Manor, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

New ‘North American’ F1 race project underway

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Tavo Hellmund, who was behind the construction of the Circuit of the Americas, is working on a new North American F1 race project.


Comment of the day

Is Red Bull’s reaction to their predicament unreasonable given their performance this year?

Red Bull is lying fourth in the championship with this “hopeless” Renault engine, ahead of two Mercedes-powered teams, with two second-place finishes (more than Williams), and a third. Sure, it’s not good enough for them. They want to win. Do they think Ron Dennis doesn’t? But you don’t see him going around shooting his mouth off, criticizing the people who are busting their guts trying to improve the Honda engine as if they didn’t know what they were doing.

Nor, more importantly, did you see him blaming Mercedes for every failure when his team was winning regularly. That’s the point. It’s not just recent; Red Bull has form. We know that, internally, Renault are concerned that they haven’t been getting the brand value they’d like from their participation in F1, and that’s why they want to re-enter as a manufacturer. And we know why that recognition wasn’t forthcoming. When Red Bull won, it was all Red Bull Technology, Vettel, and Newey, often “despite being underpowered”. When they didn’t, it was “a Renault problem”.

Oh, sure, “the manufacturers are scared we’d beat them” is a great excuse, but the fact is that people noticed that. People they now need on their side. “Win as a team, lose as a team” isn’t just some slick motivational slogan; it’s common sense.
Duncan Snowden

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59 comments on “New ‘North American’ F1 race project underway”

  1. I really like Hamilton. He’s a hell of a driver and he seems a straight up decent guy. But it makes me cringe when he says he doesn’t play games and he just lets his driving do the talking because time after time he does plenty of other talking and stirring.

    Dropping comments like the team being extra warm to him and stopping short of outright saying what he’s thinking but making it abundantly clear he’s biting his tongue. Either say it and let other people respond to an actual statement or just genuinely bite your tongue… man.

    The team was going for a team result. Sure you’ve wrapped up the title for yourself so just want to go out and have fun, but Mercedes still has promotional business to do at each race which is what pays for all this fun. Winning the championship is important for Mercedes globally, but winning Mexico, and better yet a team 1-2 is important for Mercedes in Mexico. There was no need for a risky strategy for either driver, and it wouldn’t be fair to impose a cautious strategy on one driver and not the other.

    Hamilton had his chance to do the talking on track and didn’t win. He’s undermining himself with bitter comments afterwards.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      4th November 2015, 8:47

      Same feeling here @PhilipGB, I oftentimes really like the guy, especially as a racing driver. But at other times he just annoys me.
      Why try and take this win away from him; Rosberg beat Hamilton this weekend fair and square.

      PS – I always switch to German RTL before and after the race as they have Lauda as a co-presenter. Straight talk directly from the horse’s mouth.

    2. Hamilton may be absolutely superb on track, but comments like “extra warm” and “gust of wind” make it hard for me to warm to him as a person. He seems a decent enough guy, though slightly dull like most drivers seem to be nowadays (aside from Vettel and Button). He doesn’t need to say things like that – he’s plainly better than his team mate and has beaten him easily for the last two years and no doubt will match Prost and Vettel next year with a fourth driver’s title. It doesn’t detract from two mighty impressive championships with Mercedes but it does make him seem like a bit of a bad loser.

    3. I agree. I thought this “cap” incident was just something that was being blown out of proportion, but it seems that it isn’t.
      For me, a far more important incident happened a few weeks earlier. I think it was at the Russian GP. It happened in the “drivers cool down room” and Bernie Ecclestone was there. The three drivers who got podium places arrived, and the only one to not acknowledge Bernie was Lewis. Of course, some will say that was entirely appropriated, but I think Lewis should have greeted him, after all Mr Ecclestone is the top guy in F1, and as the person who was at the top of the Drivers’ Championship the proper thing for him to have done was greet Bernie too. Hamilton doesn’t have to agree with the decisions Ecclestone makes, nor negotiate with him, nor have coffee with him, but Mr Ecclestone is the guy who has kept F1 financial, and he hands out prize money, both of which pay the wages of Hamilton and the entire Mercedes crew.
      If there is some sort of rift inside Mercedes, then Lewis needs to show some contrition while he still has the chance to do so.

