Make cars harder to drive – Horner

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the current cars are “too comfortable” for the drivers.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Christian Horner: what I would do to make F1 more exciting (The Telegraph)

"I’d get back to the cars being physical challenges to drive - to tame the beast. The cars we have at the moment are fantastic bits of engineering, but it’s a little too comfortable, a little too easy."

Christian Horner reveals he has agreed contract extension at Red Bull (Sky)

"I recently signed an extension to my contract with Red Bull, I have a great relationship with Dietrich and my goal is very much on getting the team back to the situation we were in 18 months ago."

Maria De Villota F1 crash car 'pushed into lorry' (BBC)

"Prior to the drive, the HSE documents said De Villota was sent instructions from the race engineer on the day, but they did not include anything about stopping the car or which gears should be selected when arriving in the temporary pit lane."

Fabio Leimer hopes to race for Manor in 2015 (ESPN)

"At the moment it is looking like Silverstone will be my first practice session."

Formula E will overtake F1 in five years, says Branson (Reuters)

"I think four or five years from now you'll find Formula E overtaking Formula One as far as number of people."

Stephen Ross, property billionaire (FT - registration required)

"Now Mr Ross is trying to repeat the trick with another sport that is loved in Europe but has always struggled to break into the US market: F1."


Comment of the day

Did Hamilton need to attend the test he missed in Austria?

Rosberg did around 40-50% more mileage than Hamilton in winter testing, but Hamilton still had a fantastic run at the beginning of the season. Hamilton also said in an interview a couple of days ago that he hasn’t used the simulator all year (except to try out a new pedal concept) – whereas Rosberg seems to use the simulator much more often, apparently (“doing race runs every time he goes into the factory, spending all day on the simulator”) during the winter break.

The point I’m trying to make is Hamilton doesn’t seem to require lots of testing/simulator work to be competitive at a race weekend. Of course, missing out on testing time (and effectively handing that time to your main title rival) is only going to hurt him, but it might not be much of an issue for him.

There’s still time to join in today’s Caption Competition so post your entry here:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Logan00Si and Irishf1!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Keke Rosberg scored an emphatic win on the streets of Detroit for Williams, followed by the Ferraris of Stefan Johansson and Michele Alboreto.

Stefan Bellof, driving in one of his final F1 races before his tragic death later that year, brought his Tyrrell home in fourth place – despite his car shedding its nose earlier in the race:

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

60 comments on “Make cars harder to drive – Horner”

  1. To be honest, in a last attempt to save this sport, at this point I could not care less if Formula 1 became a spec series. The worry about one team dominating and making the sport boring would be gone.

    A lot of people will say that a spec series is against the spirit of F1. I beg to differ, for me F1 has never been about the best teams, or who can design the best car. For me, F1 has always been about the drivers. I want to know who the best drivers are. I don’t care which team spends the most money.

    1. @kingshark: If you allow me I disagree with you because the best talents often ends up in driving for the best teams. Hamilton deserves to be in dominant Mercedes as Vettel deserved to drive for RedBull and Alonso in Renault.

      1. @malik

        If you allow me I disagree with you because the best talents often ends up in driving for the best teams. Hamilton deserves to be in dominant Mercedes as Vettel deserved to drive for RedBull and Alonso in Renault.

        I would say that this is down to chance rather than anything else. There have been countless talented drivers in F1 who never got a chance in a good car. On the other hand, plenty of not-so-talented drivers have fluked their way into a great car.

        1. @kingshark: I will give you examples: Senna started in Toleman, Schumacher started in Jordan, Alonso started in Minardi and Vettel in Toro Rosso after testing for BMW. So talent appears regardless how fast your car is. Bianchi was also a star in Marussia. So my point is that F1 is a competition in every area and the likelihood of talents to be in fast and competitive car is very high.

