Adrian Newey, Red Bull, Montreal, 2012

Newey: F1’s technical rules “stifle creativity”

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Adrian Newey, Red Bull, Montreal, 2012In the round-up: Adrian Newey says F1’s technical rules leaves designers with too little freedom.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Current regulations stifle creativity – Newey (ESPN)

“I think it is a shame that they are so tight in a way, there’s no doubt that it stifles some of the creativity. But that’s the world we live in. It would be fantastic to not have them, but with the size and resources of the teams an arms war would result which would means a tremendous leap in performance for the cars.”

F1 Owners Eye Huge Payout (Sky)

“The owners of Formula One (F1) motor racing are plotting to pay themselves a windfall worth hundreds of millions of pounds as part of a refinancing that would load the business with more debt.”

“First Alonso should win the title, then we won?t hire a team mate who bothers him” (James Allen on F1)

Luca di Montezemolo: “[Fernando Alonso is] right that there aren?t any ‘phenomenons’ in circulation. But first Fernando should win the world title and then we will certainly not put anyone alongside him who would bother him.”

Whitmarsh: Perez ??no apprentice? at McLaren (F1)

“I don?t see why – if we give him a good enough car – he can?t turn up at the first race in Australia vying for a win.”

Local firms to bid for Istanbul F1 track (Hurriyet Daily News)

“Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is also interested in the plot, sources said, adding that while he had not yet obtained the tender specifications, he was looking at doing so.”

Fifty years celebrated in a special way (Ferrari)

Ferrari chief mechanic Francesco Uguzzoni: “The worst was Singapore 2008, the race in which there were problems with the refuelling on Felipe?s car. It was a very difficult moment and I will never stop thanking Ferrari for having supported me and shown confidence in me: it?s not by chance that I still have the same role of supervising the pit stops: and in that respect one can see the difference with the other teams.”

Hamilton cuts his ties with the team that made him (Unibet)

My new article for Unibet.


Comment of the day

@Kingshark is worried about how the championship is going to be decided:

As a Ferrari fan I really hope Alonso can wrap up the championship in USA. I don?t think my heart can take another title-deciding season finale after what happened in Brazil 2008 and Abu Dhabi 2010.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Iceshiel and StrFerrari4Ever!

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 1967 world champion Denny Hulme died 20 years ago today.

Hulme was competing in the 1992 Bathurst 1000, driving a BMW M3, when he suffered a heart attack.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
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  • 58 comments on “Newey: F1’s technical rules “stifle creativity””

    1. Adrian Newey says F1′s technical rules leaves designers with too little freedom.

      Read: Red Bull wants to finish the 2012 season the way they spent 2011, and they know exactly how to do it, but the FIA are being a bunch of spoilsports and tying Newey’s hands with restrictive design regulations, and the end result is a hyper-competitive season which everybody dreams about, but which, deep down, nobody really wants that much when they can have another year of Red Bull dominance.

      It speaks volumes that Red Bull have been the subject of four (maybe) technical challenges this year: their floor holes in Monaco, manual ride-height adjustment in Canada, throttle mapping in Germany and now Ferrari are sniffing around their wings in Japan, believing that they are flexing under certain conditions.

      Sometimes, I get the feeling that Red Bull think the fans are all a bunch of idiots and that we value the wrong things when we appreciate a closely-fought championship over Sebastian Vettel being a second per lap faster than everyone else.

      1. Or maybe technical genius is being wasted fiddling in the margins when it could be producing brilliant innovations driven by competition, but in the end filtering down to all types of applications, and Newey recognises that. F1 used to do the same thing the space race did, it doesn’t do much of that any more, and the reason is the regulations.

        1. Nah, Red Bull just read the rules differently than everyone else.

          “The car must not weight 620 kg, including driver.”
          If that was written in the rule book, Red Bull would probably show up with a 400 kg car. FIA – But we meant the car must weigh more than 620 kg. :-/

          1. This is what EVERYONE does, make the car as light as possible and make the difference up with ballast and the driver… There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding loopholes, the key is exactly that – finding a loophole as opposed to straight up breaking the rules.

        2. @dvc, dead right, and that is why manufacturers prefer to spend money in other forms of motorsport where what they learn on the track can be used on the road.

      2. It’s not fair to characterise what Newey said as a gripe about Red Bull not dominating this year.

        If you read the full article, you would note that he also said that if designers had greater freedom:-

        “The danger would also be that one team gets it more right than any of the others and disappears and wins every race for the whole season. For the viewing public you would get the diversity, but people would get bored if it is always the same team and drivers winning.”

