Richest teams ‘forcing smaller rivals out of F1’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One’s four wealthiest teams are accused of trying to drive their rivals out of the sport by introducing franchised offshoot squads.


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Big F1 teams accused of power grab (Autosport)

"It's basically a way, with the commercial interests behind it, for the teams that want to do it, to tap into more income which they otherwise couldn't have."

Max Mosley wants two sets of F1 rules (BBC)

"Income should be distributed equally. Bernie says that is communism and the big teams would be against it but it is a sport and sport demands a level playing field."

Jenson Button: I may not overtake anyone tomorrow (ESPN)

"I don't think I'll overtake many cars tomorrow, I think I'll be a long way behind to start with because of the penalties we all incur in the race - whether it's a stop and go or a drive through, which I think it will be, but I'm not sure yet."

Ricciardo 'pissed off' after Red Bull qualifying (F1i)

"Q1 and Q2 we did a build lap then a push but it felt by Q2 it was taking too much out of the tyres so by Q3 we thought we should be able to hit it but I couldn’t – it wasn’t ready. We just can’t seem to get a sweet spot and I think this is sort of bringing out the frustration."

Daniel Ricciardo still smiling despite struggles this season, but for how long? (The Telegraph)

"If we’re to get these results again next year, and don’t move forward, then I won’t be happy."

Why Rosberg had to use 'bad' set of Q3 tyres (Motorsport)

"Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff was being coy on exactly what his team does, but confirmed his team was doing all it could to ensure it had the best tyre sets available."

Formula E could be motor sport’s sustainable future despite opposition (The Guardian)

"No purist will ever accept a gimmick called Fanboost, giving spectators a chance to vote, via the website and social media, for drivers to receive a five-second surge of extra power. In the organisers’ first post-season debriefing, that feature needs to be knocked right on the head."


Comment of the day

The plan to bring back refuelling appears to be dead which is what most F1 Fanatic readers said they were hoping for. But not this one:

I don’t understand the unanimous opposition to refuelling, not even the fans are up for it. I see many benefits.

Refuelling alone would make the cars four seconds faster.
Refuelling would allow the current power units to ensue, and still achieve the ‘five of six seconds quicker’ idea
Refuelling would actually be the least expensive method of making F1 ‘five of six seconds quicker’.
Refuelling would end under-fuelling strategies (highlight Red Bull 2010-2013) that further monopolise the pole sitter.
Refuelling would shorten the car’s wheelbase enhancing the car’s looks.
Refuelling would put more pressure into the top teams, as any pit mistake, weather change or Safety Car period could cost them the race and perhaps benefit an unlikely winner.
Refuelling adds one more variable for teams to work with.
Refuelling removes some of the stress from the drivers and PU manufacturers.


It’s more costly than not having refuelling.
It can potentially be more dangerous to pit crew (safety rules could fix this)
It can shift the racing to the pit lane rather than the track, although this situation is still true with the “undercutting rule” (this effect can be rendered irrelevant if the tyres stay as degrade-able as they are).
Pennyroyal tea (@Peartree)

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On this day in F1

Pedro Rodriguez beat Chris Amon to the finishing line by 1.1 seconds in the Belgian Grand Prix on this day in 1970. It was the last time the race was held on the original, 14.1-kilometre long Spa-Francorchamps course.

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46 comments on “Richest teams ‘forcing smaller rivals out of F1’”

  1. The thing I don’t like about refuelling is that it leaves little room for flexibility.

    Let’s say, with the current rules, a driver is planning to do a 20-lap stint on a set of tyres. After 19 of the laps, he radios his team to say the tyres are still feeling fine and that he can extend the stint. A couple of quick calculations later and the team gives him the go-ahead to stay out. He is then able to do a shorter stint on his next set of tyres and push harder as a result.

    Now, what if he had been fuelled for exactly 20 laps? “I want to stay out.” “Sorry, we need you to box this lap.” End of discussion.

    The COTD mentions “adding one more variable for teams” as a benefit, but I’d rather see some of the variables removed so races become more about the drivers’ skills. Bringing back refuelling with the current generation of tyres – which are currently one of the biggest variables – would be a mistake.

