Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2015

We must learn from “terrible accidents” – Button

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2015In the round-up: Jenson Button urges motorsport series beyond F1 to learn from the accidents suffered by Jules Bianchi and others.

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Should be blame drivers for the recent spate of tyre problems for not sticking to the track limits when they aren’t forced to do so by the rules?

You know what you call a driver who sticks to track limits when others don’t?

A loser. Those tenths of a second matter.

So they have two choices. Lose, or try to fix the problem. Enforcing try limits, fixing tyres, something.
RP (@Slotopen)

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  • 57 comments on “We must learn from “terrible accidents” – Button”

    1. @slotopen I wish I could write a concise response like yours. You summed up the core inner fight the driver has, and the battle they have with officialdom

    2. “(Red Bull) are maybe a privileged customer, but they are a customer. We are a works team so the relationship is very different.”

      Boullier needs to look to the COTD, if you aren’t winning, you’re losing, and given neither Red Bull or McLaren are winning this year, perhaps, some reassessment needs to be done by both sides. It seems RBR are busy getting on with trying to secure a Ferrari engine, while McLaren are busy fending off the media currently sitting idly waiting for Honda to get their act together.

      1. oops I hit post too quickly. I meant to finish off with:

        The McLaren and Honda relationship is no different to the one RBR and Ferrari are about to engage with, the works relationship that Mercedes have with the Mercedes team is a fully integrated works team. Honda is the square peg to McLaren’s round hole.

      2. @dragoll Like Ferrari in 2014, Honda are waiting for 2016 when they have enough tokens to fix their turbo compressor..

        1. @fastiesty I agree with the Honda side, however, I think Ferrari have been gaining here and there time, and its a matter of time til they find enough time to actually mix it with the Mercs, even if we see it in the last race of the year. I don’t necessarily think Ferrari will do it purely with the ICE and related components either, they’ve been finding speed with different mappings, fuel, and other bits and pieces, if they keep it up, they’ll get there.

          I’m reminded of the 1997 season, where McLaren slowly progressed forward up the field through the year, they won the last race of that season. In 1998 they backed that up with a 1st and 3rd in the WDC and won the WCC.

          1. @dragoll I like the parallel with 1997, but with Mercedes making another big jump forwards with the new engines I think it’ll have to wait for 2016, and the chassis side jump Ferrari can then make (with the extra Haas windtunnel time) to try and get the car as well as the engine close to the Mercs.

            RBR and McHonda will just hope to progress to 3rd and 4th fastest packages with better engines and be mixing it with Williams..

            1. @dragoll @fastiesty It is relative isn’t it. How one team does vs another from one year to the next not only depends on how the one team is evolving but the rate that others are doing so or are not. When I think of 97/98 I’m reminded that Mac only won Jerez 97 because MS had damaged JV’s car and JV needed to at least finish 6th to secure the WDC so let both Macs go and took third rather than try to fight them. Otherwise without MS’s antics it would have been an MS/JV or JV/MS 1-2. And in 98 Renault stopped evolving their engine leaving JV handcuffed in his Williams to do much about the evolving Ferrari’s and Macs. Then MS broke his leg and that changed the equation for Mac too. Not saying Mac wasn’t also improving through 97 and 98.

              Regarding this coming season I expect Merc will still be the team to beat with Ferrari much closer than this year, and hopefully McHonda much stronger as they should be able to tackle some technical issues while having learned a ton from this season about the crucial marriage of PU and chassis.

    3. @Slotopen Excellent post! Clearly the drivers are not to blame. The rules are not the answer either. They’re subject to negotiation and uneven punishment. A gravel trap however does not negotiate and it’s punishment is the same for everyone. Would anyone dream of exceeding track limits at the gravel trap bordered Parabolica? And this year they all did it

      1. Exactly!

        But it was paved for the bikes so what are ya gonna do?

        Whiting lost the plot a decade ago.

    4. Concise and potent COTD. The best drivers abuse track limits not because they are deliberately teasing the FIA, but quite simply because it makes them faster. That’s why it’s drivers like Vettel that often receive the brunt of the critical onslaught.

      1. @vettel1
        If the rule isn’t enforced it stops being a rule and becomes a suggestion.
        Drivers tend to ignore suggestions about how to drive slower.

        1. Exactly. And the rules have been an inconsistently-enforced farce for years, if not decades.

          And the person culpable for that, at the end of the day, has to be Charlie Whiting. It’s high time he stepped down and let somebody with even a vague sense of sporting fairness assume the job, because all appearances suggest that he believes his job to be spicing up the show, rather than establishing a sense of sporting fairness.

