Tata “very pleased” with first year of F1 deal

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Buddh International Circuit, 2012In the round-up: Tata Communications say their sponsorship of Formula One as a technology partner is a “great platform” as they enter the second year of their deal with FOM.


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Tata Unit Seeks Profile Boost Via F1 Deal (The Wall Street Journal)

“It’s a great platform to raise visibility of the Tata Communications’ corporate profile and portfolio of services to our target customers. We are one year into F1, we’re going into our second season and I’m very pleased with the way it has met our expectations on both fronts?both in terms of the technology we’ve had to deliver and also from the customer awareness and customer ‘wow’ factor we’ve been able to create.”

McLaren Formula One engineers set to cash in on winning formula (The Guardian)

“Nick Henry of consultancy ICF GHK says Britain’s F1 industry has dominated the sport for more than 30 years despite attempts to develop rival hubs in Bahrain, Malaysia and South Africa: ‘The history of F1 is continued UK success in the face of globalisation, which is chipping away at it but feeding its growth at the same time. These are flexible small and medium-sized businesses doing high-quality engineering. There has been churn in [team] ownership but behind it this core of British engineering creates products the world pays for.'”

Interview with Adam Parr (Richland F1)

“I worry that the positive changes of 2008 and 2009 will be squandered. That was a period where people did things that were essential for the sport and to some extent either they put the sport ahead of their own narrow interests or they at least realized that the two were the same. I hope that we do not see that spirit disappearing.”

2014 – Exhaust and Bodywork Regulation Changes (SomersF1)

“F1 has become a place synonymous with high noses a trend that all the team pushed to the limits in 2012 and was the result of the ‘step noses’. For 2014 the formula returns to a lower nose with the regulations requiring the cars nose pylons be a maximum height of 135mm, whereas the current regulations permit a maximum height of 200mm.”

Former F1 team owner to give talk (Bourne Local)

“Baston based former racing driver, Colin [Crabbe] is perhaps best remembered for being arguably the last privateer Formula 1 entrant, when his team, named after his business, Antique Autombiles, gave a first taste of Grand Prix racing to the late, Ronnie Peterson in the 1970 season.”

McLaren’s 50 Years in the making (McLaren)

“By the end of the 1970s McLaren’s fortunes had faded to the point where the team seemed locked in the slow lane and its major sponsors and investors were getting extremely nervous indeed. As a result, title sponsor Marlboro brokered an amalgamation between the team and Ron Dennis’s Project 3 organisation which had been winning races for several years in junior formulae. The newly constituted McLaren International organisation scored its first victory in the 1981 British GP at Silverstone.”

Comment of the day

@Toro-Stevo points out the differences between the elements of Red Bull’s success now and Ferrari’s in the early 2000s:

Whilst I can see what Michael [Schumacher] is saying about Red Bull, their position isn?t as he says ??nothing more or less than what we had at Ferrari??.

In F1 the moment there are other teams which have comparable resources to Red Bull even though they may not be able to use them as effectively. This is partly what Schumacher is saying, Red Bull have structured their infrastructure, budget and set-up to respond better than anybody else. But their budget isn?t necessarily larger than Ferrari or McLaren today. Also, the amount of testing today is limited to an equal amount for all teams.

Compare this to Ferrari at Schumacher?s time, who had annual budgets far in excess of any other team, and the ability and funds to do almost unlimited testing (some years they spent more on testing than the rest of the paddock combined, and three times as much as any other team). Ferrari?s dominance on the track during this era can?t be divorced from their financial dominance despite a good driver/engineering team.

Whereas Red Bull’s success now relative to the equally well resourced McLaren and Ferrari can be attributed more strongly to engineering/driver skill. There are rumours about Red Bull spending more than they should, but even if the rumours are true it?s nothing close to what Ferrari used to do. Therein lies the difference.

