Ecclestone should have exit strategy – Ferrari

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In the round-up: Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne calls on Bernie Ecclestone to make plans for how he will hand over control of Formula One when he is no longer able to run it.

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Comment of the day

A case for ranking some of today’s top drivers along with a few of the best there’s ever been – even if current drivers have more reliable cars:

Drivers don’t just lose because of unreliability, they also gain. From the top of my head, Senna gained Monaco 1993 from Schumacher’s car failure, all three of his wins in 1992 came from car failures of either Williams (or both), he gained Brazil and Belgium 1991 because of Mansell’s car failure; and gained San Marino because of Patrese’s car failure. Those are seven race wins that he gained in the final three seasons of his career alone.

It wasn’t just Senna who had a more unreliable car back then, it was everyone.

I would say that Vettel and Hamilton are just as good as Senna and Prost. I really don’t see a convincing reason to believe otherwise.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ajokay, Coefficient, Luke and Mattypf1!

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

Today is Michael Schumacher’s birthday. F1’s most successful driver of all time turns 47 today, just over two years since he suffered serious head injuries in a skiing accident.

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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...

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85 comments on “Ecclestone should have exit strategy – Ferrari”

  1. “Ecclestone knows that he is not going to be there forever and maybe this is also connected to the future of FOM”.
    The problem in my opinion is that Bernie thinks and behaves as if he will be there forever :)

    1. @malik Either that or he knows damn well that his time on the earth is short so he’s going to meddle, knowing good as well that his family is set for life and someone else can deal with his mess when he’s gone…

    2. What worries me more is who is looking to take advantage from him leaving.
      Because I guarantee you it’s not going to be good. For example, most of the article is pleasantries about how nice and good Bernie is. But at the end, then there’s a line that should worry us. He says that Formula hasn’t met it’s potential.

      This means the boss of Ferrari has ideas. Ideas that he can’t do while Bernie is around.
      Call me a cynic, but that’s a bad sign.

      1. You are a cynic ;)

        Seriously though, what Ferrari (and probably all the other teams) would be after is more exposure and thus better marketing-opportunities for the teams. Going away from pay-tv, and more towards the internet, would likely shift the income away from short-term FOM-gains and more towards anybody who earns his money from advertising on F1-cars / with F1 drivers.

      2. I read that interview differently from you @mike.

        First of all, as @crammond mentions, Ferrari, like just about every team in F1, would love Bernie/FOM to come up with a way to earn MORE money from MORE fans, because it would also mean more money for their teams. And it would enable a wider choice in where to go racing etc.

        But what is more important, is that after November/December being full of Bernie+puppets telling the world how Ferrari/Mercedes are holding F1 in stranglehold and killing it while Ferrari/Mercedes have been telling the world how bad Bernie and Todt are doing, how their “new” engine idea is ruining F1 etc, now that we are in January, and the date to agree on something (or at least pretend to want to) on the 15th is coming nearer, we see Marchionne take this discussion away from confrontation over the engine, adds in praise for Bernies work so far and goes on to point towards wanting to discuss where to take the sport in the next years.

        I find that very positive – what good would come from a hard boiled Ferrari boss nor Bernie wanting to give in and seem weak? – although from the past we still shoulnd’t be too hopefull that any compromise will be great for the fans.

        1. ‘Sometimes a great idol must fall in utter ruin, and as it falls it must bring down
          all that it created, and all who were associated with it. Only by these extreme means
          can the canker at the heart of corruption be eradicated.’ Palmerston.

          If ever an organisation had canker at it’s heart then it is Formula 1 as it is currently
          constituted and run. Soccer is painfully ridding itself of the canker at it’s heart.
          F1 will, I am sorry to predict, follow suit. Destroying all that is corrupt but also
          destroying all that is beautiful about it. It is simply a matter of the ticking of the
          clock attached to the fuses……….

    3. The issue is Bernie will be there forever, in his eyes at least. He’ll stay until he turns up his toes and after that, with more cash in the bank than many countries, does he care about succession?

  2. Thanks for the birthday shoutout Keith! But on the topic of F1 drivers to watch (for now, depemding on who Manor sign) is, for me, Jolyon Palmer and Esteban Gutierrez. Palmer cause I’m hoping he can as quick as Grosjean is and he seems a lot less crash prone compared to Grosjean (and I’m hoping that doesn’t change) and Guti because Ferrari don’t just scout youngsters only because of money (which is what he has a lot of) so I reckon he will be really trying to prove himself easily worthy of a future Ferrari seat. But with Verstappen floating around the paddock, I’m not sure if that may happen.

