Kimi Raikkonen, Renault, 2011

Raikkonen to make Lotus debut today

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Kimi Raikkonen is to drive an F1 car for the first time since 2009 in Valencia today.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Lotus via Twitter

Lotus has arrived in Valencia! Less than 24hrs until Mr Raikkonen is back on track! Who’s excited to see the Iceman in action?”

Symonds: 2011 Virgin had potential (Autosport)

“The performance in the slow corners was much closer to the norm than it was in the fast corners. The car responded to changes pretty well, it used its tyres pretty well, it wasn’t a difficult car to drive, so I think our low-speed performance was reasonable. The high-speed performance wasn’t good – and then of course you look at aerodynamics.”

Bahrain regime braces for February 14 (Press TV)

“February 14, 2012 will mark the one year anniversary of the Bahrain revolution, which continues despite violent crackdowns by Saudi and Bahraini police forces.”

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Comment of the day

Reactive ride height control has gone the way of exhaust-blown diffusers and F-ducts. GeeMac questions whether there’s any room left for innovation in F1:

If the FIA want F1 to be a spec series, then just do it.

But if they want F1 to be the pinnacle of motorsport and the place where the best engineers showcase the best solutions within ever tightening technical regulations, then they had better stop banning concepts like this before they have even been raced.

The FIA’s view these days seems to be “If we don?t understand it, ban it.”

From the forum

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

One of the most turbulent Formula 1 seasons of all time got off to a suitable dramatic start 30 years ago today. The drivers went on strike ahead of the first race of the 1982 season at Kyalami in South Africa. Here’s what happened:

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  • 102 comments on “Raikkonen to make Lotus debut today”

    1. Excellent COTD. I agree with @geemac a *million* percent on this.

      These shenanigans of banning of every innovation that comes about, is properly ridiculous and quite tiring.

      Where does it stop?

      1. These shenanigans of banning of every innovation that comes about, is properly ridiculous and quite tiring.

        It’s not like the FIA decided they didn’t like the RRH and wrote a new rule banning it. The RRH was in violation of an existing rule, and so the FIA had no choice but to ban it. Yes, the FIA did approve it early on – but I think you will find that they were mislead by Lotus as to what the true purpose of the RRH was.

        1. We’ve had this discussion on another thread PM. I take your point on board. I agree now that the FIA had no choice to ban it, but I still find it irritating that they had to, if you know what I mean.

          I just find it quite frustrating really. F1 will end up as being, near enough, a spec series, and I just don’t want that to happen.

          1. Well, you can see it the other way.

            For example, by banning the blown diffuser, the teams had to think about something else, thus creating a whole new concept all over again.

            They’ve been more and more restrictive, yet engineers come up with new things, or they re-adapt old ideas into the cars again.

          2. I agree now that the FIA had no choice to ban it, but I still find it irritating that they had to, if you know what I mean.

            In that case, blame Lotus. They created a system that was agaisnt the rules. Judging by some of the comments that appears in the BBC article and Mark Gillan’s interview with The Flying Lap, the system offered substantial aerodynamic benefits. I can’t suspend my disbelief enough to accept the idea that Lotus had no idea of the benefits the system would provide.

            1. I can’t blame my favourite team PM. They’re the best team ever! If I started bashing them, what kind of fan would that make me eh? ;-)

        2. Oh please stop blaming Lotus for this mess, what’s wrong with you???? The FIA’s job as sport the regulatory body is to evaluate an design and establish whether it’s within the word of the regulation thus allowing it or banning it. They allowed and now want to ban it at the eleventh hour. It’s pathetic. What did you expect Lotus to do? Oh hello FIA here’s an device we designed and with it we hope to contravene article 3.15 of the regulations. Are you kidding me???? Just stop to think about it for a second.

          1. Oh please stop blaming Lotus for this mess, what’s wrong with you????

            The more chellenging question is what’s wrong with you? For some reason, you seem to think that all of the teams are as innocent as babes.