    4. @philipgb Last time he spoke his mind, the tabloids and FIA had a field days that he seemed to regret bringing upon himself. In Today’s world where the media blows up and spins things so badly and negatively, it’s no surprise that drivers rather bite their tongue or could be visually seen thinking about the next thing that comes out of their mouth.

      Maybe if some aspects of media took a hike, then the drivers could speak their mind and we’d enjoy it all the more so.

      As for the strategy this is racing, not engineering and testing the next Northrop stealth bomber. You know where caution and keen analysis is needed. This is a tail end of an F1 season that saw the constructor wrapping up the title two gp ago (now three) and the Title to one of their drivers as well. The promotional glory is done, they’ve gone and basically obtained nth amount of promotional baggage for some time coming. “Two time F1 champions in the past two year, and now experience the same winning technology in our road cars” how hard is that, makes me almost want to go and buy a Mercedes.

      Like other teams that have wrapped up stuff, they should take a backseat and let the drivers do their own thing. But to me it seems that there is a bit of Corporate block and too much by the book with Mercedes. It’s easy to say they let their drivers race each other, but if one of them wants to do it in a manner that risks 1-2 finishing…that’s a different story and sadly done when there is nothing else to gain, which is the point.

  2. Eric Boullier’s comment seemed most apt…

    “Clearly there is an issue with Red Bull which was created by Red Bull and not by anybody else…”

    Kinda refreshing, that directness.

    1. Couldn’t agree more.

      I think I’m now convinced that this is the Red Bull team’s final season and I’m not shedding any tears. I’ve been watching F1 since the early 70’s and have seen lots of teams depart both big and small, always with a degree of sympathy and regret even if they had been hopeless. But my feelings towards Red Bull are good riddance. I have sympathy for the drivers and team personnel but for the Team ethos, senior management and brand, I’ve just had enough, they have morphed into a monstrosity.

      When they started although not very successful they were a good team, racing hard, but great attitude, high jinx and having fun, a credit to F1. If it was that team that was leaving it would be with very great regret. But as the team has developed they have developed attitudes to just about everybody that are simply obnoxious. Their current predicament is of their own making and looking back, probably inevitable. If you badmouth everybody, no one wants to help when you need it.

      Goodbye Red Bull, I won’t miss you at all.

  3. This Mercedes tyre stop saga is a mountain made of a molehill. They’re at a new track with little dry running, they have way more than a pit stop’s gap behind and tyre wear was higher than expected on the first stint. It made perfect sense to pit from a team/safety perspective, especially as they have previous experience with exploding Pirellis. There’s no evidence to suggest they wouldn’t have done the same thing if the positions were reversed.

    I can understand Hamilton’s frustration during the race as it was the only card he could play against Rosberg, but continuing to moan about it afterwards I find quite disrespectful to the team who just took him to two world championships.

    I’ll be interested to see if the pit instruction to Rosberg and his reply will be included in the team radio transcript, and whether he suggested the stop or them.

    1. I think this tyre issue could have been handled better by the team. If there had been a call from Paddy Lowe to both drivers saying “Wear on the first set of tyres was worse than predicted, we are going to plan B” then there would have been no questions or arguments of why it was happening.

      P.S. Did Toto call Rosberg a robot by implication, when he defended Hamilton’s questions?

      1. But he didn’t have the chance to do the talking on the track. That’s kinda the whole point…

      2. I think that is more or less what the team told them @w-k. But Hamilton somehow got the impression that Rosberg had had to pit urgently instead of also being reluctantly called in and felt he could play out a perceived tyre advantage on his side that in reality never was there.

        If the team had allowed Hamilton to continue, and it had paid off, that would have in effect been the team sc***ing Rosberg over and directly influencing the results. Rosberg wasn’t offered that option either.

        Lets not forget that the comments were made shortly after the race before the team had much time for a more detailed debrief. Its quite possible that Hamilton will feel differently about it by now.

        1. The point I am trying to make is;
          If the team boss had made a message to BOTH drivers before either was called in, then Hamilton would have realised that Rosberg had not stopped because his tyres were going off. That it was a change of strategy by the team and both drivers were going to change, and he wouldn’t have questioned why he was been called in.