    2. F1 is about the best in everything. Best drivers and best engineers. Best engines (PUs) or best aerodynamics. Also best race tactics. On occasion it’s been best tyres or best fuel or best rule tweaking. This is one reason I’ve never had a real dedication to one driver as a fan, because that focuses too much on only one part of the sport. Well, not since Graham Hill who shares part of my name and both of my initials. And I was a kid. Another factor distancing me from drivers was the death in that era; I’m glad that’s no longer an ever-present threat but maybe it still affects me as a fan.

      1. @scalextric
        F1 can still be about the best engines and the best aerodynamics, just give this great equipment to everyone, and let the drivers make the difference. Fundamentally it comes down why we watch F1. I watch F1 for the racing. I want to see drivers race. Others watch F1 for the engineering.

        To be honesty, I don’t actually want F1 to become a spec series. I’d much rather have a season like 2003 or 2012, where there is plenty of competition but each team builds their own car. However, if I had to choose between another Mercedes domination show season next season, versus spec series, I’d chose spec series every single day of the year.

      2. Exactly what I feel about the sport. I don’t follow the sport for the drivers, they’re a part of the sport but the main attraction is the constant technological development and the fact that the cars are the fastest in the world. Therefore the only changes I would make to the sport would be making them louder and faster.

    3. You think making f1 into indy is the way to save the sport? The f in f1 means something.

    4. WHAT!?!

      Why should F1 become a spec series? Just go and watch one of the many spec series already around! What would be the benefit? F1 is what it is purely because every team makes it’s own car. That’s the POINT. If you change that, it’s simply not F1. Dominating teams are part and parcel of F1. It’s always happened. From Mclaren, to Williams, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Lotus… If people don’t like a dominant team from time to time then there are plenty of other series to follow. But changing what F1 is fundamentally, to maybe making it more exciting for the people that already have other options… get real. I like F1. I like how it is, I like how it was, and if it changes into a spec series what will be the point? I’ll take up knitting.

      1. Oh, and if you think F1 has all the best drivers, ignorance must be a blessing.

      2. @selbbin

        Oh, and if you think F1 has all the best drivers, ignorance must be a blessing.

        Fundamentally, F1’s top crop probably are the best drivers in the world (Hamilton, Alonso, vettel). The reason to why we have pay drivers of F1 is mainly because of the absurd amount of money teams spend to out-develop one another, and at the end of the day, that does nothing but minimize the difference driving talent can make, and makes F1 more boring to watch in general.

        In a spec series, teams would be wasting significantly less money (win), drivers would be chosen based on skill and talent instead of their wallet size (win), driving talent would make the difference (win), and F1 would be much more exciting to watch (win).

        Again, this isn’t the route I would want F1 to go if I had it my way, but at this point I’d rather have a spec series than the current nonsense we are watching.

        1. Why change one series when another series has what you want? I like the current ‘nonsense’ regardless of the minor flaws. I watch Formula E (it’s on now), Indycar, WEC, WRC (sometimes), GP2, Aussie V8 Supercars (sometimes), and F1 — F1 is still my fav by far. Every race is still fun to watch. Mostly because of the teams. Innovation is the core of F1 as a racing series. Kill that, you kill f1. Simple. I’d rather F1 die outright than turn into yet another spec series! You really think it’ll hold on to the ‘best talent’ then? Fat chance. It won’t be the pinnacle anymore. Just another series. If it ever goes spec F1 will be dead, we’d just have to suffer a pale imitation for a while before that dies, too.

          The Indycar race today was actually pretty good and they have some fantastic drivers. Cars are ugly though. Spec cars, btw. Ugly as hell.

    5. @kingshark Even on spec series, there will be dominant team(s). Also F1 is not about driver. F1 is about pinnacle of technology. F1 is about team sport which said teams can consists of hundreds of people instead of just few people with names you see on TV. Compare it to other sports like soccer or basketball where celebrations usually consists of the players (including the bench) and coach/manager/owner. In F1 celebrations is for all people in the pit and back at factory, because F1 is not and never a driver sport alone.