  3. RaceProUK (@)
    3rd January 2016, 0:45

    “What the FIA has to do is to discuss the possibilities with the teams to find the correct balance between the increase of the sound and the loss of performance.”

    Question to everyone who wants louder engines: are you willing to trade power for noise?

    Also, why has no-one mentioned this before? It’s basic physics, after all.

    1. given how many are insistent that f1 should go back to those horrible torque-less v8s i’d say that sadly many would pick volume over performance.

      these current power units are amazing bits of kit that are producing a lot of power (the mercedes is what somewhere around 900bhp now?) & for the 1st time in over a decade actually challenging the drivers in terms of the torque & drivers actually having to manage the throttle. not since the pre-traction control v10s have the cars been moving around so much under acceleration with wheelspin & drivers having to modulate the throttle rather than just putting there foot down without much worry.

      i would not be against a bit more volume but i dont feel that volume should come at the expense or be pushed as been more important than overall performance.

    2. You are confusing power with efficiency, get your basic physics right.

      1. And to evaluate slightly on that. “Cars moving around under acceleration with wheelspin & drivers having to modulate the throttle rather than just putting their foot down without much worry.” Thats not becouse the cars use a highly efficient turboegine even if thats the popular belief in the F1 community. Its becouse the cars are heavy, have low downforce, low grip and 1000 different wonky enginemappings the teams and drivers have to get right.

      2. With a given maximum power IMPUT (the fuel flow) higher efficiency is the way to get higher power output @rethla. If instead of using it to power the car fans want part of the energy go to waste/pollution (i.e. more noise) then that lowers the energy that can be used functionally.

        To answer your question, I am for power any day of the week @raceprouk. And over time, being less noisy will be the only thing that can help F1 racing in many places (tight noise limits in Melbourne, Austria, Spa, probably in Monza and Austin, Hockenheim and Hungary as well, maybe in Brazil too). Not to mention that less noise is a key persuit for any tool being used in the world too.

        1. @bascb Strange, the given maximum input wasnt a problem during the V8 (or V10/12/whatever) era. Thats becouse the maximum input changes to suit whatever engine type you use. You wouldnt be able to fit in a V6turbo in the V8 regulations either, Its a nobrainer. The pollution of 20cars running around in a circle ~20times a year is absolutely nothing, the maintenence vehicles pollute more than the F1 cars during a raceweekend.

          To answear @raceprouk The key point is you can absolutely have alot of sound AND power. The most powerfull engines on earth just happens to be the loudest aswell.

          1. Its not that strange at all @rethla, because there was NO limit to fuel useage with those V8s, V10 or V12, the teams limited themselves to a balance between weight at the start and fuel needed (or they refuelled to tank up and stay low weight when allowed).

            Who cares about the air pollution caused by the 20 cars, I think you misunderstood. There is something called NOISE pollution, and that DOES make a significant impact on where one can go racing (or have a music festival for example). Extremely laud engines screaming is not something everyone likes to wake up to.
            There are quite strict laws in many places that race tracks (and city events) are subject to. Its one of the reasons why Formula E has a far easier time getting into the middle to cities – it makes far les noise (the music is probably laudest!).

            Again, you can only get so much power out of a limited amount of fuel. Noise, vibration, heat are all uses of energy that could be used to propell he cars, just as the energy regained with the brake systems is. If you waste some of it on creating sound you cannot use the energies to create power to go fast/accelerate. If on the other hand you manage to use the energy in the exhaust gasses, and if you would be able to use the vibration and radiated heat better, you could get more out of the same amount of fuel/energy and therefore race faster (or start with lower fuel and go faster on track).

            The current engines ARE already as powerfull as the V8s were and getting closer to the V10s with more development, and they are doing it with far less fuel. I would like to see MORE development to see where they can get. Not the FIA or FOM telling the manufacturers to artificially waste fuel on leaving some energy to a minimum sound level. Maybe they could solve that like BMW gives you nice engine sounds when driving – through the speakers in the car!

          2. The most powerfull engines on earth just happens to be the loudest aswell.

            And every last decibel is energy wasted that could otherwise make the engine more powerful.

