Drivers still not convinced by F1’s hybrids – Vettel

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says drivers still aren’t convinced F1 has gone in the right direction by switching to V6 hybrid turbo engines.

The new engine formula increased last year has led to much quieter cars, which some claim has hurt F1’s appeal. Lap times also rose in the first year with the new engines, indicating a reduction in car performance levels. However this may also be due to new aerodynamic restrictions introduced last year, and so far this season lap times have fallen and top speeds continued to rise.

However Vettel remains sceptical about the change and claims other drivers share his view.

“I think the power unit, for us drivers – well, it is what it is,” he said during today’s FIA press conference. “I think we’re not probably at the same standings as the fans in terms of sound etc…”

“There’s a lot less grip which as a driver is obviously not the right direction”
“Obviously it is a step back but in terms of the technology behind it, it is incredible. The question still remains open, whether we need it or not, that’s for everyone, individually, to decide, I guess.”

According to Vettel, there are other aspects of current F1 car design which drivers are unhappy with.

“I think obviously the cars changed massively from ’13 to ’14, not just the power unit but also the car itself,” he said. “So I think for all of us it was the experience that there’s quite a lot less grip available, which as a driver is obviously not the right direction to go in because you want to go faster.”

The introduction of the new engines coincided with Vettel’s only win-less full season in F1 to date. However he said he is happier with this year’s car, which he scored his third victory with last weekend.

“There were some things that I had to get used to and for sure, at the beginning of the year, last year wasn’t great, getting the experience with this generation of cars etc…” Vettel explained.

“On top, I had a difficult year for many reasons but yeah, I think much more in control and comfortable with this year’s car compared to last year’s for many reasons, but I don’t think it’s down to the power unit really.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    63 comments on “Drivers still not convinced by F1’s hybrids – Vettel”

    1. I don’t think he exactly said that. Watching the press conference, or even reading the quotes you can see that…
      He’s probably not convinced personally, but I think it sounds a bit misrepresentative to imply that Vettel specifically claimed “drivers are still not convinced by F1’s hybrids”.

      1. Whether he said it like that or not I still think it might be true. Espcially the generation of drivers who have driven pre-’14 cars. If I’m driving my S3 to work everyday and all of a sudden I have an A3 I will still say it is good but somehwere I know what I have experienced in the past was better and I’ll want that instead of what I have now despite it being perfect enough…

        1. Not an A3 TDI, I hope. That would be even more of a let down.

      2. I (obviously) disagree. Vettel was asked a question about his driving style but he answered with a reply about how drivers in general (he referred to ‘us’, ‘us drivers’, ‘we’ etc…) felt about the new power units and revised aerodynamics. Referring to the power units he said “obviously it is a step back”. That is negative in two senses: not only are the engine are a retrograde step but it’s clear that they are. While he qualified that with an appreciative remark about the technology I don’t think you can hear or read what he said and be left with any impression other than that he feels ambivalent at best about the new power units and considers that view reflective of what other drivers think – as summarised in the headline.

        Incidentally, when you say “you can see that”, if you’re taking issue with something I’ve written then you can take it for granted that I can’t or I wouldn’t have written it the way I did!

        1. When he says it’s a step back, he’s talking about noise etc. I agree with ireni.

          1. @moran350, That’s how I read it too, “noise bad, technology incredible”. Using noise as the most important criteria for F1 we should change the engine regs to 1.5 L supercharged 12 cylinder engines, no limits on fuel-flow or rpm.

        2. I was at Hungororing a month ago and I did miss the sound of the V8s but I can live without it. New PUs are not that bad in terms of sound.
          I think drivability is worse than before and it influences drivers opinion greatly.
          Most people I talked too did not point the sound as the main problem of current F1, the bulk of people who shared views with me were asking for more competition and “people beating Mercedes” as put by a British fan sitting in front of me. It ended up being an eventful race won by a red car and I saw a lot of happy faces leaving the circuit.

