bushes. Problem with that was a lot of drivers died or were seriously hurt. I think I can safely say no one wants anyone to die or even be hurt.

      So the problem is; it’s more exciting if it is dangerous, but dangerous isn’t safe. So maybe the FIA need to develop a way to make it look dangerous, while actually being safe. Without undertaking any research, a concept that I think would achieve the “look dangerous, be safe” solution is to have some sort of soft barrier on the edge of the track that when a car hits it, the barrier bends down and a car crosses over it into the larger runoff area. Once the car has crossed over the soft barrier, the soft barrier flicks back up into place, effectively locking the car into the runoff area, until track marshals are able to temporarily release the soft barrier allowing the errant driver back on the circuit (maybe there would even be an opening in the soft barrier at the end of the runoff area, and the marshals could hold a driver there to serve a pre-defined time penalty. This would add excitement for the fans, keep circuits safe, and also punish a driver, without physically harming them. I would imagine that such as system would be able be retrofitted to existing circuits.

  2. I later received an email from Joe Saward asking if I would credit him as the originator of the story, which I did.

    Did he ask you to sign up for GP+ in his email too?!

    1. LOL!

      Keith hasn’t earned the right yet.

      1. But Keith has the advantage of having his own blog to comment on ;-)

        Then again, good Keith changed it to rightly crediting Saward.

        So in the end, Red Bull and Infiniti messed us all up. Sending some press info out to a few people but telling them to keep it secret for a whole day.
        Then changing tune and telling everyone off, only to announce a slightly changed deal with a “technological partnership” whatever that might mean.

    2. Mouse_Nightshirt
      1st March 2011, 7:26

      OK, so Joe “exclusively predicted” and wrote the original story, which the BBC picked up and ran.

      Then Infinity deny the branding exercise and criticise the BBC for a story they picked up off somewhere else?

      Combination of oddness from everyone here I think. That, and no-one actually being allowed to point out these things for fear of being labelled awkward and incendiary…

      1. That’s new media campainging. Send out a message a day early, but tell them to keep it secret (with a bit of uncertainty in the details, to be able to say they are wrong). Then deny the message and later confirm it was more or less accurate.

        Gets a load of coverage for only small effort. Look at the bad photoshop on those images, they could have done a lot better.

        1. Sush Meerkat
          1st March 2011, 9:02

          Gets a load of coverage for only small effort. Look at the bad photoshop on those images, they could have done a lot better.

          I thought the same thing, they could have tried a bit more, maybe next time they should get Grace to do it for them, she managed to make this years Williams look sexy.

      2. Maybe Joe deliberately concocted a plausible, but false story, in order to see who picked it up and ran with it? He does get frustrated with people who plagiarise stories without bothering to fact-check, especially these aggregator sites.

        Or maybe I’m giving Joe a Machiavellian streak that he doesn’t have. Who knows?

  3. I meant to post it at the time but Tinakori Road`s comment will probably be `comment of the year`, perhaps a competition for the end of the year Keith.

  4. I couldn’t agree more Tinakori! This is coming from a fellow road racer and track instructor. As much as our sport wouldn’t be the same with alterative fuels/drivelines being used, it’s A LOT better than no racing at all! F1 NEEDS to be a leading force for change.

  5. Get Tilke out of the office & put people who have redesigned the Silverstone.

    1. Populous – formerly HOK?
      HOK – formerly Populous?

      The same company who designed the Olympic ane Emirates Stadiums in London.

      1. Well the Olympic stadium is a bit of a joke but that’s mainly due to the “legacy” and the Emirates Stadium came in on time and on budget. Unlike the similarly-heralded stadium in Wembely…

  6. spot on today re track designs

    i don’t understand this lingo. does ‘re’ mean regarding?!

    on the COTD, its all good and well having a green f1 but do the majority of people really look to F1 when deciding what car they buy? f1 is a bloomin sport, and i don’t believe it should be used to drive eco friendly agendas. i’m a racing fan, not an environmentalist.

    1. if the cars are going just as fast, just using new technologies to get them there, would you not be a fan of that?