    6. I think the opposite. It’s all cars and engines for me. Thing is how can you have spec drivers?

      Thats why F1 will always be the a best for me; a mix of chassis, engine and driver. Spec series are always smaller and not cared for as much. Some spec cars are fune for lesser teams as long as the big teams can do what they always have for car design.

    7. They don’t have to make it a spec series to have close racing. They just need regulations that make sure that gaps are not too big and constant between teams.
      In the past the FIA has always moved quickly to change the rules (even in the middle of the season) to stop one team dominance. They seem to be reluctant to do in this Merc domination era.

    8. @kingshark I don’t think spec-series is the way to go but I agree that it would save us from dominating cars. I’ve been saying this for some time now; there’s many wrong things with F1 but the main problem still is dominance from a single team and it cannot be fixed by ditching DRS or bringing V8s back, under the current formula, we either get lucky to have 2 or 3 teams on pair at the front or we make F1 a spec series…

    9. don’t watch F1, then. It’s an all-round competition: it’s like saying I don’t care what are the best dishes one can make, I just want to know who uses the best ingredients. Drivers are part of a bigger equation, wich makes F1 what it is, and (ideally) makes it great.

  2. Two things in my mind regarding the title
    * Ban power steering
    * Limit on how much drivers can adjust their cars during the lap – current system helps them to have optimal car everywhere on the circuit.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      28th June 2015, 1:19

      Only 2 engine maps: 1 for quali (all out); 1 for race (max performance and durability).

      1. Maybe add one for when it rains, but only allow it to be activated once the race is declared wet by race control.

      2. We don’t need more limitations. We need less.

    2. With how much aero load that the cars have power steering shouldent be banned in my opinion.

      1. Easy answer is to reduce aero loads, which would also solve the problem associated with following another car.

        1. Reduce aero load will make the cars slower than gp2. Cannot do that. Speeding cars will make overtaking more difficult. Just nweds 1 dictator character to tell F1 the direction and ignore everyones suggestions as all these suggestions people put forward contradict each other and you end with a compromised mess with no direction. Best thing 1 person who tells everyone what to do.

          1. Not if you increase mechanical grip by providing wider tires that aren’t designed to degrade and open up the regulations so that clever new suspension systems such as FRIC, or even active suspension were allowed.
            There are lots of other parts of the cars that could be opened up for development if we got rid of lots of the aero grip, plus the added benefit we’d see from reducing the huge amounts of drag generated by the current cars and their ugly wings.
            LMP cars are pretty quick even though they’re much heavier and have a lot less downforce than an F1 car.
            If the aero focus in F1 changed from high downforce to low drag it would make the sport far more entertaining.

    3. Add to that manual gearboxes and reduce wings replace downforce with more ground effect.
      GP2 shows it can be done without the dangers of 1980s ground effect.

      1. LMP1 cars have more downforce than F1 the slight speed differential is down to the weight. If there were no rules you would cover the wheels like LMP1 as you get far less drag and more bodywork to generate downforce.

        I think in this fay and age they could make both wings much smaller and have huge diffusers with full ground effects. Cars would be so much faster and they could follow each other better. However increases in speed make the chancre to overtake far less.

        Why do they still allow radio? Let the driver have a picture of the race in their own heads, use their skills in managing a car. There are things called pit boards to give driver info and we can all see them on tv rather than the occasional delayed radio message.

  3. Who is this Branson? Haven’t seen a sillier comment for a long while…

    1. Ever heard of Virgin?

      After being a sponsor for Brawn in 2009, he was involved in the formation Virgin racing, which is now Manor. He also started the airline, record label and spacecraft under the same name, but that’s small potatoes.

    2. you can see where hes coming from… F1 is losing popularity and formula e has come a long way in a short time.