            Oh hello FIA here’s an device we designed and with it we hope to contravene article 3.15 of the regulations. Are you kidding me???? Just stop to think about it for a second.

            Of course Lotus are not going to say that. They knew perfectly well that the RRH offered all sorts of aerodynamic benefits, and that those benefits outweighed the gains in stability that they told the FIA were the primary function of the RRH. Stop behaving like Lotus had all their creative design snuffed out by the FIA – they knew perfectly well that the RRH was a moveable aerodynamic device and therefore illegal, and tried to mislead the FIA into thinking it did something else entirely.

            1. The car is a moveable aerodynamic device. RRH just moves the car, as do half the parts on it. Actually scratch that, RRH is actually designed to make the car move less, so it’s actually a device designed to reduce the changes in aero around the car.

            2. Nevertheless, it still manipulates the car by moving parts of it that do not ordinarily move in order to provide an aerodynamic gain. Therefore, it is a moveable aerodynamic part, which makes it illegal.

            3. They knew perfectly well that the RRH offered all sorts of aerodynamic benefits, and that those benefits outweighed the gains in stability that they told the FIA were the primary function of the RRH.

              The problem with this comment is that you say the aerodynamic benefits outweigh the gains in stability, whilst the aerodynamic benefits are as a direct result of the stability. To ban this under the rules for aerodynamic devices would also require they should ban suspension setups entirely…

              Someone did point out that they’re not allowed anything attached to the suspension system though, so that could be a reason why they could, but I’ve not seen the design of it so have no idea whether it is the case.

            4. By your definition then PM, Williams fly-wheel KERS would be illegal because unlike the battery KERS currently in use it has moving parts which will effect how the car behaves on track (there is a gyro effect) and so will have an influence on its aerodynamics.

              The definition of a moveable aerodynamic device being used here by the FIA is not one that any logically thinking person would use, and it is detrimental to innovation and to the sport in general. The rule was written to ban flexible rear wings and such, its application here is counter to the spirit and reason for which it was intended.

        3. The RRH was in violation of an existing rule, and so the FIA had no choice but to ban it.

          That is highly speculative at best @prisoner-monkeys, as the reasoning behind this being illegal is questionable, although it does fit with banning things like the mass-damper a couple of years back.
          Something still being widely considered as having been controversial.

          1. the reasoning behind this being illegal is questionable
            I don’t think it’s questionable at all. It’s only being painted that way by fans who are upset that the FIA banned a clever device. According to the BBC, the FIA realised that the primary purpose of the RRH was aerodynamic gain, and it did that by manipulating parts of the car that would otherwise remain stationary.

            1. There is nothing in the Technical Regulations about primary, secondary or any other degree of purpose. The only things said about aerodynamic devices is if they have any aero effect at all, Article 3.15 applies. Technically speaking, anything larger than an atom has an aerodynamic effect unless all sides presented to the airstream are identical. Every atom moves, even slightly, when encountering airflow or another atom that has received said effect. The rule does not give any degree of tolerance (unlike certain other Articles).

              Therefore, every F1 car, past present and future, that has been raced while Article 3.15 has been in place has been/is/will be illegal. Any car which has run since the regulation was imposed has done so because the FIA has decided not to apply the rule to it.

              The question is not whether the Lotus device was illegal. The question is how any car can possibly be legal under this ruleset at all!

        4. So why didn’t the FIA ban the system when Lotus first presented it in almost a year ago? Instead they gave it the green light and based on that decision Lotus spent resources developing it.

          If you believe that Lotus misled the FIA, then I would like to see where you get that from, and what benefit that would bring to Lotus. I just dont buy that. I would like to see more consistency from the FIA when it comes to these decisions. It seems like they ban and allow new concepts based on their current mood. Why didnt they tell Lotus the system is in breach of the article 3.15? I’m sure Lotus provided a more detailed specification than just a general description. It must have been obvious that the system would bring an aerodynamic benefit. Thats the whole reason why Lotus approached the FIA. The aim was to avoid developing something which turned out to be illegal. Looks like that didnt work for them.