          3. “And every last decibel is energy wasted that could otherwise make the engine more powerful.”

            @raceprouk Thats not true but lets focus on F1, it was a bad example from the start.
            Im not trying to be condescending but theres always room for improvement.

            @bascb I know the V6s are more fuelefficient and the NA engines was power limited in other ways than fuelflow but thats just two ways to limit power for different enginetypes and says nothing about power vs sound. Everything about the engines specification are already artificial and without it the engines would look nothing like they do now.

            Anyways i want more sound ;)

          4. @rethla: You condescend me for getting my physics wrong, bang on about how it’s efficiency not power, then prove you don’t understand basic physics yourself. Which is especially bad, given how simple the principle is.

            Any sound the engine makes is wasted energy; that is a basic fact.
            The louder the sound, the more energy wasted; that is also a basic fact.
            That means a quieter engine wastes less energy, meaning more energy is available to turn into motion.

            And before you mention silencers, note that F1 cars are not fitted with anything even remotely similar. Why? Because they waste energy.

          5. Wasted energy is not less power however ;)

          6. Do you even understand the basics of thermodynamics? Wasted energy is less power; the more you waste, the less power you have. This is one of the most fundamental principles of mechanics, and has been known for centuries. Or do you somehow know better than physicists like Carnot, Maxwell, Boltzmann, and der Waals, four of the most influential thermodynamicists?

          7. I dont claim to know better than any of them.

            If what you say is true then please explain how the V10s are more powerfull than the current V6 engines. The V10s sure “waste” alot of energy so they should be less powerfull according to you.

          8. Really? You’re asking why a 3-litre V10 burning 150 litres of fuel in 90 minutes is more powerful than a 1.6-litre V6 burning 100 litres of fuel in 90 minutes?

          9. Yeh thats what im asking and we both probably know the answear becouse its obvious, the V10 is more powerfull even though its not as efficient. Efficient is NOT the same as powerfull. “Wasted energy” by itself does NOT mean less power. You do NOT have to sacrifice power for sound and vice versa. Its the third time in this thread i explain the very same thing please explain what is unclear about it if you want further clarification.

          10. RaceProUK (@)
            4th January 2016, 0:02

            OK, now you’re doing this deliberately to annoy me. Stop.

          11. Efficient is NOT the same as powerfull

            Yes, it is, by definition. Here’s the one from wikipedia: Engine efficiency of thermal engines is the relationship between the total energy contained in the fuel, and the amount of energy used to perform useful work. Sound is not considered as ‘useful work’; it’s the by-product of an inefficient discharge of exhaust gasses.
            If you want more sound, you need to use more fuel for kinetic energy in the exhaust gasses. This fuel will not come from the heat dissipation, as you’re not changing the combustion process. So more sound = less power.
            If you calculate using pump fuel numbers, the theoretical maximum power for an F1 engine (the ICE part) is about 1600 HP. Current engine have about 650 HP, or efficiency over 40%, which is a remarkable number (higher than Prius-type cars).

          12. @rethla @raceprouk

            You are both coming from completely different angles, which is ending up in the argument.

            Greater efficiency gives more power given all else being equal. So, if we make a more efficient (in this case quieter) 1.6l V6 engine, with the same restrictions and features in place, it will produce more power.

            Of course, you can make something more powerful which is also less efficient. For example, we can increase the swept volume, increase the fuel flow, increase the RPM limit. These will produce a more powerful engine which is less efficient. However, let’s say we went to 3l turbo V10s, with triple the fuel flow limit (that being the only realistic way to limit anything in a turbo) and a 20kRPM limit. The more efficient version of that engine will still end up being the most powerful.

            The only real way to increase the volume level of these (or any) turbo cars is for them to be less efficient. F1 engineers are always striving for maximum efficiency (at peak power), by virtue of the restrictions in place. So they will not willingly throw away energy which could be used to make the car go faster (e.g. as noise).

          13. That is correct @drmouse , thanks for yet another explanation on power vs efficiency. There is nothing in the regulations the teams does willingly and the engines are already artificially powerlimited so im ok with them being forced to produce more sound.

            More sound aint per se less efficient either becouse you can have dampening effects in your design that doesnt give any usefull work and most of the wasted 60% potential is not sound. “Sound is just wasted energy” is nothing but a powerfull pr slogan.