        3. “That is negative in two senses: not only are the engine are a retrograde step but it’s clear that they are” ? I don’t understand that, not the sentiment or the sentence.

          Anyway, I am all for progress, but I really miss the awesome sound of the V8’s. For me, a big part of the magic, of the atmosphere, has gone, and its a shame.

          1. @phil-t I’m sorry, but the V8s weren’t ‘awesome sounding’…

            They were boring ear-piercing noise boxes that had none of the throaty majesty of the V10/12s they replaced or the subtle nuances of the V6 Hybrids, plus they were all essentially the same, so gave us boring races and necessitated an aero arms race to differentiate the cars.

            1. Each to their own isn’t it, I loved the sound, as one commentator put it, “the earth-shattering violence” of all of the normally aspirated V’s, 12,10 and 8.

            2. @Optimaximal

              They were not quite as mega as the V12’s, but they were still awesome sounding.

              The current sound at the circuit is dire.

      3. Agreed.

        Q: (Ben Edwards – BBC TV) Sebastian, when hybrids came in last year, with the Red Bull, you didn’t seem that comfortable with it, certainly at certain points during last year. Last week in Singapore, you put on a display that showed you are absolutely at one with the car. Has anything changed in your driving style with the hybrid cars? And can you just talk through that change a little bit?

        SV: I think obviously the cars changed massively from ’13 to ’14, not just the power unit but also the car itself. So I think for all of us it was the experience that there’s quite a lot less grip available, which as a driver is obviously not the right direction to go in because you want to go faster. So there were some things that I had to get used to and for sure, at the beginning of the year, last year wasn’t great, getting the experience with this generation of cars etc. On top, I had a difficult year for many reasons but yeah, I think much more in control and comfortable with this year’s car compared to last year’s for many reasons, but I don’t think it’s down to the power unit really. I think the power unit, for us drivers – well, it is what it is. I think we’re not probably at the same standings as the fans in terms of sound etc. Obviously it is a step back but yeah, in terms of the technology behind it, it is incredible. The question still remains open, whether we need it or not, that’s for everyone, individually, to decide, I guess.

        1. Reads to me that vet blames the aero more than the PU for less performance, I’d agree with that. All drivers said the new pu’s have more torque & HP is not far off what it used to be.
          The article title is misleading & not something Vettel actually said.

        2. Obviously it is a step back

          We may have different interpretations of what Vettel meant by “it”. I’m not sure myself, but I believe he’s most likely referring to the noise/violence of the engines.

      4. He has said on a number of occasions that the cars lacked a certain element of danger and that goes beyond the hybrid system. Ever since gimmicks like DRS and ERS were introduced, the cars and the level of competitiveness has been taken away from the driver and put mainly on the engineers and strategists to win the race and this is the crux of F1 drivers complaints. With talks of having a closed cockpit, we might as well just have the drivers sit behind a PS4 and race from the motor home. I’m sure Ayrton is rolling in his grave if he saw the cars today.

      5. It’s the same as me claiming I represent the fans, where as I only represent many of them!


        One gimmick is enough. I choose to keep DRS and drop the rest of the lame.

    2. I’m not convinced, either.

    3. Cost & development limits aside, the only problem I’ve got with the engines is the fuel flow rate, and the limits on how much energy can be harvested and deployed.
      I’d love to see how fast they could go in qualifying with unlimited fuel flow, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least a few tenths knocked off racing lap times if they could harvest and deploy as much energy as they wanted.
      Although it doesn’t really matter while we’ve got clown car tyres limiting performance so much. But as the drivers aren’t allowed to mention that any more I guess we’ll be hearing a lot more complaints about the engines instead.

      1. Vettel driving up to 3 seconds slower than he could just to preserve his tyres showed that once again.

        1. It is strange that tyres are much harder than in pre-14′ and the tyre management only went up!

          1. Torque I guess.

    4. It must be really disappointing for the drivers to drive in what is now ‘F1-lite’.

      I watched the 1989 Japanese GP last night, Senna and Prost in the 3.5 litre V10 McLarens. I realize some change is inevitable. but it was so much more impressive than what we have now that it hard to even see it as the same sport.