      2. Totally agree with the comment of the day, but the recent case, RRH, does not illustrate the point well, you can’t just break existing rules and expect to race with it. Where they change the rules to ban something is more a valid point.

      3. @spud…I highly doubt that EVERY innovation is being banned…and personally I am all for the banning of any aero device as I see the cars as way too aero dependant as it is, and have been for too long…they need to simplify, have their downforce restricted more, get rid of DRS, and get back to racing by the seat of the pants with mechanical grip.

    2. i thought when the 2009 spec cars came out the fia said they were cutting down on aerodynamic inovation so advantages would have to be found in mechanical designs, but what do we hav now, a dominant aerodynamic car and mechanical inovations banned before they even are introduced on cars!

      1. @harvs

        what do we hav now, a dominant aerodynamic car and mechanical inovations banned before they even are introduced on cars

        The FIA believes that the RRH’s primary purpose was aerodynamic, not mechanical. Even if it was a mechanical system, it still offered a whole host of aerodynamic benefits.

        1. Wow, who’d have thought that PM was the one who’d fall for the rubbish the FIA has come out with!

    3. Here is to a good and safe return to F1

    4. @prisoner monkeys,@geemac, @spud, @verstappen, This whole affair seems strange to. Last year we heard endlessly how RedBull were gaining an unfair advantage because during a race their front wing was closer to the tarmac, either because their wing bent down or as they said the car adopted a nose-down attitude, either way the aerodynamic benefits were taken as gospel and the results seem to confirm them. Now we hear a device that prevents nose-dive during braking and keeps the wing from getting closer to the tarmac is being banned for giving an aerodynamic advantage, which is it ?
      My understanding, which comes from sailing, is that for the brief period of braking and with the speed of the flow decreasing, the wing should be able to maintain a laminar flow at a greater angle of attack providing increased down-force compared to the normal angle of attack. So are there any aerodynamicists out there to explain this, or is there something about this whole FIAsco we are not being told?

      1. Why “unfair” advantage?

        They passed all the tests since 2010… if they did it, others can do it too… the wings are legal, until proven otherwise.

        And they could never prove the wings were illegal

        1. quite right, still those being beaten where whinging about it continuously, but that is not the point, the point is people claimed RB got an advantage by doing what this device is supposed to prevent, wheres the logic ?

          1. This device works differently. By preventing the nose from diving, the flow of air over the front splitter is uninterrupted. More air over the splitter maens more downforce. Where Red Bull created a system that took advantage of the nose diving and used it, Lotus have developed a system that goes in the opposite direction.

            1. Yes apparently so, but how can both be right. If by splitter you mean the front wing assembly then as long as you can maintain a laminar flow over the top surface you will increase downforce by closing the gap between the tarmac and the underside and/or increasing the angle of attack. I can’t see any aero advantage gain by keeping the wing at the regulation height but can see the mechanical advantage of keeping the front end stable and loading up the tyres.

            2. Yes apparently so, but how can both be right.

              Because they’re both at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. As we have seen time and time again in Formula 1, there is never only one solution to a problem.

              If by splitter you mean the front wing assembly

              No, I don’t. The splitter is the tongue-like piec of the floor that juts out in front of the car under where the driver sits.

          2. It’s actually doing something quite different, the wing was bending, creating more down force as it moved closer to the ground.

            However the Suspension device kept the whole car level, which is very good for aerodynamic performance. Basically the effect it probably would have had is that the Renault would have been incredibly stable under braking.

            1. Right, and part of the benefit of staying level was that the setup could be lower to the ground at all times for all parts of the car.

            2. If the wing is bending then technically it is against the regulations (aside from Article 3.18 which it presumably obeys, it also has to comply with Article 3.15 due to being an aero device, which if bending would be impossible). The FIA simply hasn’t figured out how to prove it.