          14. the engines are already artificially powerlimited

            That’s not even slightly true; they’re limited on fuel flow and peak revs, but there’s no cap whatsoever on power.

          15. @rethla

            he engines are already artificially powerlimited so im ok with them being forced to produce more sound

            Fair enough, if you are happy for them to restrict the development of better engine technology even further just for a bit more noise, you are entitled to your own opinion.

            More sound aint per se less efficient either becouse you can have dampening effects in your design that doesnt give any usefull work and most of the wasted 60% potential is not sound.

            True to some extent. However, F1 teams work to reduce the wasted energy in the system all the time, and there are very few of the dampening effects in a modern F1 engine. All the noise from the V8s was waste energy, so even if only part of that is captured, it is more efficient.


            they’re limited on fuel flow and peak revs, but there’s no cap whatsoever on power.

            The limit on fuel flow is, fundamentally and by design, a limit on power. Assuming the fuel has the same energy density as standard petrol (44.4MJ/kg)*, the absolute maximum power output of the ICE is just under 1700HP (1.23MW) if it was 100% efficient.

            * Taken from Wikipedia, and I know F1 fuel probably has a higher energy density, but these figures are enough to illustrate the point..

      3. You are confusing power with efficiency, get your basic physics right.

        My basic physics is fine, thank you very much. How about you not be so condescending in future?

        1. Someone recently expressed the view here that many of those demoralized by the current hybrids pine for some non-existent ‘golden era’, which is usually what we watched when we were growing up. I can see that might be a possibility, but when I think back to to seeing and hearing Jean Alesi’s Ferrari V12 screaming into Beckets, with sparks flying, I can hardly be surprised I am pining for something like that, instead of spotty teens droning round and these heavy, farty-sounding DRS equipped tanks………

          1. paulguitar, a lot of people used to previously hark back to the turbocharged cars of the 1980’s, though it seems that the fan base is increasingly dominated by those who grew up in the 1990’s now and therefore look back to that as a standard bearer for the sport.

            As an aside, it is funny that you should mention Alesi and his V12 engined Ferrari, because even Ferrari themselves, by 1991, wanted to ditch their V12 because it was too thirsty and compromised the handling of the car. They only kept it for the next few years mainly because Fiat refused to provide them with the funds to develop the V10 engine they actually wanted to build – the teams cannot afford the same sense of sentimentality that the public might attach to their cars.

        2. This is easy. More noise is wasted energy which is less power than you could of had. These engines are running something like 40% efficiency which is awesome for a combustion unit. That is 60% loss of power which would be lost as heat, noise and light. The V10 is far less efficient and makes far more noise. By increasing the power of the V6 to well above the V10 you can still be efficient and make more noise as the 60% of waste is larger than the 60% of waste when the engine is less powerful. Bottom line is more noise is a form of in efficiency which more noise is a part of the waste product.

          1. There’s very little room left to improve efficiency; internal combustion has been close to maximum thermal efficiency for years now. So unless there’s some major improvement in the MGUs, the only way to boost power well above that of the V10s is to burn more fuel.

    3. No need for it to be a choice, it is perfectly feasible to use proper racing engines that sound fantastic.

      1. Sorry, that was a response to the original question, by the way.

      2. RaceProUK (@)
        4th January 2016, 0:05

        If you want the current engines louder, the energy needs to come from somewhere, so the power will go down as a result. But if you want more volume for the same power, you need to burn more fuel. Either way, to make the current engines louder, you need to compromise on something else.

        1. @raceprouk


          The way I feel about this is mixed. I love the torque, and as RogerA points out, the cars are indeed tricky to drive, and it has been great these last two years to see the drivers fighting more with the steering and oversteer..

          But, in the flesh, at the circuit, F1 without the noise, in my opinion, is MASSIVELY disappointing. On TV, not a problem really, but at the circuit F1 needs to be mind-blowing and an assault on the senses, and in its current incarnation, it is neither.

          Making the current engines louder won’t help, it is rather like, as has been pointed out before, ‘polishing a turd’.

          I think the future lies with a normally aspirated engine. It can still be reasonably efficient, if F1 still wishes to be seen as ‘green’, although I find that rather silly……….