      And people dont buy cars based on F1, but the manufactures’ will use the technology they gain now, in their own production cars 5 to 10 years down the line.
      That is why the new engine regs of 2013 are so important, the projected average car by 2020 will have a small displacement forced induction, hybrid engine.

      What better place for all the world’s engine manufacturers to build and development their engines of the future.

      In my eyes way more exciting than technology that is decades old.

      1. I agree. Wonderfull COTD by Tinakori Road, really summs it all up.

      2. as long as its loud and fast i’m happy. problem is how do you make electricity loud?

        What better place for all the world’s engine manufacturers to build and development their engines of the future.

        here lies the problem, is this what racing should be about? there needs to be a better balance.

    2. I’d take a punt at it being “in reference to”, as in the “Re:” you see in e-mails.

    3. f1 is a bloomin sport, and i don’t believe it should be used to drive eco friendly agendas. i’m a racing fan, not an environmentalist.

      Why do the two have to be in opposition? Why can’t sport be responsible? Why can’t an ‘environmentalist’ be a racing fan?

      1. Good question Maciek. I would love to see these engineers get more out of the engines.

        And the radio interview wher Pat Symonds (I
        think it was him) lyrically spoke about the great thing combining electrical engines for low revs and combustion for high revs to get the best traction they can really is a point in case.

        Exactly in the same way most of us did not like Toyota throwing money away instead of doing it clever, I would like teams to use their resources to get the most from them.

        And Tinakori Road makes a very valid point, when talking about coming to the end of our oil reserves rather sooner than later.
        We will have to think of different things to combust if we are going to see F1 on track for the rest of our lives.

        1. It’s great to have comments like this from people who are in the business of racing – gives the lie to arguments that real racers only want big engines and that any effort to keep the sport relevant is either PR or comes from tree huggers.

    4. i don’t understand this lingo. does ‘re’ mean regarding?!

      Yes it does, I’ve edited the quote to make that clearer.

  7. “Myers said McLaren’s strategy ‘is to remain as a private company in the ownership of a small number of focused shareholders, since we believe that best suits our business model’.”

    I don’t know why people suddenly assumed that just because Williams floated themselves on the stockmarket, then every team would do it.

    1. I never really got it as well. I mean, the Bahrainis have enough money (until the country changes hands, but that would only mean selling it on), Ron is not in need of cash for his pension plan and the company probably does not need any extra cash.

      But it seems rumours were out there, so McLaren reacted to correct the impression.

      The other story is FOM (or whatever company it will be) to go to market. They have also denied it.

  8. somerandomguy
    1st March 2011, 7:22

    tilkes tracks are all the same. long straights and pointy corners

    1. before he designed the Inidan circuit, I thought ‘ok, korea should be the final cookie cutter track’

      but no… I can’t believe how Tilke-esque the new indian track is…

    2. oh yeah. and TILKE STOP INSERTING COPYCAT ‘TURN 8s’ from Turkey…

      there’s a mini one in the korean track, one in the new Texas track and now one in the Indian track!!! arghh

      1. Couldn’t agree more, having a monopoly on design concepts is a bad idea. Its time Tinkery hung up his protractor for good.

      2. oh yeah. and TILKE STOP INSERTING COPYCAT ‘TURN 8s’ from Turkey…

        there’s a mini one in the korean track, one in the new Texas track and now one in the Indian track!!! arghh

        Actually, they’re all very different. The one in Korea is actually closer to a 180-degree bend than an imitation of Turn 8. The one in India will actually be a banked double-apex bed. Austin’s version is probably going to be the closest to Turn 8 itself, but it’s going to be faster and downhill with the worst camber and the least amount of run-off they can get away with. They’re all very different corners, but even if the corners were all made to be identical carbon copies of one another, the rest of the circuit will have a profound influence over them in terms of car setup, which will change the way the car behaves.

        1. well ok they may not be exactly the same, but you can tell he’s using the same thought processes.

          ‘right, long, very long straight into a tight hairpin with a kink on the exit leading down another straight to a 90 degree off-camber corner. then there’ll be some sort of triple apex turn 8 imitation to get the fans talking…’ oh yeah and it’ll be in the middle of nowhere.