      2. @HoHum…

        Under extreme acceleration, the red bull solution moves the front wing closer to the ground, thus increasing downforce and reducing drag. Under braking, the wing would then raise back up again, as smaller forces are being exerted upon it as the car slows down. This happens at the same time as the nose “diving” and so levels out. In effect, the Redbull had a more attractive position of their front wing, at all times, with their desired position under full acceleration and also full braking.

        The Lotus solution does almost the opposite, by making the at rest position preferred, so under exreme braking, the actual height of the front wing above the road does not change at all. Effectively levelling the different states so that performance is more stable in both conditions.

        EIther way, this is about getting the right position of the front wing at all times, relative to the track. Redbull pushes the wing closer to the track under acceleration, and the Lotus pulls it away from the track under braking.

        1. @graigchq, Thanks for the explanation, if I read you correctly lotus were more concerned with the balance of the car remaining constant than in ultimate downforce. If this is correct should it be banned ?

    5. I’d rather a have a restricted F1 than a deadlier F1. And yes, that is the choice of the contemporary. To pretend otherwise is wishful thinking.

      And hey, never mind that the existence and size of the field spread in F1 is – some notable individual devices (such as the blown diffuser) aside – down to hundreds if not thousands of instances of creative thinking by 12 clever clogs and their design teams. Clearly innovation is dead because one easily identifiable thing a season is banned and let’s forget why, not to mention that not all of them were banned by the FIA either – FOTA got the F-duct banned, after all.

      I understand that people pine with misty eyes for a more open F1, but those days are gone, for good reasons.

      1. @icthyes, not necessarily so, speed could be reduced by the simple means of reducing engine size and banning forced induction, then the innovative clever clogs could be given free reign to develop engines and chassis until speeds exceed the current speeds, that’s when we see who does what best. At the moment only the aerodynamicist can shine.

        1. I am quite happy with Engines being mostly off limits, having said that they still spend a lot developing them. And if you think otherwise I suspect you’d be in for a shock.

          Honestly, I think engines are the single biggest money sinks in F1 if you let it be.

          1. But the things they learned from engine development were a great tool for designing faster more reliable engines for road cars so it was money well spent, the emphasis on aerodynamics cannot transfer to utilitarian road cars, and running a windtunnel and a dozen designers and fabricators of carbon fibre widgets is not cheap either.

            1. “the emphasis on aerodynamics cannot transfer to utilitarian road cars”

              Deffinitely true at the moment, but they may end up being transferred to aircraft or similar. I for one am looking forward to the day I can buy a flying car :D

      2. Freeing the regulations would mean an almost inmediate end to F1 too.

        The sport needs to be restrictive. In the old days, the tecnology was the limit, the rules of physics in some way. Now they got so advanced that they need to limit the regulations more and more and more, otherwise it’d go out of control…

        1. The sky will fall in as well.

        2. You can be restrictive and still free. Instead of: build a 2.4 litre V8 like this and this, just set a max horsepower limit. And if you want it green too a max amount of fuel that can be used.
          The problem with this is that it would initially shake up the order and the frontrunning teams hate that. And budget would be more impotant. But that is already the case in formula 1 and any other sport.

          1. I would love for the engines to be free in that way, to make them more efficient, just not any faster. But the FIA are too concerned about cost levels to let that happen and they have a point. Since the teams won’t allow budget caps and can’t even agree on the RRA, it’s sadly something that isn’t going to happen.

        3. As it stands, F1’s at risk of killing itself through being too restrictive, on the grounds that most of the new/transferring money is going to the (somewhat) freer environment of sportscars. It should be possible to relax the rules such that cheaper methods of improving performance than currently permitted are available, and it should also be possible to test such relaxations (and restrictions) to ensure things ultimately remain under FIA control.