      1. Put that 1989 McLaren on the current grid and it would be over 8 seconds a lap slower. The speed today is much faster and therefore the forces the drivers have to deal with, in the same way in the 1930’s if internet sites had existed some would say the motor car is not real racing not as physical as riding a horse.

        I also believe driver fitness has evolved to such a degree they would not even be slightly troubled by driving 1980’s F1 cars.

        1. Physically, today’s cars are harder to drive because of the high G-forces and other factors, but 1989 F1 cars were less safe than today (although far safer than cars from, say, 1969) and definitely more mentally challenging to drive. Those cars were not only harder to drive than today’s cars- the understanding of aerodynamics then was simpler and less understood than now, all cars in that year except for Ferrari’s still had the old-fashioned clutch and stick-shift transmission system, and the tracks back then were a bit bumpier and most of the run-off areas were not as large or non-existent (with just guardrail) and just about all were gravel-traps and grass. I imagine most of today’s driver’s would not at all have a problem driving those 1989 cars- but whether most of them would actually want to race them at full racing speeds is up for debate.

          1. *Those 1989 cars were not only overall harder to drive than today’s cars-

      2. @paulguitar I wouldn’t call the turbo era of the year previous to that F1-lite though…..

      3. 1989. That’s the the year DriverA screwed up the start leaving DriverB with the race to himself. But DriverA is so much faster he catches DriverB, loses a minute, pits, then still catches and passes DriverC for the win, while DriverB’s compatriot arranges to have him disqualified on a technicality.

        And all at 8s a lap slower as @markp says.

        Those were the days, eh!

        1. It is interesting that even though they were actually slower, their appearance was to be massively more exciting and they certainly looked a lot faster. That is down to how finely honed the modern engineering is, I suppose, but it certainly makes the idea of simply making the current F1 cars much faster seem as though it has not been thought out.

          The biggest difference though, that hit me when i was watching the 1989 race, was the utter lack of ‘saving tyres’… It was just Senna and Prost, absolutely flat out in incredible sounding cars that were clearly very hard to drive. it was mesmerizing. The 8 seconds a lap slower situation is utterly irrelevant.

          1. Yes it was amazing as were cars in previous years which again were much slower again, I only take issue with implying current cars are F1-lite as if they are slower and less exciting than the great example sited of 1989. The current cars are not easy in fact they are very hard as Brundle found out when crashing a Force India at Silverstone. That current cars are less exciting to some will never change as with modern technology that cannot be un learned we will never again have the movement we had then. Modern WEC look glued to the track but are very exciting but Group C or before at LeMans really moved about but personally I find WEC no less exciting for this. TV is a bad way to show the speed of the modern cars as in real life they are amazing, stand at Stowe and watch a 1989 car v todays and they are both great spectacles but the speed of modern cars is amazing, on TV this does not come across unless they do a demo with a 1989 car v today.

          2. I believe the main reason why todays cars look kind of slow and easy to drive are the tracks. I mean of course there’s the the fact that the track is basically painted on an ocean of tarmac so vast you can make out the curvature of the eart trying to look from one barrier to the other. But even if you ignore that, the tracks themselves (even the classics) are just so freaking flat. No bumps upsetting the car whatsoever. Of course its boring to look at!

            1. There are tons of bumps on current tracks but the suspension, chassis, and tire have advanced massively between 1989 and today.

          3. Yep, tyre / fuel saving is the scourge of modern f1.
            The days of flat out raceing, super sticky tyres, unlimited testing and special engines just for quali were great.
            Post safety car is generally great as cars go flat out as they then have more than enough fuel to complete the race.
            Bring back ground effect, increase the fuel carried and max flow, remove restrictions on energy recovery/deployment and let them go raceing. Oh and make teams have to offer their tech to others (with acknowledgements), would be great to see a manor with Merc engine, redbull aero, Ferrari ers/kers and a choice of tyre.