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45 comments on “Tata “very pleased” with first year of F1 deal”

  1. Awkward. Has no one told Tata that HRT have dropped out yet?

    1. Tata Communications, not Tata Motors. Same company, different sponsorship deal.

    2. Also, Tata Consultancy Services- their software arm, supported Ferrari from 2005-09. I’m not sure whether they continued that relationship post 2009.

      1. TCS continue to be “Technology Partners” for Ferrari.

  2. Genuinely had no idea Tata had an F1 sponsorship deal outwith HRT.

    1. @cornflakes @calum The article refers to Tata Communications who are responsible for F1 communication. See their logo at the bottom of Formula1.com They are also responsible for live timing transmission

  3. @keithcollantine The pic is misguiding. Users think Tata Communications sponsor HRT

    1. Anthony Bosley (@)
      7th January 2013, 2:09

      Well they did.
      The logo on the engine cover is Tata Communications while the logo near the front wheels is Tata Motors.
      So in that case the picture shows it fine.

      1. Actually the Logo (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8e/Tata_logo.svg) is of Tata Group and applicable to any of the Tata brands…
        The image is still misleading because Tata’s statement is about a partnership with F1, not just sponsoring an F1 team.
        Btw, the Tata Group also sponsored Williams in 2006 and 2007 (at least)…

        1. I think the COTD is kind of bringing out the straw man, I’m quite sure Schumacher omitted referring to differences in budgets, competition and rules because that’s not what he meant. He was clearly talking about the design and engineering teams ability to cope with new challenges, and both innovate and pick up ideas from other teams.

        2. @bakano dont forget Tata Consultancy Services still sponsor Ferrari. They make softwares for em

          1. I wasn’t aware of what Tata company sponsored Ferrari but this one you mention is actually an official supplier and I don’t remember seeing the Tata logo on Ferrari this year.

            Tat was indeed a sponsor of Ferrari in 2009 at least…

  4. COTD: It’s more simple than that. When you have a guy on a team, who knows what he wants and will do anything to get there. Some might call it tyranny or unfair to competition. Well competition better adjust or go play other game.
    I would rather see two Red Bull/Ferrari like teams who spare no resources opposite to Monisha whining about sustainable business or Mercedes trying to force their corporate strategies on the sport.

    1. And that guy have enough influence to fuel his vision of course!

    2. @Kimi4WDC Did you not watch F1 in 2008 and 2009? Without people like Monisha, we wouldnt have F1 today. Team Lotus/Caterham, Virgin/Marussia and HRT would not have been able to enter the sport if the level of spending carried on as it did, Red Bull would have trimmed the fat and sold Toro Rosso on, Williams and Sauber would have invested in another sport, Renault would have sold up completely – which will have meant no Lotus, Mercedes would probably have only stayed on as an engine supplier, Brawn GP would never have been able to continue. So that would leave Mclaren, Red Bull and Ferrari – and possibly Force India as Vijay Mallaya seems to like spending money he doesnt have.

      Further to that, we lost BMW and Toyota.

      If the above isnt an argument for sustainable business and lowering costs, I seriously dont know what is.

  5. I believe this hasn’t been mentioned in the round-ups lately: Force India has signed a technical partnership with 3D Systems Corporation. This basically means that they will be able to ‘print’ components for their wind tunnel scale models, which saves time. Well, not sure if they will be able to save a lot of time with this, but at least it’s pretty cool! Link to article

    1. As a sidenote: the picture featured in the article, isn’t that a 2012 chassis with a 2011 nose? Look’s awkward.

      1. @andae23 Or it could be the 2011 chassis with 2012 livery on it. I’m not to sure about it though, it seems the rear of the car has a close resemblance to the one they had this year.

        1. At second glance: I think it’s the 2011 car indeed. Even though it doesn’t feature the distinctive air intake that the cars had back then, the piece of bodywork below the rear wing was featured until 2011, when they opted for the monkey seat.