        2. Well said! That should be the COTD. @beneboy

          And we all know what happened when the FIA failed to enforce the double waved yellow ‘slow down and be prepared to stop’-rule and made it just a suggestion!

          1. @coldfly
            My thoughts exactly mate, hopefully we won’t have to wait till someone pays with their life before the rule makers decide to enforce the track limits rule again.

    5. FIA need to enforce track limits, simple as that. No turning a blind eye, no investigations if they gained a ‘clear’ advantage, no “this corner at this track you can cut, but not that corner at that track”. If they go four wheels outside the white lines in hot lap/qualifying anywhere = lap removed. If they do it in the race, give them two warnings, on the third, penalty.

      1. @weeniebeenie While I agree that would sort out the issue of drivers continually abusing track limits, it introduces another issue of drivers lap times continually being pulled and we’ll get into situations in Qualy and even Races where they are ruined because we have to wait for penalties to be confirmed and given. I maintain that if a driver crosses the line at the end of the race 1st, then they should win. Obviously if they blatantly cheated to get there, then DSQ them, such as fuel flow limits, lack of fuel, weight penalties, the FIA minimise these penalties by carrying out random checks throughout the weekend, but a driver pushing too hard and sliding off the track and being penalised for a one off incident is going to cause no end of grief for drivers, spectators and teams, and a media meltdown for Bernie to deal with.

        1. @dragoll It’s simple though, once you tell the drivers they can’t do something, they usually stop doing it, like the times they’ve been specifically told they can’t cut X corner. Some still do is accidentally, but most play ball because it’s the rules.

          That’s why I said a three strike system would be better for the race though, because accidents do happen although in many cases it would be easy to tell where they went off because of a mistake and where they went wide on purpose.

      2. Agree 100%. There should never be any excuse for going beyond the white lines, because once you do so you enter a grey area. Where, precisely, is the limit of the track, if it is not the clearly-painted track limit? There isn’t one, and so the stewards have no way to act with consistency.

        If the track markings don’t define the correct boundaries of the track, the solution is not to ignore them as Whiting does. It is to have the incorrect markings ground off the track or painted over, and new markings painted in the correct position.

        It hardly takes a genius to figure this out, but Whiting and co. have apparently not managed to do so.

    6. Suppose they could just put a (minimum) one-metre strip of grass on the outside of every single kerb and before the run-off area on every corner deemed safe for such greenery.

      1. Grass is OK. Something which sticks to your tyres more and slows you down significantly for at least a few corners would be much better. It’s high time that going off track actually penalized the driver with a worse lap time again, rather than rewarding him with a better one.

        I really, really miss the days of proper gravel traps that ended your race if you got lazy or pushed too hard.

    7. They could also just stop racing, that would be the safest option.

      1. @rethla
        They could also go back to leather helmets, take away the HANS device, seatbelts, fireproof overalls, on-board fire supression systems, crash structures, bring back steel fuel tanks, and let the fans sit right next to the track.
        Maybe then there’ll be enough people dying each weekend to keep you happy.

        1. Yes it would. The problem is not that people aint dying the problem is that there is to much racedestroying saftymeasures as it is. There will always be a line between safty and racing but some people think safty should always be prioritised and the only way to achieve that is to not race at all.

          Make a tough helmet and crashstructure = ok
          Make all the tracks into straights with chicanes and 1km runoff = not ok

          Thats my oppinion anyways.

        2. @beneboy Taking the wider view that motorsport carries with it inherent danger is not the same as wanting more fatalities. It’s facetious of you to jump to that conclusion.
          It has to be said. A one sided safety driven discussion can only end with the banning of motorsport.

    8. I find it curious that in the article on track limits that there wasn’t a mention of the pressure sensing system used by the BTCC last year, that seemed to work pretty well for catching those abusing track limits.

      1. It also (or a similar system) works well in V8 Supercars. However, these sensors are usually placed in just a single corner on a track (T1-2 chicane at Adelaide, for example); covering something like the Sochi track where potentially every corner can be cut would be a nightmare.

        1. @kaiie

          covering something like the Sochi track where potentially every corner can be cut would be a nightmare

          I can think of an obvious solution to that problem… :-)

          1. Can you award yourself cotd?

    9. I think the Mclaren management should just keep mum on anything to do with their relationship with Honda. There were high hopes pinned on the Spa update of the engine and as usual Honda ended up showing little or no progress. While I do not think Mclaren will publicly bash Honda in a Horneresque manner, I think they will be cutting off ties pretty soon if they do not get back among the top 3 teams on the grid.