          It would be nice to know what the msg was to Rosberg and did he question it, or just obey. (see previous P.S.)

          1. He still wouldn’t know that Rosberg had gotten the same message @w-k, so it would not have changed anything.

            Rosberg got the call and did not like it either, but he did come in without arguing against it (as far as we know, I think this is only from what Rosberg himself has said after the race and in his video blog)

          2. You’re still not getting it.
            If the msg had come from Paddy Lowe, and NOT his engineer, he would have known it was a team order applied to both drivers.
            Usually the only time a team Chief Technical Officer talks to one driver is when the driver has done something wrong or the drivers engineer is not available or busy.

    2. This Mercedes tyre stop saga is a mountain made of a molehill.

      More like a mountain made out of the heaped contents of a sugar packet.

      1. @raceprouk And F1 controversies are but a mountain range made from A few centilitres of sodiujm chloride? :)

    3. The thing is it isn’t a big deal in the slightest, and nor has anyone really made it out to be so, bar a few fans who have been upset by it. The media will stir because that’s what they do, but I’m sure within Mercedes nobody really cares, and I’m sure a lot of fans don’t care too much either.

  4. Tavo Hellmund scored major bonus points with the Mexican GP. The North American project story came from a Will Buxton interview a few days ago. A few more details there, nothing important or revealing.

  5. Elkhart Lake, please, Darth Ecclestone.

    1. DK (@seijakessen)
      4th November 2015, 2:08

      Absolutely not, I don’t need to see another circuit ruined for F1.

      1. Yeah… can’t see them needing to do a lot in terms of layout but I think to be ‘F1 standard’ it’d need a bit of widening work, a few thousand trees cut down and a few corners Tilkified. Which would probably kill the place’s soul.

        1. They didn’t really need to do anything to the layout at Mexico, But it didn’t stop them butchering every single corner.

          If F1 ever went to Road America, Laguna Seca or any other classic North American circuit they would feel the need to change everything. There’s some very fast corners at Road America with no run-off & no room to expand it because of the woodland which surrounds the circuit that there not allowed to mess with.

  6. For a new USgp I would suggest that the city of Las Vegas should get together with the Casino operators to build and run a new track just outside of town, LasV is easily accessible for SoCal residents, has masses of good value accommodation and knows how to value-add its tourist revenue, just as long as they don’t try to resurrect car-park racing it should be an outstanding success. It’s a no-brainer.

    1. Do they need to sind 40 million USD a year into F1 though? They are hardly going to get much higher occupancy from it over there.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        4th November 2015, 8:54

        I’d say better than paying miss Spears $1m a week.

        1. Not really @coldfly. Even if she would performs every week, no holidays, it would cost far less to do that:

          1. she plays in the middle of the existing casinos, eliminating the need for investment into the track
          2. playing in the middle of the existing casinos means people can listen and still play
          3. for an F1 race they would have to either shut down an important part of the city/complex to run it, or endeavour to move the viewers out of the most casino dense area to be able to visit the race. Both will cost money and be a sink on turnover.
          4. the race is only for 1 weekend per year while those 40 million would buy a whole year of stars performing.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            4th November 2015, 12:02

            ;-) @BasCB

            although I must add:
            – Las Vegas will find ways to get the revenue. e.g. even the airport is full of slot machines.
            – ‘stars performing’ and Britney in the same thread – must be a world first!

    2. @hohum A(nother) parking lot and we’ll have the 3rd Monaco.

      As long as it’s marketed as a 3rd Monaco (SG being the 2nd) all should go well.

  7. Good thing COTA sacked their CEO, he never should have allowed that hurricane to form.

    1. Ladies and gentlemen, your COTA COTD.
      As a coda; maybe he was Chief Environment Officer.

  8. As far as cheap engines (or fast tyres) go I have always been of the opinion that there should be no limits to development but any team should be able to buy any engine and at a fixed reasonable price. Under such an arrangement RBR could buy MB or SF engines for next year but would have to do their own development work to keep up with MB/SF throughout the season.

    1. @hohum, and what exactly would you define as a “reasonable price”?