    2. I had a tour of the Force India factory a few years ago and they were using this sort of rapid prototyping back then, so I don’t think there’s really much new there. They were using it to try out different exhaust designs since it’s considerably cheaper than wasting bits of inconel!

  6. Good COTD. You can see the professional level of execution they have and money really is of little use unless you know what you’re doing with it!

    1. There are a few other things which benefited Ferrari which Red Bull don’t have, aside from the almost unlimited budget. Including (but by no means limited to..) open development of their engines, bespoke ‘schumacher spec’ tyres made specifically for them and no other team, their own private test track which they could operate virtually 24 hours a day, and of course a ‘special relationship’ with the CRH and FOM which allowed them to get away with all but the most serious violations of the rules, while netting more money from winnings and TV revenue than any other team.

      While it would be naive to try and make out that Red Bull are plucky underdogs, whose success is based on nothing more than grit, ingenuity, and indefatigable work ethics, operating out of a Chapman-esque shed, it’s certainly not fair to suggest that they enjoy anything like the kind of perks that Ferrari were privy to when they were able to dominate the sport. To see this, you need only look at the margins of their success – very slim by anyone’s reckoning. Yes, in 2011 they did dominate, but not half as much as the results suggest, and many of those wins were hard fought and, but for a roll of the dice, could have easily turned out very differently. During the era of Ferrari’s dominance, there were times when literally no other team had any means of coming close to the performances they were able to put in. They’re not the same. not even close.

  7. Adam Parrs belief that Maldonado, Bottas, and Williams could win both championships this year if -the 2013 car is as good as the 2012 car- makes me wonder again, ” how good would that car have been if it had been driven by LH, KR, FA, or even MS ?

    1. That’s pretty interesting indeed. He’s basically saying Williams’ drivers hugely underperformed this season, which they did. But winning the driver and/or constructors championship?.. thats a bit of a long shot even with 2 of the best current drivers. Besides, some of Maldonado’s retirements where due to mechanical failures.

      1. Indeed a long shot, but he suggests the car was capable if driven to its maximum potential, and it often looked like it could. Wish they had kept Barrichello on as a yardstick.

        Maybe with the designs being forced more and more into the same mold we will see the drivers regaining the importance they deserve, even at Williams.

    2. I feel the car was definetly capable of at least challenging Mercedes in the constructors’ championship as we saw flashes of what it was capable of in Maldonado’s hands, particularly in qualifying. I felt it a real shame that Maldonado was so violently aggressive as it cost Williams (and indeed Maldonado himself) deer, so here’s hoping Williams’ tame the beast next year! I’m also looking forward to seeing Bottas competing to see if he lives up to all the hype.

  8. Good explanation of the major aero changes for 2014 but I am still wondering exactly what HAS to change for 2013 if anything.

    If, as it appears, no aero changes are required it will be interesting to see which teams (other than MB who seem to have followed a blind alley design wise) are brave enough to scrap a winning 012 car and design something totally different.

    1. @hohum For a lot of teams, not really anything. The main change is about DRS – firstly that it can only be used within the designated zones in ALL sessions (including free practice and qualifying), meaning that there is less of an advantage for those who have a qualifying-centred approach to their DRS setup. And secondly, that ‘active’ double-DRS systems used by Mercedes and Red Bull (where the moving upper wing element exposes a hole to feed air to other areas when DRS is activated) are no longer legal. Passive systems such as the one which was being worked on by Lotus would still be legal, but nobody has yet managed to make one work effectively. This will likely be a big question for teams; whether they will choose to develop these passive systems, or continue to make tweaks to their exhaust systems. Most likely the latter.

      But yeah, in effect the aero rules aren’t changing massively, so it’s unlikely that the top teams will roll out a significantly revised car for this year. Red Bull and Mercedes will need to change their DRS setups however. I think, in memory serves, Mercedes already have a version of their car without the system which they ran in the latter part of last year, so they may not need to do a lot of work. It wouldn’t surprise me if they just go with last year’s effort and devote their development time to 2014. It worked for them before, after all.