        Quite a balanced opinion, if you ask me. I get annoyed when someone like Newey gives an honest answer to a question, and is then criticised for the answer, often without any understanding of the context in which it is said.

        Seriously, do you expect a designer to NOT want greater freedom to be creative? Or should Newey just answer questions with meaningless platitudes rather than expressing an honest, and entirely reasonable, point of view?

        1. Thanks for posting that @tdog, if one reads the article its perfectly clear that Newey might think its a bit of a shame but perfectly well understands why the restrictions have to be there.

        2. So why is he complaining? Regulations are tight to produce a competitive season, cars are suppose to be the similar possible. FIA is not looking for an equal-car situation a la minor series but it’s been proven that similar car produce a more spectacular season.

          1. He wasn’t complaining.

            He was interviewed by a journalist, and was asked this question –

            “So you wouldn’t prefer the regulations of the old days, where 6 wheels were allowed, maybe four wheel drive, no one cared about the form, size or shape of the wings?”

            Which he answered. As you would have known, if you had watched the accompanying video of the interview, rather than making assumtions based on a headline which Newey didn’t author.

            1. if it sounds like duck…

            2. @JCost, it’s reasonably well known that if you listen for a certain thing that’s what you will hear.

              I’ve seen this demonstrated with a musician bringing a tuba on stage, and then someone off stage playing a saxaphone through the speakers, the majority of the audience hears a tuba initially.

          2. He’s not complaining, just expressing regret that regulations make his job less exciting.

          3. @jcost, because the cars are so similar to look at and mechanically almost identical we need to focus on the drivers for interest. If you go back to the first year of the 3l formula we had H16 engines, V12 engines, V8 engines and probably others I have forgotten, that was a great season full of surprises, eventually won by Jack Brabham using a de-stroked Buick alloy V8 block with custom OHC heads made by Repco, an automotive parts manufacturer in Australia. Before the season began the Repco Brabham was derided as a “start-money” special, it soon demonstrated that light weight, a fat midrange and reliability could overcome an ultimate HP deficit. There is always more than 1 way to skin a cat.

        3. Was going to say exactly the same.

      3. @prisoner-monkeys – I have to agree with Adrian Newey, the rules are ever more constrictive and it’s getting to the point where the cars are almost identical (and F1 isn’t GP2). There is also a constructors championship we have to remember, and if the teams aren’t allowed to show their technical ability it becomes increasingly irrelevant. There is no guarantee that with a complete rule change to allow more freedom that Red Bull would continue to dominate, but if they did it would further reinforce their presence in F1 history as one of the great teams (along with McLaren and Ferrari).

        I don’t disagree with you that this championship has been the most exciting for years, but it’s becoming slightly artificial now.

        1. it’s getting to the point where the cars are almost identical (and F1 isn’t GP2).

          Isn’t that what regulators want? You can be against it but that’s their ultimate goal. They’re covering the risk described by Newey of someone figuring out a way to produce massive advantage that eventually nobody will be capable of copying before it’s too late and we have a season dominated by a car that can win 15 out of 20 races…

          1. @jcost – that is exactly what they want, and exactly what the engineers and designers don’t want. As I said, there is not only a drivers’ championship in F1.
            I also said however that I’m not arguing the fact that this season has been one of the most exciting for years, perhaps decades.

          2. @vettel1, @jcost, We don’t need identical cars, see my post above, and I ask , during the Ferrari dominance what was the difference in spec. between the Ferrari and the rest? the rules were already restricting development, more restriction and RBR have been dominant.

      4. Read: Red Bull wants to finish the 2012 season the way they spent 2011, and they know exactly how to do it, but the FIA are being a bunch of spoilsports and tying Newey’s hands with restrictive design regulations… Sometimes, I get the feeling that Red Bull think the fans are all a bunch of idiots and that we value the wrong things when we appreciate a closely-fought championship over Sebastian Vettel being a second per lap faster than everyone else.

        While I appreciate how close this season is, and how exciting the races have been (in general) this year, I think you are way off the money with this comment.

        Newey is an engineer. He wants to be able to design new, cool bits for his car because that is his profession, maybe even his calling. The more freedom he has to do this, the more interesting and exciting his job.