    2. do their own development work

      The problem with that is that the IP of the engines belongs to the manufacturers, the teams buy a supply package not the IP. The engines do not belong to the customer (it is more of a lease arrangement were ownership remains with the manufacturer) they have no development rights over another companies property.

      1. ANON, yes that is the current model but in the past I think Cosworth, Hart etc. just sold the teams an engine, no reason it can’t happen again.

        As for a reasonable price I would suggest a formula based on the actual cost of manufacturing extraengines (without design/development cost) plus a mark-up equal to less than 100%, that way the supplier owns the R&D and can get their own engines for free if it is good enough to have other teams buy them, and of course they have the PR kudos, I well remember the MB motorsport boss some years ago bigging up the fact that ALL the cars on the podium were powered by Mercedes.

  9. I enjoyed the Straights Times article. However, I feel like somethung is being misinterpreted, or at least undetstated.

    Hamilton knew he was down on pace. He was trying to use his normally superior tire management skills to beat Roseburg at the end. Mercedes strategy changed that, so he was fustrated.

    I think he should have kept going. He was stuck in 2nd anyway.

    1. Thing is, that race he had no superior tyre management at this race @slotopen at all. Their fist stint had been more or less equal (if we take in account that Hamilton used the 10% Rosberg had left by staying out those 2 extra laps wearing them to 0%), or to a slight advantage for Rosberg.

      Off course Hamilton might have thought he had such an advatage and that sprung his remarks. But then we should expect him to have changed his mind after the team showed him in the debrief that Rosberg had no direct need to pit either and wear was fine for both.

      Had he not pitted at all, he would have been easily passed by Rosberg at the SC (I think he mentioned that he would not have pitted then to keep his track position), or had he pitted then, he would have dropped back again anyway.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        4th November 2015, 9:17

        Agree @bascb
        However the SC would be an early Christmas as he could’ve pitted without losing 1st (Hulk pitted with less of a gap and stayed in front of Perez).

  10. Reading through the comments made by Horner, it is interesting to note that some of the comments he has made about the proposed independent engine supply do not seem to be borne out by the response from other teams. As Kaltenborn points out, there is something of a false economy in switching to the proposed new engine type – if you have to redesign the chassis in order to accommodate that engine, that work is going to negate a sizeable proportion of the claimed cost savings in the short term.

    This proposal does not come across as being geared towards the smaller teams. It feels more like it would be an outfit like Red Bull which would benefit from these changes, as they can easily afford to redesign their car for a different engine, whilst the FIA and FOM seem to want to water down the power of the current manufacturers by removing their control of engine supplies.

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    4th November 2015, 8:13

    I think we can be fairly confident of seeing Will Stevens at Manor next year, purely in the fact that the 2016 driver market has not missed an opportunity to fail to ignore the very best in talent young drivers. In other years we would be seeing Vandoorne, Magnussen, Ocon and Lynn on the grid next year, instead, we are seeing Palmer (ranked 28th in his first of four seasons in GP2), Gutierrez and the prospect of a Stevens-Haryanto line-up at Manor. And let’s not forget, we could yet lose Ricciardo and Kvyat…

    1. @william-brierty In other years though we (well you since I hadn’t started watching yet) got Inoue, Ide, Yoong………

      1. @davidnotcoulthard Lay off Alex Yoong: he was crowned Audi LMS Asia Cup champion at the weekend! Granted, it is the first glimmer of success in his entire career, and granted, he was mainly racing Chinese businessmen, but look at what this guy has achieved! He has forged an entire career in spite of the fact he possesses no perceivable talent whatsoever, and inadvertently managed to marry Miss Malaysia 2002 along the way. Who doesn’t aspire to that?

        Audi R8 LMS Cup Fun Fact: The all-conquering René Rast competed in a single round of the LMS Cup at the Zhuhai circuit so he could learn the track before an R18 test there at the end of the year. He won the ten lap race by thirty seconds.

  12. The straight times article is clearly writing by someone mining for attention. He clearly fails to explain the situation.

  13. There is no “standard independent engine” or “standard independent chassis” in F1. And that is simply because development costs of either are very very high. If either of the components were standardized (as it was for the engine until 2013), then these options would exist for teams to choose from.