      I’d expect that McLaren will continue to have the fastest car, and this winter break will be spent chasing the technical gremlins which effectively killed off their championship hopes last year. They’re my tip for 2013 champions.

      1. @mazdachris

        I’d expect McLaren will continue to have the fastest car…They’re my tip for 2013 champions

        I reckon too that is a fairly reasonable assumption but I wonder how much of a penalty the more stringent front wing load tests and DRS rules in practice will affect them (and indeed Red Bull. Also, they haven’t exactly got the strongest driver line-up in the world (I think Mercedes own that right): Jenson Button usually requires a very particular set-up and does not a very wide operating window
        Perez is rather baffling to me: he started off the season by putting in some fantastic performances in the races (not so much in qualifying) and then rather lost the boil after signing for McLaren, so in a way I expect him to be similar to Maldonado (i.e he has the speed but not the consistency, although it doubt he’ll be as wild and erratic as Maldonado!).

        So in terms of the driver line-up I don’t expect McLaren to be locking out front-rows (unless they have a significant performance advantage; an increasingly rare thing these days) and I am expecting a strong challenge from Red Bull for sure, Lotus very likely and Ferrari with Alonso.

        The fact there’s an element of doubt in my mind bodes well for some close racing this year and personally I cannot wait for Australia!

        1. @vettel1

          I too am baffled by Perez. Not so much about his performance drop off, but why McLaren thought that he was the best person to put in their car. Someone as savvy as Ron Dennis must surely have seen that most of Perez’s good performances came off the back of unusual circumstances, such as other competitors dropping out, and being on a contrary tyre strategy. In fact, most of the races where he beat Kobayashi came off the back of him being outqualified by Kobayashi, putting Kobayashi into Q3 while Perez went out in Q2 – allowing Perez to have a beneficial tyre strategy.

          I’d hate to think that McLaren were simply swayed by seeing perez finish higher than you would have expected, without actually looking into the reasons for it. For my money, I’d have had Kobayashi in that McLaren, since I think his qualifying ability would be more useful, along with his self confidence, experience, and his ability to race closely and cleanly. Bear in mind that the big difference between Webber and Vettel has generally been in qualifying, and this has been enough to secure three titles, one of which in a very dominant fashion, while Webber has scarcely seemed like a title contender.

          Unlike Perez, Kobayashi managed to score a podium on merit on a dry track with no big tyre advantage. When you look at the circumstances involved, it’s not surprising that Perez dropped off in performance in the second half of the season, when the other teams started to get a bit of a handle on the tyre situation, negating the unusual circumstances which had facilitated his better performances at the start of the year. Ferrari certainly saw it, and it made their comments about it being too soon to put perez into a top car seem more wise than perhaps many took them to be at the time. Of course, I could be proven wrong, and Perez could well take a step up in performance when he joins McLaren. I remain unconvinced for the time being, however.

      2. Thanks Chris, having missed the last 4 races I’d forgotten about RBR going DDRS, I guess Newey will be looking to minimize the losses and analyzing the potential harm/benefit of the qualifying restriction on DRS. I expect (modesty panels aside) that it will be difficult for the casual observer to see the 2013 differences in most cars.

    2. @hohum None of the teams I believe are contemplating designing a new chassis as that would be slightly foolish given the major regulations changes next year but (if we take the engine as one part) 95% of the parts on the 2012 car will not be on the 2013 car (although most of these components will be “evolutions” of last years components, re-sized and re-designed to comply with any new parts that happen to be on the car etc.). So really there isn’t much change for any of the teams barring modesty panels and for Red Bull & Mercedes DDRS.

      I wonder though who will attempt to adopt a “passive” drag reduction system akin to that tested by Lotus’ DRD? Given Lotus’ apparent struggle to calibrate it I believe it may indeed be tricky but I expect Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus & Mercedes (as the latter two were the only teams to test such a device last season I believe) and possibly Ferrari will try and adopt one. In my opinion that’s the thing to look out for in testing, although who knows what they are developing behind closed doors!