      My prediction is that by Spa next year, Mclaren would announce that they are done with Honda

      1. The chances of that are pretty much nil. McLaren are well aware that the rules are rigged against any team that doesn’t have Mercedes engines, and that there’s little to nothing Honda can realistically do to catch up. They have a signed contract they almost certainly can’t get out of so soon, and they will be waiting and hoping for a big step up the grid at the next significant rules change, because realistically, that is the only chance any engine manufacturer has of catching up with Merc thanks to homologation and engine lifetime rules which were originally intended to be enforced only with approximate parity between engines, not when one manufacturer had a huge advantage over the rest.

        Every true F1 fan should be calling for homologation and lifetime management to be scrapped *unless* we either bring the engines to approximate parity (as was clearly the intent of the rules we set a decade back when engine homologation first became a part of the sport), or for a switch to stock engines. A regulations-enforced advantage for one manufacturer while not allowing others to catch up by limiting both their ability to develop new parts and/or test them on track is clearly unfair and unsporting, which is why I haven’t watched any but the first handful of races for the last two years.

        1. That is twisting the present to distort history. The rules were written before any of the teams had their engines built. Renault were more active in the push for the new rules.
          Honda had enough time to prepare. Of all the engine manufacturers they had the opportunity to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the other engines. They could have tried 2 or more different configurations.
          F1 has changed. There is no time to learn or improve systematically. You must be best prepared before you start.
          Ferrari said this years engine is completely new. How is that possible under the rules.

          1. No, it is not twisting anything. It is factual and supported by the history: When homologation was first introduced, the engines were quickly brought to parity, with those who were behind being allowed to catch up so that the playing field was at least approximately level.

            The intent of homologation and testing bans was never to regulate an advantage for any specific manufacturer over its rivals and prevent them catching up. However, that is precisely the situation we find ourselves in now. The very fact that no engine manufacturer has even managed to come close — and that the gap this year is demonstrably even larger than last year’s — should in itself be an indication of that.

            As for what Ferrari says in public, it’s meaningless, just as is the PR from any team. It is a physical impossibility for the engine to be completely new, because no team has enough tokens for that, and some parts of the engine are specifically set in stone at this point.

            The only engine on the grid that is truthfully completely new is Honda’s, and they suffered a near-total lack of experience on which to base their design. The last time they were successful in F1 was so far ago as to have essentially zero meaning or relevance in the modern era. Their only experience in the last decade was, to be frank, a pretty dismal failure, and I’m not certain why anybody would have expected otherwise from this new effort.

    10. Regarding the COTD, funny that the driver who lost out most was the one abusing the track limits the most. Isn’t that ironic?

      On the other hand, Mercedes told their drivers to stay on track after they understood the dangers of going beyond the track limits from Rosberg’s cut tyre. Apart from Hamilton overcooking it the first lap I think they did stick to it mostly and low and behold, they won!

      1. @patrickl

        the driver who lost out most was the one abusing the track limits the most

        Is that true? Kvyat was given a warning for abusing track limits but as far as I’m aware Vettel wasn’t.

        1. Well @keithcollantine, if the stewards didn’t give him a warning then CLEARLY it never happened!

          Honestly, if you’re going to start dismissing whether or not an incident occured simply because the stewards didnt give a warning or penalty, you may as well give up!

          1. @nick101

            if you’re going to start dismissing whether or not an incident occured

            That’s not what I wrote – I asked whether it was true Vettel was “the one abusing the track limits the most”, as evidence suggests he wasn’t.

            1. Your “evidence” shows no such thing.

              The stewards apparently only considered it “abuse” if their was an advantage gained. Whatever “advantage” means I guess because straight lining Radillion would seem an advantage to me.

              Indeed Kvyat had a coule of overtakes where he was going off-track.

              That was only a few incidents, but the stewards counted that as more severe.

              Kvyat was on track for most of his laps. Vettel didn’t run a single lap fully on-track. Going off twice per lap. So yeah, that’s the most you can do.

      2. @patrickl

        On the other hand, Mercedes told their drivers to stay on track

        Do you have a link for that?

        1. Don’t remember where I read it. It was a whole article about all the things Mercedes had done to investigate the problem (for instance paint on the bodywork to determine if it was rubbing on the tyres) and to insure it wouldn’t happen again (decrease camber, increase pressures and tell drivers not to go off-track).