    1. True enough Sumedh.

      Only you forgot to add that either the “standardised independent” chassis and engine have to be made to be bettter/equal which would lead to a single car formula (who would want to race a worse package, maybe apart from Ferrari and someone else stubborn like Honda?) or no one will want to use them – because they all want to have a shot at winning.

      And we would still need someone to pay for those standardised engine and chassis. Someone independant …

  14. Still the hacks are bangin on about Hamilton and the pitstops. Fact is he wasn’t robbed, neutered or disadvantaged by the laptops or anything else. In fact he was the one who was trying to rob Rosberg and steal a win he didn’t deserve by any measurable criteria. While the team was acting in the team’s best interests and treating them equally which was to benefit of all concerned in the long term, even Hamilton. Otherwise he would have faced what Rosberg had faced after Spa 2014 and rightly so

    In a complete change of subject, very sad news if true about Stevens. Would be another awful signing right after Palmer and Gutierrez came along. It’s not that Stevens is awful but there are at least 10 more deserving drivers without seats for next year

  15. petebaldwin (@)
    4th November 2015, 10:29

    Re COTD:

    Renault are in their second year and are still miles off the pace. I think Ron Dennis will be just as loud as Red Bull have been if the Honda is just as bad next year.

    1. @petebaldwin For me the comparison Honda/Renault just doesn’t work. Honda and McLaren knew they were going to struggle in their first year. This was a chosen relationship with known consequences. Rneault messing up this badly two seasons in a row without any progress whatsoever is not what Red Bull deserves or expected when Renault wanted these new engine rules. Red Bull have handled it poorly but they have all right to complain about Renault. They simply did a terrible job, and in 2015 they made it worse. It’s not like the engine is allright with some flaws, it’s just plain awefull. Eric Boullier can be all tough with his “Clearly there is an issue with Red Bull which was created by Red Bull and not by anybody else…” but he completely ignores Renault created the engine. Surely a customer at this level of financial costs can ask something from his engine manufacturer.

      The only reason McLaren isn’t complaining about Honda is because it would wreck their alliance with the brand. This would be fatal for the team as they simply have no sponsors left and Honda is the money. Not the case at Red Bull who in contradiction with McLaren also delivered a quite possible race winning chassis.

      1. @xtwl I’m confused about why Red Bull think they’ve got a automatic right to be at the front of the field. Sure, they’ve got a good chassis, but it’s just one of a myriad of pieces of the puzzle that go towards winning a race. One of those pieces is making sure you have a competitive engine. But, more important than that, you need to make sure you have an engine at all. This is part of the basic tests of competing in F1.

        Renault may have produced a crap engine. But it’s better than no engine.

  16. I love Brundle’s brain, he should be made ‘Archbishop of F1’ immediately. “Sunday’s grand prix was by no means a classic but in a curious way the race was secondary to the event itself”. Pretty much what I said for my ‘rate the race’ comment.

  17. I agree with Horner that the current situation is not good for F1 ie. the engines are too expensive and it is not right that a team like Red Bull cannot get competitive engines. Yes, they have shown complete lack of tact and their arguments have often been frivolous but even if Red Bull leave F1 and another team of their calibre joins the sport, then it will face the same situation and will not be happy about it either. So Todt and Ecclestone should focus on the problem instead of trying to make Red Bull stay in F1 and help them get competitive again. I guess it is wishful thinking though.

    1. Yeah and I remain baffled that they didn’t see this coming or didn’t care 4 or 5 years ago when they laid the groundwork for this new chapter of highly complex power units.

  18. With all the rules there are in Formula 1, it’s quite ridiculous that none exist governing the supply of engines, the performance level of those engines and the associated costs of those engines.
    No-one is coming out of this whole debacle smelling of roses.

    1. How do you regulate the supply of engines though.

      Do you say they can’t cost more than £x which could lead to the suppliers losing a fortune on supplying the engines & not been able to supply as many teams or develop them as much as they would like.

      If you regulate performance levels then where is the incentive to develop them if your always coming up against a limit? And if your restricting the best engines down to the performance levels of the slower than how is that even fair to those who did a better job?