      I’m particularly keen on seeing the Red Bull RB9 as I’m looking to see what Newey comes up with and indeed if they opt to still use the driver cooling duct or have a modesty panel (I personally hope for the latter!). And of course as Red Bull fan I’m looking to see if they appear competitive!

      1. Agreed Max, but as we all know appearances can be deceptive and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I for one expect RBRs to be amongst the most competitive cars at first and probably the best or equal best by seasons end just by going on past form and knowing where they are starting from, but you never know when another team will surprise with something new.

        1. @hohum – I agree, particularly in the last point you made as I am expecting Lotus to capitalise on their good form last year and challenge strongly Red Bull & McLaren (with perhaps Ferrari in the mix too with the DRS rule changes and a greater understanding of the F2012 chassis). I have a feeling the DRS rule changes will definetly close up the field in qualifying, which if going by early season last year may mean we see a few surprise grid positions!

  9. I’m a little surprised at this comment from Parr:

    On the drivers, you know, I hated these decisions. There is no question that Valtteri is hugely talented and the team needed to retain him one way or another. On the other hand, I believe in Bruno and that as his weakness is lack of experience and his strength his ability to learn, he will continue to get better.

    If it was just a matter of retaining Valtteri, they should have just put him in WSR 3.5 and give him four or five FP1 outings. It would have been better for Bottas (at least in terms of his development as a driver), better for Senna, and therefore better for Williams too. Of course, that option would have cost a little more money, but with two drivers bringing money to the team, they could have afforded it.

    Finally, I don’t see a huge benefit in doing 15 versus 4 FP1 sessions in a car he isn’t going to race, especially with Bottas doing the Young Driver’s Test as well.

    1. I do agree Senna was handicapped by the testing (or lack thereof) but I don’t think there was much scope for improvement in his driving. I don’t believe he was ever going to reach Ayrton levels of brilliance (contrary to what the man himself led us to believe!) and I think their time was better invested in Bottas.

      However, I did find it strange too why Bottas didn’t drive in WSR3.5 – surely all they have achieved in that is making him race-rusty for the start of this season?

  10. I have two perspectives on the rule changes. Firstly I am really looking forward to the aesthetic elements of the new cars: a return to the lower-nosed, skinnier front winged cars of pre-2009 (although we still have these awkwardly tall rear wings). Also, I like that F1 is putting more emphasis on energy recoverance systems with the new ERS providing double the capacity of the current KERS systems and of course the turbo’s.

    Where I feel the new rules are of detriment is that the rule book is being further constrained, again limiting the scope for creativity (although I have no doubt that someone, likely Newey, will find a loophole/ have found a loophole in the regulations). I also don’t like the retention of DRS as I feel with the rule changes this year it is now solely an overtaking gimmick to “spice up the show” which is unnecessary as the new cars are supposed to reduce the initial problem of “turbulent air”.

    Where I feel the FIA could improve is to do away with front wings altogether and reintroduce a limited form of ground effects: that would satisfy all the criteria (no need for DRS, more scope for creativity and remove the risk of punctures caused by front wings). I feel it would also improve the look of the cars and, if the rear wings were lowered, could make the cars look like streamlined bullets, which is a good thing! Of course the rules will need to be written as such to prevent the ridiculously high cornering speeds of the 80’s to maintain the high safety standard (I don’t want to see any drivers dying) but I feel if this could be achieved it would improve many aspects of F1.

    1. Agreed. The high rear wing may be hard to get rid off due to its secondary purpose of being a billboard, but if we could, I would suggest a single plane element amidships, just behind and above the drivers head (attached to the roll bar and side-pods ) to provide downforce both for and aft in an area less susceptible to “dirty air” and where loss of attached flow would have less effect on balance, also it could be designed to provide additional driver protection and would be simpler to design and police.