        In fact, this also makes things more exciting for certain fans, like me. The races are only a tiny part of why I follow F1. Much more important is following the developments behind the scenes. I was fascinated by the telemetry posted by Lewis, and wish I could see more (although I know that’s not going to happen). I love analysing photos of the cars to spot the differences in aero, and following things like the new engine developments, KERS… you name it. But, then, I am an engineer too.

        Just one helpful hint: if you want to go off on a rant about what someone has said, read/listen to what they have said before going off on your rant. Otherwise it can make you look like the idiot.

        1. Yeah I think there is nothing new here. I understand where AN is coming from. We all know that all the teams could make their cars much much better and faster if they weren’t as restricted as they are. But then it becomes a money and resources game. And AN acknowledges this.

          We are not in a global economy that can sustain the massive amounts of money that teams used to spend like it was a bottomless pit. And even when F1 had more money and the world had more big companies with the dollars and the will to spend them in F1, we all knew that it was a matter of he with the most money and resources wins.

          But with entities like Toyota and Honda and BMW leaving F1, F1 had to make it more attractive for new non-manufacturer based teams to enter F1 and feel like they have some degree of hope of building themselves up in fairly short order into a competitive team such that they are gleening some return for their scarcer, harder-to-come-by millions invested, rather than hopelessly squandering them against mega teams that will always be mega.

          I feel for AN, and on the one hand it would be great to see them less encumbered, but it just isn’t today’s reality and I wonder if it ever will be. For now I take heart that there is always room for innovation even among tougher restrictions.

    2. The 1967 world champion Denny Hulme died 20 years ago today.

      Hulme was competing in the 1992 Bathurst 1000, driving a BMW M3, when he suffered a heart attack.

      With this weekend being the 2012 Bathurst 1000 and the 20th Anniversary of Hulme’s death, Speed Cafe have put up this article remembering his life

    3. Design engineer wants a greater capacity for design engineering.

    4. Hey Keith, you should consider editing the quote from that article with Whitmarsh talking about Perez.

      There’s a big difference between this quote from the article:
      “I don’t see why – if we give him a good enough car – he can’t turn up at the first race in Australia vying for a win,”

      and the one you have:
      “If we give him a good enough car – he can’t turn up at the first race in Australia vying for a win.”

      It was the first article I read as I couldn’t figure out why Whitmarsh would say that Perez couldn’t win in Australia.

      1. Sorry about that – obviously I messed up the quote and didn’t intend to changes its meaning. Fixed now.

    5. I did lagh pretty hard at that tweet from Taki Inoue when I saw it yesterday, what a fella. :) I’d also like to nominate myself for the role of Nando’s team mate. I’m sure I’d bother him even less than Taki would!

      1. But would you requiere a piece of temple in your car?

    6. I don’t understand too much about the financial world of F1, but news such as today’s payout story always disgust me. F1’s money-grubbing owners continue to grub, while teams and race organizers are on the brink of financial ruin.

      With regard to your latest Unibet column, @keithcollantine, I am surprised at your take on Australia 2009. You make it sound as if an innocent Dave Ryan had to take the fall for Hamilton’s lying, while the way I understood the situation was that it was the team’s (presumably Ryan’s) idea to come up with the story that Trulli had overtaken Hamilton under the safety car, although it was of Hamilton that delivered the lie to the stewards. Are you suggesting that McLaren blamed Hamilton for the situation, or just that the incident created tensions between the two parties?

      1. interesting. I like the fact we can now be quite retrospective with hamilton’s career as he has been here long enough now. I think he is not the person they thought he’d grow up into when they took him on as a child. Conversely, who would have thought around the time of the Australian GP 2009 that in three years Hamilton would replce Schumacher at what was then Brawn, and the guy who won that race would assume number one status at McLaren…

        Also interesting is a stat I saw compating Jenson and Lewis since they’ve been team mates, saying Jenson has only scored 6 less points than Hamilton in the same period.. 603 vs 609.

        As a Jenson fan this is cool news, but it suprises me its so close, given how much better Hamilton is at qualy and all-out aggression. I know they’ve both had their fair share of bad luck and mistakes etc, but it just shows how two completely different approaches in the same car can end up in roughly the same place.

        1. TheManyHamiltons
          4th October 2012, 7:19

          I think he is not the person they thought he’d grow up into when they took him on as a child

          Hamilton Of 2007 – A world revelation, yet unlucky
          Hamilton Of 2008 – Sluggish, yet lucky
          Hamilton Of 2009 – Spoilt Brat
          Hamilton Of 2010 – Realization-that-he-is-not-GOD
          Hamilton Of 2011 – new found respect for the sport, but still immature
          Hamilton Of 2012 – Finally…..Maturity, Speed and Resilience (and Lo, as clockwork mclaren screws up…just reminisce Raikkonen 2003/2005!)
          Hamilton Of 2013 – Maturity, Speed(IF merc can deliver), Resilience, BrandMoney and WC?????