      3. That’s fine, but these innovations aren’t being banned on the basis of safety (I suppose F-Ducts were, because the teams that only introduced them later forced drivers to take their hands of the steering wheel to operate them, but this could have been remedied the following year if they weren’t banned!). If the reason for banning reactive ride height control was safety, then of course I would welcome the decision to ban it, but it wasn’t.

        I just miss the days when the cars were also the stars. It has been such a long time since someone produced a car that was a star in its own right. We aren’t seeing Maserati 250F’s, Mercedes W196’s, Lotus 79’s, Brabham fan cars or McLaren MP4-4’s anymore, and that is just so sad. As good as the RB7 was, it wasn’t a star.

        1. these innovations aren’t being banned on the basis of safety

          No, they’re being banned because they break existing rules. The ban on moveable aerodynamic devices was put in place before the RRH was declared illegal, not after (or because of) it.

          1. The problem is the rules are broken.

        2. I disagree with Geemac – the cars have been the stars of the past three seasons at least. Button was not seen as a star before Brawn unleashed the (imho) ugly but fast BGP001 and won a championship through a controversial ruling on double diffusers. The 2009 RB5 reintroduced a number of concepts to F1 thought no longer relevant. The RB6 did the same, and the RB7 pushed the use of blown diffusers, brought in in 1983 by the Renault factory team, to the limit. So I strongly disagree with you idea that the cars are not the stars anymore. Without a star car, even the great Schumi cannot crack a podium in two years of trying.

          I also agree with COTD. Think back to the nose mounted ballast in Alonso’s Renault in 2005/first part of 2006. That was deemed a moveable aerodynamic device or something like what the RRH has been accused of being. I think if it is not an obvious active suspension device (think Mansell 1992) and it relies totally on mechanical principles, and the wings/diffuser themselves do not move relative to the reference plane, then it is hard to describe a suspension system as an aerodynamic device. It would also be very frustrating to be told something is legal, to work on optimising the system, then for the rulemakers to go “Oh, you know what? We actually do not like that now. So it is banned.” Smacks of DDD to me, but this time the FIA are not letting the teams use them. No need to drive a wedge into FOTA now is there?

        3. The various devices were banned to reduce cornering speeds, which the FIA have been trying to do since 1994 on the basis of safety.

          1. They didn’t say that about the mass damper and they haven’t said it about the ride height device. Otherwise they’d probably have to ban the very similar McLaren inerter (which remains legal).

        4. @Geemac, BRAVO! or BRAVISSIMO for Ferrari fans, indeed why are team fans fans of teams if not for the superior cars they have fielded over the years ? This is what differentiates F1 from most other formulas.

      4. From a safety point of view, I agree. There’s no denying that safety has to come first but there have also been times when the decisions by the FIA have been questionable (or just nuts like brining in grooved tyres) and didn’t see to have safety in mind plus, once it happens over and over again it’s easy to lose faith. There are as some have said sweeping limits that could be imposed to keep speeds down but then freedom to design around it within limits. The problem is I think how this is all portrayed. The FIA aren’t aware of loop holes until they’ve been designed around and then they wait, sometimes give they okay and then take it back. It just looks ridiculous and the only saving grace is that this time it’s against favouritism or plenty would suspect Ferrari pulling the strings again.

        1. I think the idea of allowing everything as long as it passes the safety tests and just limiting speeds is a bit of a red herring. The danger (as dangerous as travelling in a straight line is) is cornering speeds. The overall lap time would stay the same, but the speeds through the corners would be higher, which is exactly what we don’t need any more of in F1. How would you then limit cornering speeds through the engines? I suppose you could use G-force measuring devices and have something cut out if it approaches a limit, but in the end after all that we’re back to the same lap times and not being able to go any faster. In which case we might as well stick with the direction we’re on now.