      1. I really don’t think it will, after one season I haven’t heard anyone I know talking about it, it doesn’t seem to have captured the imagination of the small sample size I know. Also noise is a massive part of Motorsport, FE has nothing going for it in this respect. The cars sound horrible, in my mind it’s the worst aspect of the cars, worse than the speed of them. If the public has a similar view point to me then I can’t see any electric series being as big as the big ICE series.

  4. Rather than hoping or fearing that Formula E will overtake F1 at some point, I’d quite like them to merge in about 10, 15 years or so. Let FE act as a test bed for the technology that will eventually replace the current hybrids till it’s able to get close to F1 standards of performance.
    The next few years could be interesting for FE if the TT Zero is anything to go by, at the 1st TT Zero in 2010 the fastest bike only managed a lap speed of 96.8 mph, this year’s winner did a lap at 119.2 mph – that’s an average of 4 mph faster per year and has seen the class lap record reduced from 23 minutes to 19.

    1. I personally cannot wait for the regulation change from gas to electric. I think 10yrs is a reasonable time frame but honestly it could happen sooner. One thing that’s interesting is that a tesla sedan is faster than FE cars and could last the entire duration of the race.

      1. Part of the reason why the Tesla Model S has a greater range is because the car has a battery pack over two and a half times larger than the maximum capacity pack that can be used by a Formula E car.

        Personally, I am not sure that a 10 year timeframe is viable – the only company that has shown any real success with a line up of purely electric cars is Tesla Motors, but even then they’ve only really made any headway within the US and are still operating at a loss.

        Globally, in quite a few places I suspect that a conventional petrol or diesel car is likely to remain a far more practical alternative for the bulk of the populace than an electric car, so I would expect widespread adoption to take much longer than merely a decade if you look to the wider world.

        1. People tend to cling to the past right up to the point it’s irrelevant. Horses are used in many parts of the world where cars are too expensive. Still, electric cars make more sense and will be immensely more powerful than any combustion system. The only thing holding back a fully electric f1 series is the battery weight. Once this problem is gone, or we have wireless power, f1 will be forced to adopt otherwise another series will run it over like an electric freight train. Torque vectoring, negative torque, 4 independent live axels, extremely lightweight motors, these are the technologies of the future and what the public will be intrested in instead of watching drivers lift and coast. Costs will tumble dramatically after initial investments, service time on the motors will be next to nothing, teams can spend more on innovation, and hopefully we would also see the return of active suspension that would have a standardized controller across all teams. A mechanical gear could be added to the system for some added noise so teams could tune the audio signature of thier cars and every team would have a unique sound. Air intakes would eventually shrink reducing the complexity and money spent on internal air flow control. A bunch of other sweet stuff as well. Or you know, we can support big oils domination of the sport and cheer on our great grandfathers technology.

  5. Hearing that Sky & Liberty Global have put out feelers to CVC with a £4.5bn joint offer to buy a controlling stake in F1.

    1. @gt-racer I wonder if that’s the counter offer we were waiting to hear about, with Ross used as the bait..

  6. Regarding Horner’s comments, I can’t decided whether adding or removing regulations would make them harder to drive. I’m inclined to lean towards the latter.

    1. When people are saying harder to drive i don’t think they get what it means.
      The only thing that is easier in this cars are the physical requirements because of less g-forces. The actually driving itself is harder since now they have to control the torque and the gas pedal a lot more.