          1. Sluggish in 2008? It was one of his weaker seasons, but not due to lack of pace!

          2. Define ‘sluggish’! The only place I thought he was slow was Interlagos. Silverstone winning by over a minute? Spa? Monza? Monaco? China? He also had to put up with all the Moseley-FIA Ferrari bias, taking his points and giving them to Massa etc., the ludicrous penalty given to Hamilton in Japan when nothing happened at the first corner, later being pole-axed deliberately by Massa, etc. The myth settles down that Hamilton was lucky in 2008, but a more realistic view is the huge sway Ferrari had then over FIA decisions then, thankfully now lessened.

      2. @adrianmorse, yes it’s sad, every time we hear that costs must be cut it really means profits must be increased, not for the teams, but for the investors who made Bernie a Billionaire .

    7. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      4th October 2012, 7:11

      Well the regulations aren’t meant to be easy. That’s why this is the pinnacle of motorsport. They’re the best engineers and tech’s in the world, it’s not supposed to be a joy ride to winning 15 grands prix in 1 season *cough* 2011 *cough*.

      1. Why would less strict regulations be easy? Unless your team has far more money than everybody else, it won’t get easier to design a winning car as the regulations get less restrictive.

    8. Some Caterham news: Yesterday Vitaly Petrov had tweeted that he was feeling unwell but this morning he said he was ‘a little better’ now. And Van der Garde is going to drive for Caterham in the FP1 session, replacing Kovalainen.

    9. TheManyHamiltons
      4th October 2012, 7:25

      …no doubt that it stifles some of the creativity. …..but with the size and resources of the teams an arms war would result which would means a tremendous leap in performance for the cars

      ONE finger, ONE hole, ONE (f-)duct, ONE stall(of wing), ONE thousand(quid), ONE engineer … TREMENDOUS leap in Performance. You were saying Newey? ;-)

    10. It keeps staggering me how current “finance” works with companies taking enormous loans only to pay the current owners a big haul of money, but all to often taking a big toll on the healthiness of the business.
      I am sure PM will turn up saying how they are giving so much back to the sport, but it simply is not true.

      One wonders, if there shouldn’t be a limit to the tax deductibility of the installments if a company takes on too much loans, automatically reducing incentive to do that (as it would be taxed just like revenue).

    11. Sergio Perez is a good driver. He is yet to impress me on Saturdays but he has pulled-off some noteworthy performances on race day. The way he runs those “reverse” strategies nursing his tyres and find himself with the “wrong” tyres to attack the last part of the race has earned him the reputation of a fantastic driver but we should bear in mind that when he qualifies within top 10 his performances are not that great, I’m afraid he’s just a normal guy when he has the same tyres strategy with top guys.

      When it comes to raw speed I’d pick Maldonado over him, but overall (likability included) I think Perez is a safer bet and being linked with world’s richest man just makes his hiring more appropriate. Good luck McLaren.

      1. TheManyHamiltons
        4th October 2012, 9:08

        I’m afraid he’s just a normal guy when he has the same tyres strategy with top guys.

        ain’t that the truth!

        But credit where it is due. He DID awsome-manage his tires in MAL, CAN, ITA. But, in no way any faster than Koba on pure pace, with koba being faster in qualy given his aggresive driving style.

        pure pace on both kind of tires, my vote goes to Hulkenberg, if only he learns how to manage his tires better.

        1. Yes, sure McLaren could look beyond “rich” and fast South Americans but despite all their sayings I think money played a part, ironically seems that money was not a factor on Lewis move to Mercedes while McLaren wanted a deal that combined a good driver with sponsors attached to him… that’s why I compared Perez to Maldonado. Both Di Resta and Hulkenberg worth a try the latter being my favourite.
          However, McLaren still has Button to rely on just in case Perez performance fails to meet expectations.

    12. No-one mentioning Montezemolo’s comments? lol

      Hes doing nothing for Alonso’s reputation/legacy by saying that. It only reinforces the idea that Fernando cant cope with having someone quick alongside him.