    1. A wheel of fortune is a cheap and equally entertaining way of adding variables if we must have a way to ensure the fastest car/driver combination does not win.

      1. @hohum What about a penalty lottery? Disguised as inconsistent stewarding ;)

        1. Yeah, but we already have that, we need new stuff.

      2. @hohum
        EXACTLY. I don’t understand why some want more “variables” in racing? I want to see the best driver/team win. I feel that if you’re going to earn it, you deserve a fair chance to win it…not some wheel of fortune factor.
        Everyone keeps trying to find artificial ways to come up with closer racing. It is NOT a secret what needs to be done. Get rid of the huge dependence on front wings for downforce and use underbody tunnels and ground effects.
        Many engineers in the paddock today (and from the past) have said this, yet NOBODY is even looking into it. There is no mention of it in any of this half wit poles, nobody even proposes it for the Strategy Group to consider…even though we know they’d just debate it and do nothing anyway. But D&MN, could someone at least talk about it????

        I’m truly confused about that one. Does anyone have an explanation for why it’s ignored?

        1. @daved I was thinking about this these days. I’ve heard this sometimes, yet nobody at the rule making level even considers this. People also used to talk about having larger front tires to have more mechanical grip, yet we all we see is aerodinamic grip being encouraged.

          1. Yes, Gary Anderson wrote about it again over on Autosport recently. And I’ve seen Craig Scarborough discuss it a few times as well as others.

            “There is a simple cure for this: namely, a much less sophisticated front wing and an improved underfloor.”
            He wrote that in an article on May 12th on the “Plus” side so you have to pay to read it, but he was explaining the problems with large, sophisticated front wings and how they were the real cause for us having to use DRS to get any passing at all in F1 these days.

          2. @corix Sorry, meant to tag you on the above comment :)

          3. Wider tyres, less aero.

            Sorry, my daily repeat of this mantra just in case anyone who can make a difference is listening.

          4. @john-h Yes, that is what is needed. Yet they’re going towards more aero. But at least they’re going towards wider tyres…but it sounds like they’re only going to do that in the rear which means we’ll be even more dependent on front wings to keep the grip balanced front to back.
            So this probably won’t help with the need that @corix mentioned above about needing more tyre grip in front.

    2. @estesark A race I would use to kinda add to your point is the 1993 Portuguese Gp.

      Going into the race Benetton had planned for Michael Schumacher to do 2 stops, But in the race they found tyre wear was better than expected & Schumacher decided he didn’t want to do the planned 2nd stop & that helped him win the race.

      Add refueling to that race & he’d have had to make the 2nd stop for fuel.

      I would also add that fuel strategy was decided by the strategists, They did there calculations on Saturday based on where they expected to qualify & the driver had very little input & there was also very little room to change strategy in the race.
      With no refueling its more in the hand of the drivers, The strategist’s can still play a role by looking at gaps & where they will feed into traffic after a stop but as you say a driver has more say on if he feels he can extend a stint based on tyre life without been forced to cut a stint short because he only has x laps of fuel & therefore has no choice but too stop on lap x.

      I think the only problem currently is the tyre rules which force teams to run both compounds with Pirelli picking what compounds they run. I’d rather we go back to what we had before refueling was introduced in 1994 with teams having complete freedom on what tyres they ran & how many times they stopped (Or didn’t as it wasn’t uncommon to see a driver run non-stop back then).

      1. Congrats on getting COTD, well deserved!

    3. The funny thing ignored in the comment from @peartree, is that the proposal to re-introduce refuelling was also PAIRED with re-introducing RACE FUEL qualifying. Robbing us of the one time when the drivers really go all out, full speed, minimum weight and show us what they are capable of in their cars @estesark

      A big variable indeed, but certainly not one that will show us faster cars. As far as I can remember the drivers unanimously hated that (even more than they dislike having sluggish cars at the start now), it played a large role in giving us highlights like Singapore 2008 and I cannot say that there were many fans who liked that either.

      If the cars need to go faster (nobody really explained why), they will have to be easier to drive for safety reasons IMO.