      F1 is over-regulated as is it without more rules coming in just because 2 engine suppliers haven’t done as good a job as the others.
      If F1 was serious about helping teams with the costs, Just sort of the cash distribution so that the smaller teams get more to begin with.

    2. They do have a fair old wad of rules for the engine. Teams are only supposed to supply 3 teams I believe (I think Mercedes were granted permission for 4) and I think they are meant to also supply a minimum of 2 teams (Honda got dispensation for this year but the rules state they should supply a second team next year).

      This rule is what I think will save Red Bull and Torro Rosso because both Honda and Renault will be required to supply 2 teams.

      As for performance there are so many rules on dimensions, fuel flows, weight etc.. that it’s incredible there is even a difference in performance between the engines. Ferrari showed this year that with the right work you can close the gap. Renault just didn’t put enough work into the engine, just look how many development tokens they still had left.

  19. Please, please, no more Tilke Amercian tracks… watching real American racing ie Indycars, or REAL great racing tracks is so much better then watching these pathetic f1 attempts.

  20. Maybe they (the small teams) won’t be here in 2017 if the current engine prices stay the same. So that is a decision for the individual teams to make.

    The price of an F1 engine is related to the rules. Amongst the current rules is one which states a car which doesn’t complete a lap in qualifying within 107% of the time set by the fastest car in Q1, then they cannot compete in the race without the consent of the stewards. Another rule relates to the maximum amount of fuel that can be consumed at any time during the race and for the entire race, and if you exceed that then you run the risk of being disqualified. So, on the one hand, you need an engine that is powerful enough to get the car around the track within the required time, but on the other hand you need one that consumes fuel at same rate as a car going about half that speed.
    The person speaking should find out who was party to making these rules to find out if the current price is what they intended.
    When I was young I read a novel on F1 racing by Mike Hawthorn, who was an ex-F1 driver. One of the things mentioned in it was the fact that a customer team got inferior parts to what the manufacturer’s team was given, so it seems the way customer teams have been exploited is part of F1 history.
    Ron Dennis says you cannot expect to win the Constructors’ Championship if you are a customer team, so if you want to be the series champion then you need to have your own exclusive engine supplier.

    1. Are you sure the novel was by Mike Hawthorn?
      He was WDC in 1958 and died the following year, and I think that was long before the concept of ‘customer cars’. I can’t find a reference to his writings in any biography.

      1. @nickwyatt I found a link showing some early F1 books for sale, with two by Hawthorn. The titles shown are “Challenge me the race” and “Champion year” (complete with a car with number 1 on it). As you can guess, this car has the engine at the front.
        As I was thinking about this, I wondered if maybe there were maybe three books by him in our school library, and sure enough there was a third one called “Carlotti takes the wheel”. Maybe he was the culprit that caused that mixup at Williams, when they had one wrong tyre on the car.
        I recall the hero in the book I read had an Italian name, so my guess is I did at least read “Carlotti takes the wheel”.
        In the book Carlotti went down to the manufacturer’s warehouse and asked for an exhaust pipe and somehow managed to walk away with the exhaust pipe meant for the manufacturer’s team and not the one intended for the customer teams.
        Looking at the pictures of the dust covers, it seems the early F1 races must have been on dirt tracks.

  21. Alonso wants season to end despite progress

    I had the opportunity to see one of the Final Practices via the On Board Cameras, and one of them showed Alonso driving the McLaren-Honda. I think this was almost the first chance I’ve had to see this car via the OBC. One thing I noticed almost straight away was the Honda engine is actually very powerful. I took a screen shot (I was viewing the race via Fanpass, a NZ website that is affiliated to Sky sports). According to the on screen speed / rpm meter, when the car was traveling at 335 km/h the engine was using 11772 rpm, which I thought was a very low amount of “revs” for that speed, but after comparing it with other cars at similar speeds, it was obvious this is similar to the “revs” used by other engines to get that sort of speed. As far as I can tell, this means the engine is putting out about the same amount of power as the other engines used in F1 (i.e. Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault). I don’t know why it is that a car with this engine is so obviously lacking performance, because, as I said, the appearance is it should be competitive.

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