        2. F1 was at it’s peak back then- from 1985-1993 were absolutely the best years ever of F1, with IMO the high point of F1 being from 1979-1997. The cars looked great, they sounded great, they looked like they needed visible effort to be driven, and the drivers and their rivalries back then were incredible- it’s a period F1 hasn’t seen since.

          1. I agree to a point but then we can say this with all things. 26 years ago the series production supercars were slower than the hot hatches of today. A few years back Bruno Senna lapped Monaco faster than his uncle ever did but you have to take this in the context of progress. What we are saying here would of been said in 1989 in reference to 1963. People then may have said Prost and Senna had it easy next to Clarke et al. I like to think more contemporary and embrace what F1 has now as well as a very deep respect for the past, sadly F1 has issues as it always has and the fans like the teams strive for perfection, this will never be reached as my perfection is different to others and so forth but I hope we can agree the current F1 with some tweaks holds a potential that the majority can celebrate if the powers that be can change a few details.

      4. I find it funny how you talk about the old cars that had less g-forces and were slower but less grip and aerodynamics and were harder to control as an example of how bad the cars now are when this cars have exactly the same elements compared to the V8 cars in the Red Bull years.
        They have less aerodynamics and slightly less g-force but have stronger engines for straight lines speeds and less grip and are harder to control with more torque etc. That is the difference of this cars to the previous V8 cars and that is why all the “easier to drive” claims are nonsense. They ain’t easier to drive. They are harder to drive when it comes to the skill of controlling the car. What is easier in the g-forces on your neck.
        Drivers though don’t like the fact that their cars aren’t on rails and they have to be careful on how they control the pedals. They just want to keep their foot down while going threw Eu Rouge without worrying the car may throw an oversteer or untersteer at them. Sure that may feel great for them inside the cockpit to have a perfect on rails car that goes at half the corners flat out but for the spectacle and chances to overtake is very very very bad. And that is why drivers getting what they want isn’t the best choice at all.
        If the 2017 had a lot more aerodynamics to go fast threw corners and achieve the faster lap time thing then the racing will get even worse and following a car will be even harder.

    5. Drivers and spectators want faster cars, but faster cars carry more energy into accidents increasing the risk to drivers, marshals and spectators. That is the dilemma for the rulemakers – do they give people what they want and increase the risk, or do they bow to pressure to reduce risk.

      Drivers in particular are not known for being risk-averse. Some would say you have to have to be a high risk-taker to get into the sport. Some drivers are very bad judges of risk and are regularly involved in accidents. Should they be given what they want even if it puts others at risk?

      If rulemakers do bring back more risk, and we go back to the old fatality levels amongst drivers, marshals and spectators, will manufacturers and other sponsors still want to be associated with the sport? If not sponsorship money will dry up, spectator numbers will fall, and the bubble will burst.

      1. Agree to a certain degree with you, F1 is always about compromising what different people want and the unhappy ones always make the most noise so whatever changes are made complaints will always be at the forefront of the news and blogs. Thing is 2004 cars were faster than today and there were no serious accidents, although coincidence in some cases in 2009 the cars were slowed and a driver was injured, 2014 cars were the slowest for many years and the 1st death in 20 years occurred. Cars from the 1960’s were much slower than later years but had many more deaths so there is not a positive correlation in F1 history between the speeds of the cars and deaths. What has had an impact is a drive for improved car and circuit safety.

        1. @markp, actually, a driver was seriously injured during the 2004 season: Ralf Schumacher fractured two vertebrae and suffered from concussion when he crashed during the US GP, missing a third of the season as a result of his injuries.

          1. Ok my memory is not great. Still overall cars got faster from 1994 hitting a peak in 2004 then not getting much slower there after until 2014 when the next death sadly happened. Car and circuit safety outstripped the dangers of increased speed. Bianchi died because of a crash at a circuit without the in built safety of modern circuits but when you think about it someone put a tractor with exposed sides in front of the safety barriers, hitting the stranded F1 car may not have been as bad. Had we had tractors with some sort of barrier attached this tragedy may never of happened. Modern circuits or all current circuits can take faster F1 cars without deaths occurring if the damn tractors were sorted.