      We should rather look at ways to take away things like super grippy brakes, make sure that its hard to manage the torque from the engines/powertrains (like we saw early last year, giving a clear view of drivers on edge) and, yes, change aero and tyres to be less fickle when following another car so that they can keep pushing behind for laps in a row to try and find a way past.

      I would also think about a special prize (monetary, give it a sponsor name for each race or something and make an event of it) for exceptional qualifying or race performance. Maybe we could get a team to try something extra that way?

      Lap times might drop even further, but it would pose more challenges to the drivers without getting into gimmick terrain or taking too many options out of their hands. All things a sport should do.

      1. @bascb I didn’t know that race fuel qualifying was going to be paired with refuelling. Nevertheless I didn’t mention race fuel quali. I mentioned refuelling, like in the good old days (not 00’s). You keep using LeMans (shambolic) to say what F1 should do, LeMans is as in the past 50 years far from being a sport, it is a show, the teams make the rules race the cars pay and pocket from the event. The beloved LeMans cars refuel. LeMans cars refuel more often than F1 cars. Sprint racing vs Endurance is all mixed up.

        1. Hm, so, when were these “good old days” @peartree? The 1990s when it was introduced to help Ferrari catch up? Shame we wouln’t get engine diversity back with it (the V12s slurping a lot of fuel was one of the reasons Ferrari was keen on it) or the time when it was used before it was first banned?

          On the subject of LeMans, I don’t know why you bring it up here (I didn’t mention it in the discussion, and rarely hold it up as an example for F1 at all), and do not think its that relevant to compare.
          That said, I actually think it might be a very interesting component to add to the challenge for endurance cars to go the distance without refuelling (especially with huge differences in the engines), and certainly fitting with the endurance badge!

          1. @bascb “Good old days” 1950 until Renault and then Ferrari pushed for Turbo engines and thus started the age of teams and its sponsors monopolizing the ruling of F1. I mentioned LeMans because many people who don’t know a thing about Wec keep mentioning it as the best racing there is currently. Anyone that actually is interested in those cars and the LeMans race knows that it’s rules are very unjust and incredibly blurry and convoluted.

          2. YEah, well, my comment had nothing to do with WEC though @peartree. And I fail to understand why you want Refuelling back and then talk about the 1950s – ’70s because there was no refuelling then either, simply because it took them far too long to do it as a viable strategy. Instead its more likely drivers were struggling and sparing the cars trying to keep the cars working long and well enough to make it to the finish in a good place.

          3. @bascb More specifically 50-84 and 84 because that was the year refuelling was first banned.

  2. Apologies in advance for my rose tinted specs, but watch that clip from 1970,a full grid, cars drifting through corners inches apart, V8’s and V12’s swapping the lead, different winners at the 4 preceding races, truly (safety aside) a golden era, even given the amazing stat that Rodrigues had lapped the circuit 10 seconds quicker in a Porsche sport-prototype than he was in his F1 car, shades of future past.

    1. Thumbs up for your rose tinted spectacles.

  3. Refuelling: Better (27%) – Worse (58%). B-teams: Agree (48%) – Disagree (42%).

    Interesting to compile the two ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ categories for both polls.. Refuelling is voted out by majority, but B-teams are very close, with 8% undecided. Slightly agree (36%) is followed by strongly disagree (25%). Is that a hesitant “we want top juniors in those cars, however the demise of independent teams is a bad thing”?

    Arguably, a more equitable money distribution would solve that problem, just as Max Mosley proposes!

    1. I think most of the people who voted in support of the smaller teams would not want to hear Max Mosley campaign for them.

      I don’t even know why the man feels his opinions on things concerning Formula one are anymore relevant considering that the state of the sport today can be linked directly to his actions or inactions while he was in charge.

      Apart from the unbundling of the commercial rights to you-know-who that took place during his time in office, the 100 million dollar fine given to Mclaren is difficult to forget. No matter how bad Mclaren’s actions were, there was no point in such punishment.

      You punish to hurt or teach a lesson but never to cripple. And anything that is detrimental to the survival and full participation of an F1 team is the enemy. So Mosley should take his advice and stuff it.

      1. @tata, in the interest of justice I have always hoped that it was Ron that tipped off the papers.