  7. People keep saying F1 is dying but that’s a load of crap. Some races are at circuits that don’t find the crowds, sure, but others, like Australia, Britain and Canada remain sellout affairs despite the high cost. TV audiences are down but still enormous. And they’re only down because of the pay tv limits. Millions of people still want to watch, but can’t. So many casual fans are locked out. It’s still all over the news and newspapers, all around the world, it’s still everywhere for branding and marketing of products. People still talk about it around the water cooler. Nobody talks about indycar or nascar or WEC. It’s all F1, even some who don’t watch or follow f1 as their sport, they still read up on the results. Some of the regulations are silly, but through it’s history that’s always been the case. I don’t like DRS or the tires, and hated double points, but still enjoy watching every race, even while Mclaren struggles. Most of the ‘problems’ were actually ‘fixes’ to fans complaining about minor issues. Like the whole double points fiasco thanks to Vettel dominating. F1 today is still better than it was in the Ferrari era, despite being slightly slower. I hated the grooved tires. The biggest problem the sport has is trying to please too many people, because they all have different opinions on what’s good or not (except for standing restarts to safety car, thank god that never happened). That’s right, too many people. Just because audiences are down doesn’t mean it’s struggling to find an audience. It would be smart to host the races where people want to attend, and keep prices low, but that’s in bernie’s corner, not the FIA. The business dealings might be silly, but the sport isn’t. F1 has issues, like it always has, but dying? It’s got a cold. It’s bedridden. But there’s no need to amputate.

    1. @selbbin Fair points made, i have watched F1 for about 8 years and my interest in F1 has only increased. I think today we have so many entertainment options that we have become spoilt, but no matter how much they complain, they come back and watch it, which is all that matters.

    2. @selbbin

      F1 today is still better than it was in the Ferrari era

      This may be your opinion, but I couldn’t disagree more.
      For the first few years of the Ferrari era McLaren were putting up a good fight and then Renault joined the fight for the last few years. We only really had two seasons when Ferrari dominated in the way Mercedes are now.
      Even in races where Schumacher ran away from the rest we still got to see one of the greatest drivers of all time pushing his car for lap after lap, breaking lap records several times per race with loads of good battles going on behind him most races.
      The grooved tires were a bad solution to the ever increasing cornering speeds but I’d swap them for the current tires any day of the week as they were still more consistant and far less likely to fall apart when pushed.

      The only thing that’s better now than then is that Mercedes don’t have a lead driver and try to let Lewis and Nico fight on an equal level. Although I suspect that policy would be shelved very quickly if there was another team that was able to fight them in races.

      1. The only reason there was a ferrari era is because merc couldn’t build an engine that could handle kimi. Had they been able to do so Michael would surely have 2 less WDC to his name and kimi 2 more.

      2. @beneboy

        And so far we’ve only have 1 and a half seasons where Mercedes have developed – with Ferrari closing the gap bit by bit. Perhaps don’t be quite so hasty to wish for big changes. Big changes are what allowed Mercedes to dominate so.

        1. F1 was really close through the field in 2008 after years of relative rules stability. When rules are heavily changed the field spreads and always 1 team is well ahead, Brawn 2009, Mclaren 98, Merc 2014. If they leave current rules for another 2 years but allow 32 engine tokens each season at any point it may well be closer than huge changes for 2017.

  8. The biggest problem for Formula E is battery technology, and the second is the circuit. Compared to other technology, our current battery technology is simply insufficient. Hopefully as FE grows, it will competitive enough so teams willing to pour millions of dollars to battery research, however then people will complain the same thing as F1 now with being too expensive and dominating teams. For the circuits, the problem they all just straight-chicane-sharp corner-repeat. I don’t know why the organizers don’t pick more interesting circuit out there.

    1. There’s an easy way to solve the battery problem.

      Carrying energy in fuel is more weight efficient than batteries. Stick a small engine (1L turbo?) in that
      constantly runs an tops up the battery at some average power consumption rate and the problem
      is solved.

      Same effect could be reached if you disconnect the drive shaft from an F1 hybrid engine, shrink it
      a bit and run only the MGU-K.

      Oops, convergence ;)

      1. I wont work. Fuel has more potential energy per weight that is correct, however the majority of it will be released and lost as heat. Also instead when you using an engine(basically just a generator at this point) to convert that to electricity, more energy will be lost to run the engine itself. Its more efficient to put all those into the driveshaft right away than to charge the battery. Remember, the worst enemy of efficiency is heat, and even battery itself loses some of its energy as heat.