            1. Whilst there were no fatalities for an extended period of time, there were nevertheless still a number of quite serious injuries along the way – even in 1994, many forget that Wendlinger had a serious accident in the Monaco GP that left him in a coma for several weeks and effectively cut his career short (although he returned to the sport, he was never able to regain his former performance).

              The cars did get faster, but there was a lag between the increase in speed and improvement in safety and there were a number of serious accidents in between, in part because some safety measures could only be applied retrospectively once an accident occurred and people knew what could happen.

              Hakkinen had a near fatal accident in 1995, Panis broke both of his legs in 1997 and Schumacher broke his leg in 1999. Luciano Burti also had a major accident in 2001 that, although he survived, resulted in a concussion that caused him to retire from the sport, whilst Button was forced to sit out of the 2003 Monaco GP due to concussion injuries.
              Even as recently as 2011, we saw Perez struggling with the after effects of his concussion in the Monaco GP – Perez has admitted that, although he was able to compete in the European GP, it took several months before he was able to fully recover from that accident.

              If you include the accidents that occurred during testing sessions, then you should bear in mind that Heidfeld had an accident in 2005 that forced him to miss races (albeit compounded by an accident during training, he would have missed two races even without that training accident).

    6. Hey if the salesman can’t convince me to buy something I’ve been watching for 2 hours for the last 25 years then who can? So I just started watching other things,
      and that’s how they are slowly loosing me. I’m replacing one addiction with another….

    7. Can’t help but take Vettel’s comments with a grain of salt. If he becomes more of an active challenger to the title, will he have the same tone regarding the new formula?

    8. I personally love these power units, There certainly better than those under-powered, torque-less V8’s.

      These current V6 turbo hybrid power units are already producing a lot more power than the V8’s (V8’s were around 750-800bhp, Current Mercedes is a little over 900bhp) & they are creeping towards the sort of power output we were getting from the V10’s (Around 900-950bhp) so there certainly not ‘slow’ or ‘boring’ as some claim.

      I kind of get the argument about the sound not been as loud but to be perfectly honest I think they should better than the V8’s which I always thought sounded awful. Yes they were very loud but the actual sound was dull & flat with no real difference between the various manufacturer’s, It was to me just a very loud noise which you couldn’t even properly appreciate because you had to wear ear protectors.
      I’ve been to the Spanish Gp in 2014 & 2015 as well as some of the pre-season testing & these current V6 turbo hybrids IMO produce a much better sound than the V8’s, Quieter yes & I wouldn’t complain if the volume was increased but the actual sound is better.

      1. The current PU’s have a 600 to 650hp ICE. An additional 160 HP is available for some time but not the whole lap. Maximum Hp would therefore be 810 Hp. Can you provide me with evidence that the current PU’s have 900HP available? Otherwise I doubt what you say is true.

    9. The new engines may not have quite caught up to the old V10s yet in terms of raw power, but they’ll get there soon enough. Technologically, they are more advanced, and that is for a lot of people an important aspect of F1 as well as the sheer speed and power of the cars. It looks to me — at least from that interview — that the lack of grip is a much larger problem for the drivers, which is to be expected.

      Personally, I’m much happier with the sound of the current engines; I can now actually comfortably sit through a race in person with ear protection, which is great. There was something to be said for the almost unearthly scream of the older engines, and on TV I do think they sounded better, but in person I think the hybrids have a more interesting sound with more layers to it. For me at least, my ears not being in pain is also a plus, but I guess for some that’s not so.

      Partially because the hybrid engine sound has more texture, it’s not coming across particularly well in broadcasts, but that is actually a problem with the recording and sound mixing process and not with the actual sound produced by the engines themselves. I wonder how much that has been looked into — paying more attention to sound capture and processing for the races could go a long way to removing some people’s complaints about the new engines by really bringing out their actual sound.