    2. @fastiesty, from memory I think I was one of the 36% slightly agreeing with customer cars. I slightly agreed on the basis that it might work if well regulated and the supplier and customer teams were “firewalled” apart, I would want something along the lines of
      1: Constructor teams must supply B teams with their chassis, complete except for front wing, floor and any other aero add-ons for $x, (x being decided by the FIA as a fair price to cover the cost of construction + a modest profit to help offset design costs)
      2: Any engine supplier must supply any B team with their engines for $y .
      3: ditto gearboxes.

      So the B teams could buy in the expensive parts, do their own aero package and engine mapping, it might be a good idea to reduce the amount of parts a team can purchase as time goes by to force them to move gradually into the constructor group, alternately they might only be allowed to buy the safety cell and PU respectively and have to manufacture the rest, I would not want to see B teams running cars identical in every respect to the A team.

      1. @hohum Sounds like that’s what Haas is gonna do with Ferrari, buy it all in except the monocoque and chassis design (built by Dallara).

      2. @hohum I think the main problem with the customer car thing is that more money keeps going to the rich teams. I really prefer the idea of a shared or co-developed chassis for the smaller teams.

  4. Just watched Jay Leno’s garage on the Nissan LMP1 car, reminded me of the days when F1 cars weren’t all the same and designers were free to explore different ways to achieve the fastest laps with only engine size limited by regulation, sigh, la vie en rose.

    1. PS: You should check it out too, just search “Jay Leno’s Garage” on youtube, a great site for all car guys/galls.

  5. I know I might be wrong, I’m maybe clinging to much on the subjective aesthetical benefits of refuelling anyway I don’t believe refuelling was the reason why the last “refuelling era” was pretty dull. It might well just turn out like the Bahrain GP, no one loved it (I always did) and now everyone focus on its qualities.
    @hohum When a variable is the same for everybody (weather) it’s not a lottery? I don’t think so. It is veritable triumph that 2011 Canadian GP!

    1. @peartree, I’m happy to have real variables like weather affect the race, I just don’t like contrived variables.

      1. @hohum If you would allow refuelling, all teams would design their cars with smaller fuel tanks, all teams would take advantage of pitting for fuel and so it is a natural constant what would make it a variable is its affect in considering all the variables, and how fuel would affect each track, that said all these are equal for everyone. I can’t see how F1 spends 2h on a fuel tank and endurance racing 30 minutes, it makes no sense.

        1. I can’t see how F1 spends 2h on a fuel tank and endurance racing 30 minutes, it makes no sense.

          As mentioned in our exchange above, that is actually a good argument for Endurance racing cars to have to last the distance without refuelling too :-p

  6. As for the customer car (that wollf-fanchise-car thing is just rubbish) I really hopes it turns out the best for the smaller teams.

    The big guys have to understand that we all (the sport as a whole) need them. And they may have to be forced to think with their brains and not their pockets, so if the EU has to step in to regulate it, so be it.

    1. @corix, I wrote about this in reply to @fastiesty above, unfortunately it has been selected to be withheld until approved by mgmt, as seems to happen all to often to even the most boring and inoffensive of my posts.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        7th June 2015, 9:04

        @hohum, does anyone know what the trigger is to earmark a comment for monitoring?
        Or is this as random as the wheel of fortune you mentioned above.

        1. Black helicopters. If this comment gets printed, it’s because we are being observed…

  7. Mclaren better telling people that they will on the podium by years end.

    Focus on next year!

  8. Those two articles about Ricciardo, is the one giving an answer to the first one?

  9. Interesting insights in those tyre things. I really would love it if some of the TV crews would do more background things on F1 featuring drivers, technology, race weekend approach etc. Its not as if they have anything more interesting to fill their mid week programs with on the dedicated channels.
    And its content that could grow into a nice cashcow for the future (SKY F1 Background reports DVD set 2015 etc., also available as download/watch on demand for xxx)

    1. Yep +1 @bascb there’s so much more fascinating stuff they could tell us. Rosberg was saying his team knows all about Ferrari’s FP fuel loads, engine modes and the whole saucerful of secrets.

      I’ll bet that conversely Ferrari know exactly what MGP are doing with grading the tyres, that Toto is being so coy about.