        Also the point of Formula E is to prove that we can remove dependency from fossil fuel, although ironically most power plant is still using fossil fuel as the source (thus any electric car that charged from those source is actually using more fossil fuel than petrol car). However we know how to get electricity from other source so it’s a good alternative for the future.

  9. That report on Maria’s crash, although sad in showing how avoidable the whole thing was, didn’t say anything which hadn’t been thoroughly speculated about before.

    My immediate thought (and of many others I’m sure) was “what was a lorry with an open tail lift doing in the pit lane anyway?”, because that’s an accident waiting to happen just in terms of pedestrians wandering around, never mind race cars. Most delivery trucks with a tail lift leave one person standing around behind it while it’s in use so they can watch out for people. They certainly don’t leave it sitting there with the tail lift down.

    During a race we often hear engineers repeating the same procedures to drivers when they’re coming in to pit ” yellow map g1 and box, box box “, to much ridicule about why the drivers would need to be told the same thing every time, but as this shows, complacency breeds mistakes. Skipping details like this with a driver who’s new to your car isn’t acceptable really.

    And finally, many questioned whether Maria should have got an f1 contract when it was announced, and whether the problem of pay drivers was going to lead to unqualified people behind the wheel. There are elements of tragedy here, but it’s difficult to see someone like Alonso or Vettel coming into a test without being sure of everything about the car. If they weren’t given information they would have asked for it. It’s difficult for fans, as in the case with Jules Bianchi, to accept that sometimes the person behind the wheel might be a factor in what went wrong but in both cases I think it definitely contributed.

    Hopefully the lessons of this have already been learned in the paddocks of motorsports everywhere.

    1. As you suggest, most thoughts are speculation. My speculation is she was trying to create a good impression (as any potential F1 driver would want to do), and simply wanted to get the car closer to the truck to make loading it easier for the pit crew, but forgot about the turbo lag, and when the engine seemed unresponsive applied a bit more accelerator than was actually necessary.
      Safety would suggest she should have been given a place to park the car and told to park it pointing away from the truck.

      1. @drycrust Turbo lag? The MR1 was powered by the 2.4 V8 (as were all during the 2012 season). No turbo. Read the article, it seems it was the anti-stall and a driver who didn’t know how to put the car into neutral (or disable anti-stall). Also noted was her difficulty operating the clutch with the wheel at full-lock.

        1. @psynrg Ha ha! I’ve made a fool of myself. My thanks for correcting me. It sounds like there was a lack of training. However, you are correct, I should take the time to read the report.

  10. Formula 1 sounds like a broken record right now, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen articles where team principles/ex drivers/current drivers say the current formula is not exciting enough/the cars need to be harder to drive. I’m losing interest real quick because everyone is saying this stuff, including the fans, but nothing is happening. I know there are changes coming in for next season with tyre availability and further changes for 2017, but I feel these changes aren’t really getting to the heart of F1’s problems which I understand to be costs and the engine regulations, unless you are powered by Mercedes.

    I’m happy the cars will be getting faster because theoretically that means they should be harder to drive, I just wish we could have something to answer everyone’s concerns because it’s winding me up that every time I log onto an F1 website the headlines are basically the same as they were 2 months ago.

    1. you are supposed to be wound up.

  11. I am always glad to read the comments on this forum! There is a culture of posting well-thought, well-written, relevant comments. And disagreements are handled with maturity. Great community!

  12. Horner – Make cars harder to drive

    your Red Bull is pretty hard to drive (drive ability), the Mercedes is quite easy ;-)

  13. Too comfortable to drive? I never heard you said that while you were winning.

  14. “Horner – Make cars harder to drive”

    There already hard enough for Kimi to drive.

  15. To make F1 interesting to watch, I would run the first race of the season allocating starting position by lottery or the inverse position to the driver/car championship position of the year preceding.

    Then every race in inverse order of finishing position at previous race.

Comments are closed.