      1. I find it funny how he said Perez is too inexperienced for Ferrari but now says he doesnt want a driver that could bother Alonso.
        Makes you wonder how an “inexperienced” driver like Perez wouldn’t “bother” Alonso…

        1. Maybe Montezemolo either wants a top-driver who is ready to challenge Alonso and good enough to replace him if he fails
          someone who pleases Alonso.

          Perez does not fit in.

      2. It is a bit pathetic, isn’t it? Surely they should relish and respect the opportunity of having two competitng potential world champions? If they can’t manage them professionally that is a sad state of affairs.

        1. Massa must feel miserable…

          1. It sure is a hell of a confidence booster isn’t it.

            1. MS/Ferrari all over again?

    13. Funny Montezemolo.
      If Alonso wins the title, he will get a special present – a second driver who laughs at every joke Fernando is cracking and is ready to make coffee anytime.

      I hope Massa wears a pink bow and pig ears when presented as driver for 2013.

    14. Fernando should win the world title and then we will certainly not put anyone alongside him who would bother him.

      Did nobody tell Luca that Alonso didn’t win in 2010 then?

    15. Luca’s comments confuse me slightly. 2012 has proven that FA is a cut above the rest. Debatable, but not even I imagined a championship lead at this part of the season. Vettel is a world class driver and I would fear him next to FA but that doesn’t mean I think Alonso would lose. Since 2007, LH’ stock has clearly fallen and Alonso’s risen. Make of that what you will, but Hamilton needs to do a lot more for me in close quarters racing. Something he had in 2007. Of all other drivers on the grid and the coming men, almost all have some fatal flaw which needs worked on.

      Now, I am by no means claiming FA is the greatest driver ever, but Luca’s comments are rather unnecessary. Alonso does not need a dunce alongside him. When he joined Renault, Trulli was a top driver. His one lap pace was unreal. Fisichella had a brilliant 2004 season and Alonso a fairly average one. There was no way he was signed to play second fiddle. And Fisico won the first race, albeit due to strange qualifying. In 2007, McLaren believed in equal drivers, something that has cost them dearly imo over the years. In 2008, Piquet was a rookie against a man who had won 2 championships and lost another by a point. Briatore wanted to bed in Piquet with a champion, which could have turned out very differently. In 2010 no-one knew how Massa would fare but it was presumed he would press FA very hard.

      C’est la vie but to say Alonso needs and demands a low calibre opponent is nonsense. He simply destroys the average driver and history proves that putting 2 greats in the car leads to team meltdown. Button or Webber I think would be beaten comfortably by Alonso and they are in their own group behind the de facto top 3. So Luca put whoever you like in the team next to him, but don’t hurt Alonso’s legacy because you think you’re doing him a favour.

      1. Sorry buddy. I think Hamilton has what it takes to beat Alonso, I don’t agree with your suggestion that 2012 Hamilton is worse than rookie Hamilton who managed to bother double WDC Fernando Alonso back then.

        1. @jcost . I think that over a lap Hamilton definately edges it. But in terms of race craft and finishing ability, he is no-where. No-where near himself in 2007 or Alonso just now. Other than Malaysia 2011, you need to look a long way back to see Fernando retire from stupid collisions. These collisions cost titles. In 2007 Hamilton had the ability to come from miles back and overtake with ease. Now every time you see him you fear for a wing. Valencia 2012 is a fine example. Hamilton crashes in close combat with Maldonado (admittedly not his fault but a retirement is a retirement). There’s only so long that you can say that the other driver should give you space. Alonso on the other hand negotiated the traffic perfectly. Rookie Hamilton was focussed 100% on F1 and winning in it. Now his mind is elsewhere and it shows not only in his driving but in his championship finishing postions. For me, Hamilton is a far less rounded driver now than at this stage 5 years ago and Alonso far more mature and in control.

      2. @rbalonso I’m a bit skeptical about the accuracy of Monty’s comments. I tried to search thet Q&A in other sources because at first I thought of an error in translation. But found it nowhere except James Allen’s blog or sources citing his blog. So I wonder if it was JA who did the interview or he made all that up.

    16. It’s my birthday too, not sure why it’s not showing up, I’m pretty sure I mailed Keith right when I joined this site a few years ago.

      Istanbul news sounds promising, but I can’t see a place for it in the already too busy calendar.

      1. @kaiiee When the next round of race contracts comes up and someone isn’t happy about their fees being increased substantially I’m sure Istanbul Park would be interested in being involved.

    17. Anyone read the Rolling Stone article on Mitt Romney.. “Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital”? CVC is reminding me of those deals he did that screwed companies over

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