      The only ones who don’t know are us fans.

      1. indeed. Huge missed opportunity IMO

  10. I really can’t see any benefit in refuelling. Dangerous, leads to costly errors for which drivers, again, won’t be able to do anything about, and it’s expensive.
    I don’t really care of 5-seconds faster cars as long as they are able to overtake each other.
    Improve mechanical grip, remove front wings, fair income distribution and voilà!

  11. if you want the big name manufacturers to keep dominating F1 you will..

    1. keep boost unlimited
    2. keep the fuel restricted to 100kg per race
    3. do not allow refueling

    it doesn’t get any simpler than that. Of course lack of diversity destroys opportunities as well. Over regulated and controlled racing is really just ad space for the factories, and the small ‘manufacturers’ are obligated to the bidding of their factory masters.

  12. The smaller teams need to form a cartel themselves like the top teams do, if the small teams cannot continue on the actual funds they can draw in & not debt of any kind then they should pull out & withdraw from F1, big changes need to happen & nothing at all is going to change, there isn’t going to be a compromise because turkeys are not going to vote for xmas, it is the same as the finical fair play rules in football, they were brought in to stop the likes of Man City happening again threatening the top teams, Man City are owned by a billionaire that is giving money to Man City (via a company that eventually intends to make money) but Man Utd are owned by people who have used the club as collateral for a loan Man Utd are in hundreds of millions of debt, it makes no difference that they have a lot of money coming in, Chelsea are the same, all the money that they get from Abramovich are interest free loans, that is why all the top teams voted for financial fair play to protect themselves, but now those rules are changing to include debt.

    What the smaller teams should do is bluntly say that they taking part in F1 is no longer viable & pull out as soon as they do that & actually put it into motion nothing at all is going to change, i am not talking about bluffing or brinkmanship, actually put all the drivers on notice & let the sponsors know that next season they are not going to be involved in F1 & be prepared to walk away, if Bernie & the top teams have no problem with the smaller teams leaving then they made their bed, let them lay in it.
    F1 is nothing without the fans, i am not going to say that the smaller teams owe us fans anything, because they are in F1 to make money.
    It is time to make a stand once and for all because all the smaller teams have done is compromise over & over again it’s about time they stood up for themselves & stopped making idle threats.
    I am becoming more & more disillusioned with F1 as the years go by, i would rather have F1 blown apart for a couple of years to get it back to what is should be, there is no gain without pain, it would be better to have chaos in F1 for a few seasons because at the moment i couldn’t care less about what goes on or off the track where F1 is concerned.

  13. Mantra of ‘good old times’ going over and over… I’ve spent some time thinking about it and ‘went back’ in time, when I started to follow F1. When I say follow I mean to understand more interesting details about cars and drivers and F1 competition in a whole, not only watching races ’cause I did it before Monaco GP in 1982. After dwelling virtually in the past I’ve noticed one very important detail. I’ve never heard that anyone in the eighties said: “Let’s do it like they did it in the seventies, or sixties…” No, people involved looked only at future! Raising safety standards and improving the sport technologically all the time. In my opinion every era of this sport has its specific challenges and we have to take it on as they come. Looking back all the time is the same as trying to drive a car looking in the mirror and not the road ahead. I find it dangerous indeed.

  14. Re: Ricciardo’s frustration. It’s kind of funny. Last year, Vettel coming off 38 wins and 4 WDCs in 5 years is given a dog of car that on the best of days could legitimately hope for 5th, 3rd or 4th if a bit lucky. Not once did he express how frustrated he was. But here’s Ricciardo “If we’re to get these results again next year, and don’t move forward, then I won’t be happy.” Shouldn’t it be enough for him to be beating his teammate lol?

    Think of all the people who were saying Vettel should have stayed with Red Bull this year and been motivated to beat his team mate and to “rebuild” Red Bull. This is a Newey designed car, not sure why they could be struggling beyond the PU ;)

    Vettel showed a lot of grace and maturity last year considering the circumstances. Ricciardo could learn a bit from his former teammate. (for what it’s worth, I like Ricciardo and clearly behind that smile is the honey badger)

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