  9. F1 Driver on BBC Sport – I think it’s gonna be di Resta.

  10. I must say, that Scherzinger interview is pretty interesting, far better then I expected before reading.

  11. With cars being filled to the brim with electronics. How about limiting the revs of cars that leave the track for a few seconds. Instant punishment and no need to go to the expense of digging up existing tracks.

  12. You want a more-challenging circuit?

    Build this.

    Just scale it down and make it shorter – like 7km – to conform with FIA regulations about maximum allowable track length.

  13. A Tesla electric car can do 250 miles on 1 charge – So it would be possible to have Grand Prix with electric F1 cars since the range is about right, an electric F1 car would last current race distance if it had the Tesla power system.

    Electricity and batteries negates the need for refuelling to take place, since charging the battery takes hours, not seconds as in filling a tank with petrol pre 2010. Post qualifying Parc Ferme would have more wires, plugs, and sockets in it than that area directly behind our TV sets as all the cars charge for the next days Grand Prix!

    It’s really just a case of waiting – no pun intended – for batteries to become lighter, and the overall performance of batteries to become good enough for F1, but part of me thinks it should be F1 helping elctric technology become better for everyone else.

    When petrol powered F1 started, it was slow, and inefficient compared to now
    – in order to pioneer electric power technolgy, perhaps F1 has to start again and build up performance levels over the next generation.

    I think electric power F1 could be the future.

    1. There’s only one problem: electricity is mostly generated by – oops – burning fossil fuels. And there looks to be no effort into creating renewable sources of electricity, all governments keep saying is 20-odd percent in 20 years.

      Hydrogen fuel cells are the way to go. Yes, they need electric too, but they give more energy per unit of electricity required. Yes, it’s expensive; but just as the mass production of white rice makes it cheaper than brown rice, even though extra processing is needed, once it’s in demand the price would tumble. Only problem is all that water vapour!

      Personally I feel F1 should develop these technologies to the point of global usage. And then it can go back to petrol again.

      1. Wood is full of carbon – which mkes me wonder why governments don’t just spend billions on planting trees for future use in power stations.

        Nuclear is always a controversial option for powerstations?

        F1 just needs a coupl of hours worth of fuel to make a race, so batteries would be fine for F1 and racing.

        Whereas Lemans needs long range for endurance racing – that’s where the more-practical-for-real-life fuel cells would come into play in F1.

        Imagine electric F1 – a real life Scalextric set!!

        1. Nuclear is a controversial option, but on the large scale it is still the cleanest and most efficient way.

    2. Batteries will not get much lighter….well not until some new, as yet unheard-of technology comes along.

      The energy-mass equation controls the issue. And until that magic formula is broken by
      something spectacular, that’s the way it will stay.

  14. Don’t we have fun and exciting tracks that offer both risk and reward? Those who drive well and punish those who don’t?

    Oh wait. That’s right they’ve all been replaced by Herman talcom powder Tilke’s at time painfully boring tracks.

    1. times* Ugh

      I also found this on his Wikipedia which gave me a good laugh.
      “Tilke’s trademark of circuit is a mixture long straights and tight hairpins, most at the beginning of his tracks – which is supposed to, but does not, encourage overtaking.”

      1. Which page is that? I’m going to have to go and edit it. The long-straight-into-tight-bend has been a mainstay of circuit design since the beginning of circuits. How else do you explain the Mulsanne at Le Mans? Or the way there are no less than four examples of it on the Nurburgring Nordschelife?

        1. Please don’t edit Wikipedia articles PM…. I urge you ;)

          1. I am more than capable of remaining objective, thank you (if that’s what you mean). Check out the 2010 and 2011 season pages. Most of that is my work.

          2. Good on you PM, maybe sometimes put a bit more of that in your comments on site here?

            It does explain, why a lot of the wisdom you sprout here, can be found on Wikipedia (with you writing that)!

            But pleas don’t edit that comment on the Tilke tracks, that really is accurate.