      1. Correction…. ,both fore and aft,

      2. The high rear wing may be hard to get rid of due to its secondary purpose of being a billboard

        +1 @hohum! I would like to see a greater scope for aerodynamic design to stop this needless spending of millions on in particular front wings. I’d also like to see more emphasis placed on the things that are more relevant to road cars, i.e engines and drivetrain, energy recovery systems (not akin to those limited by the FIA as I wouldn’t mind a partial spending war in that department) and perhaps even the introduction of hydrogen cars (although I understand Formula E is surging ahead in alternative energy).

        Of course though spending would have to be regulated and by which methods I don’t yet know but I’m sure there’s a better solution than a simple budget cap!

    2. @vettel1

      Personally I think that more formulae should be taking notice of Ben Bowlby’s awesome DeltaWing concept, which has conclusively shown that a different approach can result in cars which are free of wings yet still as fast as conventional race cars, while being more efficient than any of the multi-million pound ERS enabled powertrains thanks to lower drag and weight.

      I would absolutely love for Bowlby and co to produce a beefed up version of the DeltaWing with an F1 power level, in single-seater configuration, to show that a car can be just as fast as current F1 cars while being massively cheaper to build and also being innovative in ways that the likes of Newey can’t even conceive of. Probably will never happen, thanks to the involvement with sportscars, but again it’s one of the many many ways in which sportscars have long since overtaken F1 in terms of being at the pinnacle of motorsport development.

      1. @mazdachris Agreed. It would certainly add some variety to cars which are becoming increasingly similar! I also agree in the sports cars: they may not be as fast in the short run but they are much more technologically advanced than modern F1 cars which means F1 can no longer claim to be the most advanced form of motorsport. That coupled with the cars getting slower each year and we may soon see F1 being overtaken technologically and in speed!

        1. @vettel1

          I doubt that sportscars would be able to get that close to F1 in terms of speed. Just looking at the basic physics – sports prototypes are larger, heavier, less powerful, and have lower levels of downforce to F1 cars. Perhaps down Mulsanne they’d give an F1 cause for concern, but around a proper circuit, forget about it.

          But technologically sports prototypes are already ahead of F1 cars. The hybrid systems being used by the top runners last year were significantly more advanced than the KERS units being used in F1. They are also far more technologically diverse with more freedom in terms of engine layout, configuration, and fuel. We saw a 4WD diesel Audi battling a RWD petrol Toyota, and they were more or less level over laps far longer than you see in F1. They prove you can have you cake and eat it – you can have technical freedom and still have close racing. What DeltaWing proves, is that beyond that, you can have innovation, and most importantly raw speed, without spending horrific sums of money, by approaching the problem from a different direction.

          Without wanting to sound like a stuck record, because I’ve said this often before, but the problem for F1 is that the rules require that teams spend huge sums of money to achieve the kind of lap times required by F1. Those lap times could be achieved by a more developed DeltaWing concept and still come in cheaper than the cost of the average F1 team’s catering budget, while actually being more efficient in the process.

          Doing more with less. Isn’t that what proper engineering is all about?

          1. @mazdachris

            doing more with less. Isn’t that what proper engineering is all about?

            Absolutely, if he were still here you could just ask Colin Chapman! I much prefer design genius over money, which is why I entirely agree with cost cutting but don’t agree with the ever-constricting rules! I would personally love to see a mix of turbo’s and V10’s with six and four wheels battling it out on track but it seems like an unlikely prospect for the near future. What I wouldn’t want to see though is a “Red Bull X1”: that would just be bordering on ridiculous (the drivers would need G-suits and nobody would ever attempt an overtake for fear of crashing violently). So obviously the safety needs to remain but I would like to see more technical freedom.

            I know really that sportscars won’t be overtaking F1 but still I don’t like this trend for slower cars: it seems like negative progress to me.

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