      3. @patrickl nonsense comparison. Mercedes have so much speed in hand that they effectively can afford to drop some tenths and still not be challenged for the win. The others don’t have that luxury and need to find every bit of time they can.

    11. Just wondering if Renault will spend its remaining PU tokens on making this year’s unit better, or setting themselves up for 2016.
      I know what I would do, especially after all the mud-slinging by RBR/Horner earlier this year.

    12. Button should shut up. This great sport of ours cannot change into some tin-top formula. So what if some people died? Death is part of the sport. Closed cockpits are not.
      Right?

      1. It’s hard to take your statement seriously.

        Danger is a part of the sport, but let’s not forget that F1 is also at the pinnacle of motorsport safety. If driver injuries and deaths can be avoided, then that’s the 1st priority. It’s not like we live in Medieval times and watch gladiators die for entertainment

        I don’t think open cockpits are essential to the sport, and I think the real fans will watch formula 1 even if they looked like Lemans cars.

        1. @todfod, I think you will find that there are still a number of individuals out there who do want something more akin to a gladiatorial fight.

      2. Right.

        Most of the other drivers are openly against it. I read Button’s comments and think he’s too old for the sport. Like him, respect him, hope he stays in F1, but his opinions on closed cockpits, i can’t support.

        Racing is dangerous. Closed cockpits aren’t the solution.

        1. In 2017, it’ll be 50 years since the Protos F2 car ran with a windscreen that covered the cockpit.. I’m sure we could make it work, that car had a wooden chassis for God’s sake!

      3. I don’t see why there is such a lot of “Never in F1” comments. Our perception of what is right or wrong is governed by our own expectations. If we believe F1 has to have open cockpits simply because of the past is wrong. No one complains about rear engined cars, aerofoils, digital speedometers, full face crash helmets, radiators on the side of the car, or having gear change levers on the steering wheel, none of which were there at the first F1 GP, so why the animosity about closed cockpits? We accept F1 cars being at the cutting edge of technology, and closed cockpits should be allowed simply because there is a demand for it and the technology is available. Some drivers want them, some probably don’t. We should be guided by issues like safety and what is practical.
        I can see open cockpits were, when the engine was in front of the driver, probably essential for safety, but may have been a cost saving measure as well. Those reasons probably aren’t so important now as they were at the start of F1.

        1. Because open wheel and open cockpit is the very foundation of F1. That’s why other motorsports exist for other categories. If people want F1 to become WEC, go away and watch WEC and leave us F1 fans with what we want.

          And there actually were lots of complaints about wings and paddle gears. When wings were first introduced they were considered ludicrous and suicidal because of the speed held in corners. Ie: dangerous.

      4. “F1 shouldn’t change!”

      5. @wsrgo Are you saying that Button, who continually risks his life for the sport, should not be permitted a comment on the issue, but yours is more valid? I agree with your premise but I fear you have nominated the wrong person.

      6. Amazing how many people missed the sarcasm :D

        1. Not amazing at all. Sarcasm is an art. You need to work on it some more..

    13. I can’t believe Haas isn’t going to test like crazy before they’re officially in F1. It would be daft not to.

      Then again, if the rumour is true that he’s seriously considering Gutierrez for a drive, it won’t matter anyway.

    14. It can not be outwith the abilities of engineers to produce tarmac which has an extreme ‘slowing effect’, I seem to recall that some motorways have tarmac which slows cars down. It would not have to slow cars down very much, tenths of a second are a big deal in f1, just so long as it slowed rather than sped up cars. Anything loose like gravel, slippy like grass or astroturf, or sharp or angled like kerbs are a safety issue. Visual checking and applying penalties can allow perpetrators to be missed. There has to be an immediate effect, which can not be flouted and is safe – so slow-go tarmac is the answer.

      1. @lass321, are you thinking of something along the lines of the high friction paint that is used at circuits like Paul Ricard?

        The thing is, they have also used that type of paint at other circuits, such as in Abu Dhabi, and it seems to have had a fairly small impact. There are other racing series that have raised objections too – FIM are particularly vocal, as a motorcyclist who was thrown from his bike and ended up sliding across a tarmac area covered in high friction paint could potentially suffer from severe lacerations.

    15. One idea that has been put forward is for the run-off areas to be painted with a series of parallel raised lines.

      I’m not sure how practical it would be, but maybe install something akin to traffic light vehicle sensors into the surface of the off track limits at the corners, which activates something like an orange light (visible via a video feed in Charlie Whiting’s office) if a car or motor bike goes outside the track limits?

      1. Whiting’s ‘office’ would end up looking like the local disco…..

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