          The FIA as you say is never going to be perfect and catch everything straight away, but that still won’t satisfy this perception of banning innovation as if innovation were offensive to the FIA, which is patently untrue – for all the accusations that the FIA have “let” Lotus spend millions of dollars on something only to ban it, they already let the teams spend tens of millions on what Martin Brundle once described as cars that have “not one common piece in a thousand and yet lap within a few tenths of each other”.

          Maybe this is the FIA’s way of making F1 spec through the back door. But regardless, it doesn’t make a more open F1 vis-a-vis increasing cornering speeds any more of a feasible option.

          1. Sorry, “having only one common piece in a thousand” is the quote, I believe. Makes more sense that way!

          2. Cornering speed is even easier to control than top speed by reducing the area of aerodynamic appendages and if need be tyre size.

          3. @Icthyes ,Cornering speed is even easier to control than top speed by reducing the area of aerodynamic appendages and if need be tyre size.

    6. The Ice Man Cometh!

      1. Yeeeeeeeeee!
        They probably won’t release any laptimes. And those probably will lack any relevance to us outsiders. But still, I hope Lotus and Kimi provide us some insights in how it went.

    7. will Grojean get a go?

      1. @thezadak – No, he won’t. This is simply a test for Raikkonen to re-acquaint himself with driving a Formula 1 car; he’s driving a Renault R30 rather than the new car (which can’t be run until the first test session).

      2. @Zadak NO ONLY Iceman.

    8. Just think simple, if F1 cars overtake under braking what would happen if engineers found a way to avoid slip ups under braking… no overtaking.

    9. Woohoo! COTD! Wasn’t expecting that, thanks Keith!

      1. Congratulations @Geemac!

        1. I thank you!

    10. I really wonder how much of an aerodynamic advantage it gave that FIA thought it was best to ban the tech. Mclaren got the F-duct and it was allowed, RBR got the EBD, and it was allowed (though i agree they tried banning it, but atleast we got to see the tech live). Honestly, they should’ve let the tech be and let others adapt to it. Isn’t F1 finally about really good tech that can be later applied to road cars? I honestly think FIA is being way too stringent with it’s rules.

      1. I really wonder how much of an aerodynamic advantage it gave that FIA thought it was best to ban the tech.

        Quite a bit.

        One of the reasond why the teams protested the rule change forcing them to lower the nose of the car was because a higher nose means that more air can pass over the splitter – the tongue-like extension of the floor under the driver – and therefore increase downforce.

        The RRH prevented the front of the car from dipping down under brakes as mass is applied to the front end. This meant that the flow of air over the splitter would be uninterrupted, allowing the car to take the corner at higher speed because there was more downforce on offer. And it would work over the course of the race, too, maintaining the optimal ride height to generate downforce.

        1. hmmm. sad though. was a good tech. would’ve been nice to see it in action on the grid.

          1. @Hatebreeder, I am with you there. No innovation no change in pecking order!

    11. From what Symonds says about the Virgin car, it really shows that while CFD can be a great tool for building a car, its still not perfect for Aero development if used exclusively.

      It would also suggest, that the teams car for the coming season will be mechanically similar but with a largely changed bodywork philosophy.

      1. @BasCB, agreed, also shows that aerodynamic gain is very expensive!

    12. Stop press! Kimi Raikkonen did a lap! And expert analysis suggests there is a high probability that he will do another one soon!

      1. Any truth in the rumour that trees have been seen leaving the area?

        1. Looks like an R29 that someone’s sat on the front of.

          1. Or, of course, an R30.


    13. I would chance a guess that not all of the teams could implement this, and that some of the teams were appealing to the FIA in advance should the device start appearing on cars. In an attempt to avoid another political and cold start to the season, like 2009, the FIA have swept it under the rug straight away.

      Just a theory.

      1. It’s not like FIA hasn’t been here before, is it?
        For the rest see my comment below.

    14. Still, my problem is with FIA’s turn around.
      That is what I don’t like in this affair.

      If you are working for the organisation that forbade the mass damper, because it was a move-able aerodynamic device and the Exhaust Blown Diffuser on the same grounds, then how does it happen that you only wake up after the press and other teams respond?