      1. I was at Monza and think the cars sounded less agressive than on TV. I liked the tone, but am missing a bit of rawness to it. Still whore earplugs tho.

      2. I’ve said before that I think the problem with the sound on TV is more down to the individual broadcasters than how FOM themselfs are capturing the sound. The broadcasters (Sky, BBC, NBC etc..) re-mix the track audio they get from FOM in order to put there own commentary over it & i’ve noticed that the quality of the underlying trackside audio tends to vary dramatically from broadcaster to broadcaster.

        I’ve also seen some of the raw broadcast that comes straght from FOM & the audio is far better on that than what you get after the broadcasters have played with it. Its the same for the in-car feeds, On the broadcasters main feed the volume is very low but when you watch one of the raw in-car feeds on sky or the bbc website the volume is much louder.

        I know the equipment FOM use is some of the best available & that the people who work on the TV stuff at FOM have always put a lot of time/effort into the sound. I remember back in 1998 for instance we spent a seemingly crazy amount of time/effort into the best places for the trackside microphones to get the absolute best stereo separation we could get & were constantly fiddling with mic positions over the years to ensure it remained the best it could be. We even brought in outside audio technicians to help with the audio setup in the TV trucks.
        I also know that FOM put a lot of effort when they started producing a 5.1 mix a few years ago & that the same care/attention that was taken when we were doing the stereo setup in the late 90s was put into getting the 5.1 mix as perfect as it could be.

        1. That makes a lot of sense. It would be odd if FOM wasn’t putting in that effort. Hopefully the broadcasters will step it up at some point, then!

          1. @gt-racer , @remmirath , It’s very sad, all that effort and the result at home is so bad compared to what a fan in the grandstand achieves with his GoPro and Youtube.

            1. With GoPro’s, Mobile phones/tablets & those kinds of things you always tend to get a more aggressive audio recording the microphones used in these things tend to be very basic which generates more distortion in the audio which often makes things seem a lot louder than they actually were. They also pick up far less sounds & frequencies which also causes distortion.

              The professional broadcast setups tend to pick up more sounds & the audio mixing as well as things like the mufflers that are put over the mic’s avoid the distortion & tend to give a crisper sound.

        2. – Amateur track-side, vs. – Kimi lets rip with higher revs for 2 gears, so there is potential for louder sound.

 pre-season testing 2015 at Barcelona, better capture than the amateur footage above.

      3. An engine sound connoisseur ;)

      4. I’m looking forward to this weekend from a noisy point of view. I noticed the TV sound was really good at Suzuka the last couple of years – noticably louder and more raw than other races, and the differences between a Ferrari, Renault or Mercedes were clearer. Don’t know if that’s some local technical know-how or just an older track where the microphones can get closer to the cars.

    10. It’s not like hybrid race cars can’t be incredibly exciting and great to watch though. I’m sure if you ask any current Audi, Toyota or Porsche driver in the WEC I’m sure that they will all say that what they drive currently is great. I don’t believe it is the power units which are letting the drivers down in this respect, I simply think that they want to have more grip under them and returning to the cornering speeds which they came accustomed to a couple of years back.

      Whilst those cornering speeds would be amazing to watch in qualifying, I’m not certain it would produce amazing wheel-to-wheel racing week in, week out however.

    11. The question is do we want F1 to be a sporting challenge or technology demonstration. For example, I don’t need an F1 cars to be on cutting-edge technology, I want a big rivalry between teams and drivers with exciting races and spectacular looking cars. I wouldn’t mind another seasons with V8s, but maybe with gradually more powerful KERS. And I believe the reduction in downforce was made to make those power units more relevant, in other words to make this new era ‘an engine formula’.

    12. More grip generally ruins overtaking… However overtakes then become more spectacular.

      Maybe active aero for the car 2s behind to improve grip while following? And DRS removal naturally.