  15. Funny thing I was thinking about modern race tracks yesterday evening.

    I really dislike the fact that more than 3 tracks in the calendar of one racing series, were designed by one man. It’s like it’s not Formula 1 anymore, more like Formula Tilke. Not to mention his horrible tracks. What I hate the most about them is that if you’ve never saw the plans of the track, the news, if you’ve just turn on your TV and watch a F1 race at one of Tilke tracks, you wouldn’t be able to tell what country is that. His projects are equally boring and bland. No racing atmosphere at all. No “feeling of the country” at all. If Tilke would create a circuit in Uzbekistan, you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s Uzbekistan.

    I think designers and engineers should project the track for their own country. Jaypee Group Circuit should’ve been designed by a indian. Austin Circuit should’ve been designed by american. Yeongam circuit should’ve been designed by korean, and so on. Why let one man do the tracks all over the world? Because he’s skilled? Why not promote local designers, and be proud of the project? That would give us lots of new tracks with DIFFERENT styles. Not what we see with Tilkedromes: hurr long straights, hurr slow hairpins to boost overtaking.

    Tilke already did his job in his own country when he ruin- umm, redesigned Hockenheimring. All I’d let him do when I would be building a track, would be designing the main platform – that’s what he’s good at.

    1. why i always like old hockenheimring in my vid games.. n Booooooo!!! for Tilke.. ..even monza offer more drama.. if u want more ‘spot’ do it like monza or hockenheim

      I agree with u for local designer, i want more Spa n NurburgRing.. with extreem bank,high hill, blind corner and trees.. track must prior skill not only overtaking “their think” spot..

      last but not least monaco.. i always enjoy race in here (on vid game)but to tight for f1 nowdays.. can f1 make it wider?

      1. Do you mean make the monaco track wider? Or nurburgring (nordschliefe) wider.

        No to both. Other than down by the swimming pool and harbour at Monaco, where (when the stands arent there) there is loads of room, the rest of it is slotted right in the middle of the city.

        Nordschleife is too long, too narrow and massively in debt (due to the theme park).

        You’d need hundreds if millions to make a long track like that safe enough for F1 races. If I ever become a billionaire I’ll buy the track and do it ;-)

    2. I agree – and it’s not even do much a question liking Tilke’s tracks or not. There’s just bound to be a sameness about tracks designed by the same person – that’s really the only argument you need against his monopoly on things.

    3. If Tilke would create a circuit in Uzbekistan, you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s Uzbekistan.

      I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to tell “Hey, it’s Uzbekistan!” from the shape of the track alone. Unless it was in the shape of Uzbekistan.

      Promoting local ideas isn’t going to do much to create diversity, because they’re all going to be bound by the same rule book.

  16. In that quite entertaining McLaren getting a grip piece, it is said:

    Robin Herd, the designer of the M2A, many years later told my colleague Doug Nye: “On our initial design we erred. We tended towards technical ingenuity and mumbo jumbo rather than race winning engineering.”

    It was a most un-McLaren like admission which would not often be repeated in the decades that followed during which practical engineering, combined with an uncluttered packaging approach, would dictate the philosophy pursued by the company.

    I hope they are right, because last years car definitely had something of technical ingenuity (f-duct), while, especially at the end of the season, Ferrari and Red Bull seemed to have a visually simpler, but race winning package. And the last few tests certainly seemed to give a similar impression for this year. I hope those were just an impression and McLaren read the piece as well :)

    1. I know what you feel. I found it pretty significant and interesting they post it on the website now.

  17. The menu system is neat, compact and useful. Nice one.

  18. I just wanted to say well done to Keith for responding to another reporter’s (also civil (presumably)) request to credit the correct source for a story: Well done :)

  19. Nico Rosberg was awarded the 2011 Bandini award.

  20. Doing a stint as McLaren management Keith?
    (photo found on crash.net in an article from that recent factory visit)

    1. No that was at a media lunch. It was two days after I’d talked to Neale on The Flying Lap (https://www.racefans.net/2011/02/17/f1-fanatic-on-the-flying-lap-episode-7/) – he’ll be sick of the sight of me!

  21. why not have two races on a sunday of maybe 35-40 laps each, but in the second race completely swap the finshing places from race one and line the cars up on the grid in that order – something similar to what they do in touring cars

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