      For the umpteenth time, they end up being consistent, but only after they first make a U-turn.

      And don’t give me the But Lotus didn’t tell them it was aerodynamic – drivel, because that is your job when you work at the FIA! It is expected that people try to ‘be creative / fool you’. It’s your job to respond swiftly and consistent with earlier situations where the same rules applied.

      Now you’ve let a team spend money on something you at first declared legal and made a fool – again made a fool – of yourself during the process.

      * fighting the urge to use caps and bold *

      1. And don’t give me the But Lotus didn’t tell them it was aerodynamic – drivel, because that is your job when you work at the FIA!

        It’s not so simple as “not telling them”. Lotus would have acknowledged the device and downplayed its aerodynamic advantages. They probably led the FIA to believe that while they did get some gain from it, their interest in it was in the RRH as a purely mechanical device. No doubt the team had someone lobbying to the FIA. And while the FIA was willing to accept it as legal, it appears that they changed their stance because one or more teams convinced them that it was illegal. They didn’t just read the rules once and approve it, only to read the rules again and ban it.

        1. Probably, maybe, most likely .. prove or stop making your speculations look like the truth. As I said yesterday, a few years back the procedure was simple: send the construction plans with a note to the FIA, they give you the answer legal or illegal without further comment, done. Maybe that has chamged a bit since the EBD fiasco but I don’t believe it (imagine how many requests they must get from 12 teams during the development phase, they can’t have lengthy discussions with all of them).
          I believe (my opinion) that Lotus asked, FIA thought it is ok, then got notice (somehow) that it does something for aerodynamics and reconsidered their decision and now the RRH will take its place in history next to the mass damper (the convenient decision for most teams and the FIA who now won’t have to evaluate tons of different approaches to the system and don’t have to worry about it getting out of hand by clever engineers building more and more clever stuffes into the suspension).

          1. Probably, maybe, most likely .. prove or stop making your speculations look like the truth.

            I don’t need to prove that it happened. I just need to prove that it could have happened, to demonstate that the issue is not as clear-cut as everyone is making it out to be.

            1. I have some more things for your “could have happened that way” list: the moon landing could have been filmed in a studio in florida, Obama could be not born in the USA and could have used his presidential power to fake the birth certificate, the greek state could have actually not seen that they had a debt problem, Barrichelloand Brundle could be good friends of Michael Schumachers when no cameras are around, cows might be able to fly when nobody is looking and many more, just ask if you want more examples.
              I admit I’m probably going a bit too far, but what I found out when studying physics is, sometimes the simple explanation is the one that actually fits.

        2. That wouldn’t have worked, Prisoner Monkeys. The Article kicks in the moment *any* aero influence is suggested, even if the device is 99.9999% for other reasons. In fact, if they’d suggested it would make the aero worse, Article 3.15 would have kicked in. Matters of “interest” do not and cannot apply.

          So the only method to avoid a check on Article 3.15 would have been to avoid mentioning “aerodynamics” altogether. The only way to overturn a FIA decision of this type is if another team appeals.

          Clearly Lotus didn’t tell the FIA about the aero effect, someone appealed and convinced the FIA that an aero effect was at least possible (note it does not need to be proved for an appeal to be won, merely probable). This is the only chain of events that doesn’t involve the FIA breaking its own rules.

      2. Still, my problem is with FIA’s turn around.
        That is what I don’t like in this affair.

        There was no turn-around. It was never passed finally, only initally. Whatever about it breaks the rules, they clearly only found out under further scrutiny.

      3. @verstappen, more to the point, if keeping the car level can be construed as gaining an aerodynamic advantage what can be done that cannot be construed as being for aerodynamic advantage ?