    13. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
      24th September 2015, 21:09

      If they really feel like that, then why not give them the option to use the 2.4 V8’s again.
      And to make it fair we will allow the fuel tanks to be increased to 150l for both engine types (otherwise the V8’s would be constantly in fuel saving mode), put the rev limit back at 18,000RPM, and remove the fuel flow limitations.

      There will be more noise that way. But not from the V8’s, but because the hybrids can now rev at 20% more.

      I haven’t (and can’t) do the full maths, but I’m sure a V8 wouldn’t be competitive against the current hybrid V6’s under the same regulations/restrictions!

      1. A 150 litre fuel tank would still see teams struggling to finish a race with a V8 engine – even with the drivers undertaking fuel saving measures, most teams would use at least 130kg, or closer to 170 litres, of fuel, rising to around 155kg of fuel (or around 205 litres) at the most extreme end.

        The thing is, if a team is having to put around 30 – 50% more fuel into the car at the start of the race, the fuel weight penalty would destroy their competitiveness. Asides from that, there is no point in putting the rev limit at 18,000rpm for turbocharged engines, because making the engines rev higher is a relatively inefficient way of increasing power output (because pumping and frictional losses have a square law relationship with piston speed).

        If you did loosen up the regulations, I doubt that teams would chase higher revs with turbocharged engines – they’d chase higher boost pressures, because the performance gains from that far outweigh increasing the rev limit.

    14. We need transparent liveries. If we can’t hear the engines then let’s at least see them in action. Would be great.

    15. I think something drivers are perhaps ‘less convinced’ about with these power units is that they have to worry about managing the systems.

      With the previous engines even with KERS there wasn’t really a lot of changing of settings on the engine side, You occasionally needed to alter the engine map but it wasn’t something you needed to change every few laps. Now the drivers are constantly having to alter the engine settings depending on how much charge is required or how much hybrid energy is available to use.
      For example the Full power/qualifying mode gives you all available power from engine/Hybrid systems but your not recharging the battery as much so after a few laps you start to run out of power from the hybrid systems down the straights. So you need to switch to another mode that gives you less power but has a larger focus on harvesting energy & there’s a dozen different modes that offers different charge/power levels & through a race drivers are constantly changing depending on the circumstances.

      When Martin Brundle drove the Force India for a Sky feature not too long ago he mentioned that running the full power modes felt fantastic & the car was a real challenge to drive with all the torque. However in the ‘race’ modes it was less satisfying because he could feel that he had less power & could feel the car running out of energy half way down the straights if he hadn’t harvested enough power. He wasn’t using 8th gear in the race modes for example.

      This is something that will improve as the technology improves as they will start been able to harvest more energy faster & the battery packs will start been able to hold more power, But the teams/manufacturer’s need to be allowed to really develop these things & I fear that the restrictions placed on the hybrid systems by the FIA will not see these advancements come at the rate they should. Look at Formula E & WEC for example, The advancements in these systems has been incredible since the 1st generations of the various systems in use in those formulas. In WEC I believe the Toyota hybrid system is now able to produce 3-400bhp & the Formula E cars will be around 30% more powerful for the 2nd season than they were the 1st.

      1. Fully agree that it’s a huge shame about the limits on development of the hybrid part @gt-racer, there would be enormous scope for real world relevant, exciting and racing enhancing improvement.

    16. I have some hope that with VW scandal and its possible withdrawal from plans to enter F1 makes Red Bull get humble or go away from the sport. That might start a process of exploding this financial bubble around the sport, with these expensive engines and drivers, teams with several hundred employees and a racing car costing much much more than a satellite per year to run almost like a GP2. With a little luck, we may even see Bernie´s retirement. This guy cannot be there for ever!

      Looking at F1 as a system, a network of interests, it looks increasingly near a disruption point. At least for myself, as a F1 fan since late 70´s my only reason for keeping watching it is the lack of a formula that resemble me of “the pinnacle of the sport”, for if this is the pinnacle of anything, it´s rather low.

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