    15. Has anyone seen Kimi’s helmet for this year? Lotus revealed it on Twitter earlier, I love it!

      It’s gonna stand out in the car for sure…

      1. I don’t know … I like it that it’s not a “corporate” helmet in team colours, but at the same time, it’s got these big, empty white spaces on it. It will certainly be easy to tell Raikkonen and Grosjean apart, though – Grosjean’s design is blue, yellow and orange.

        1. I like how blank and simple it is…maybe there’s some sponsors still to go on it, but there’s no point in putting a stripe across it for the sake of a stripe!

      2. @electrolite It compliments his ICE1 Racing livery with a bit of gold thrown in to suit the current Lotus livery.

        I quite like it.

        Looks like one you might pick on an arcade game in the 90’s.

    16. It’s a pity that there is so little room for technical innovations in F1 these days. One of my friends recently said that he could not understand the point of F1 due to the many restrictions faced by engineers. But we all know the reasons why it is so. And, talking about the reactive ride height control, it probably wouldn’t make a big impression on anyone else except the hardcore F1 fans.

      I can see the reasons why the new system has been banned. It was invented just to improve aerodynamics and, unlike F-duct or blown diffuser, it is easy to copy. So basically it would make all cars a bit faster by improving the aerodynamics. But is that what we want? If we believe that too much aero is to blame for lack of ‘natural’ (ie. non-DRS) overtaking then more aero is the last thing F1 needs.

    17. Congrats on COTD @GeeMac and I couldn’t agree more.

      1. You agree with it? Even with this?

        The FIA’s view these days seems to be “If we don’t understand it, ban it.”

        Details of how the system worked were psoted across the itnernet within hours of the story breaking – and Lotus would have had to have submitted plans for it when they asked the FIA to review its legality. There is absolutely no evidence that the FIA did not understand the reactive ride-height system, or that they banned it because they did not understand it. I think GeeMac is just looking for things to criticise them for.

        1. And there’s absolutely no evidence that they do understand it. So Geemac’s opinion is just as valid as yours.

    18. Great to see the first pictures of Kimi at the test! It’s a day of excitement and joy. I know there’s a lot of doubt over his abilities, motivation etc. I don’t care! I think he will prove all of those who doubt wrong. In any circumstances his return has created a whole lot of positive interest around Team Lotus. GO KIMI!

    19. Soooo great to see Kimi back in Formula One car again!! :) But his new helmet design is just hideous – doesn’t fit with Lotus’ livery at all…

      1. @huhhii It’s got more black on it than Petrov’s ever did!

        1. @AndrewTanner Still it has way too much white for my taste. Maybe if he would have head to Williams that helmet could have worked, but in Lotus no way. I kinda liked Petrov’s blue and red helmet…

          1. I’m sure it’s going to change before the start of season.

    20. Keith, is everybody posting the same comment over and over again?

    21. OK, many people are arguing about the RRH system, it’s legality and the FIA’s reactions to it.

      First off, if the device breaks the rules it should not be allowed. That’s a first, simple point. I will not argue whether it is but, ultimately, it is the FIA who decides, and they have decided it does.

      Secondly, the FIA’s initial acceptance of the device does make them look a little sloppy. Perception is almost everything in such a public arena, and it make’s them look like they didn’t do their job right in the first place. Whether this is the case or not it is how it is percieved by most.

      Thirdly is the “If we don’t understand it, ban it” perception. Once again, I do not think it is as important whether this is the case or not. What is important is that some people believe it. It is bad for the sport.

      Personally, as an engineer, I would love to see F1 as a more open series, with technical innovations occuring every race (which they actually do at the beginning of the season, but they are all so minor they can easily be missed). I also think it would be outrageous for F1 to become a spec series. But, in a way, the perceptions of the fans in incidents such as this can do more damage to the sport in the long run, and the FIA need to be more carefull when evaluating new designs in future.

      As one final note, I would like to say that IMHO the RRH system is not a movable aero part. It is not an aero part in itself, and it’s primary purpose is to keep an aero part in the same place (i.e. STOP it moving)

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