          Perhaps we can’t have the traditional visceral appeal of F1 with the current generation, but F1 changes all the time, so my hope is when the next big changes come, we at least get back some ‘WOW’ stuff that F1 has previously had….:)

          1. @paulguitar The thing is that ordinary cars have pretty much moved on from NA engines so if F1 is gonna stay even mildly relevant it has to use modern engines. I agree with you that i want the screaming beasts but if F1 is gonna be the pinnacle of motorsports it cant use obsolete enginedesigns just for the sake of sound.

          2. I think the future lies with a normally aspirated engine.

            On the contrary, the days of natural aspiration are numbered; the near-term future is small capacity turbos. It’s an accelerating trend in both motorsport and in road cars, and is the only cost-effective way for internal combustion to meet future fuel efficiency and emissions targets.

          3. @raceprouk

            I should have said i would like for the future to be N/A. I fully accept what you and @rethla are saying about turbos.

            F1 seems happy enough to consider itself ‘entertainment’, which is why we have DRS and comedy tyres, for example. On that basis, surely we can have entertaining engines, with the noise?

            BTW, I am curious as to why you posed your original question, since you said in another post recently that the best racing you have seen was touring cars which have relatively little power. So, should we really even care about ultimate power outputs?

          4. Personally, I don’t put much stock in outright power figures; they’re fairly meaningless except for showing-off purposes. What really matters is how that power gets through the rubber to the tarmac; that’s what allows for close racing.

            The reason I posited the original question is a lot of people want both faster cars and more noise; the question is intended to draw attention to the fact that there’s always going to be a compromise between the two.

  4. Man, I miss Kobayashi :(

    1. those super formula cars look fun!

      1. His new haircut looks pretty fun too :P

    2. Yep, me too. He made Ericsson look like the worst driver ever in 2014 (and only got defeated a few times towards the end of the year due to getting obsolete parts). Compare that with the much more evenly balanced showing of Ericsson and Nasr in 2015.

      But he did overshoot the penultimate corner in Tsukuba ever so slightly – although a somewhat wide entry is always required there to make a late apex, the latter being necessary because of the next straight being more important (longer, essentially) than the preceding one. So I would say it’s possible to do the time attack Mecca under 44 seconds in a Super Formula car.

      1. That mini-lock-up into that third hairpin may only have cost a few hundredths, but given the lap time was 44.008, sub-44 is definitely possible.

  5. Alexander (@)
    3rd January 2016, 2:43

    “But in principle – if you want to beat Mercedes, you have to do something better”
    As someone already pointed out a few weeks back; is their aerodynamic gain enough to overcome their lack of horsepower, in the V8 era it might have been, but I don’t think they will catch Mercedes or Ferrari for at least a couple of years considering all will have equal amounts of token to improve power-units.
    Only time will tell.

    1. While I understand there is benefit in going as tight as possible with the package, I think the gains from a very marginal size decrease is neglible considering that they’re lacking considerable bhp from the engine package that may be as a result. I do recall a statement from Honda earlier in 2015 stating that they felt that McLaren was over ambitious on the size zero packaging, so perhaps there is merit in that statement after all.

    2. just ask red bull……..

    3. My uneducated opinion is get the engine up to a competitive standard and THEN do the zero size stuff, making sure you don’t loose engine power in the process.
      I cannot understand why Dennis wants to keep this concept because if they have another dismal year then they will want to dump Honda, but who will they get to replace Honda? Mercedes? “Sorry, our engine won’t fit into that tiny space!”. Ferrari? “Ferrari engines have power! They have life! We have big engines, we don’t make an engine that small”. Renault? “Sorry, Red Bull won’t let us, but an engine needs room to be an engine”.
      If McLaren dump Honda at the end of 2016 then McLaren’s new engine supplier will be expecting them to dump their much desired “zero size” concept, so why not say to Honda, “Tell us how much space you need to make the engine competitive, as long as it doesn’t look stupid we don’t care”. Honda will be extremely angry if they are dumped and then McLaren decide to dump their zero size concept.

      1. The thing is, if want to go to sleek profile, you will have to design the engine with that in mind from the go @drycrust. Because you cannot change every part of the engine later (not to mention that change could well lead to new reliability issues).

        Honda felt confident that they could make a competitive engine with the “size zero” idea in mind. It seems they still feel confident, and it is also one of the things they expect to profit their R&D with to build a compact highly efficient engine, so lets see if they can deliver. If they can, it might be exactly what McLaren needed. If not, they will try to get out with as little noise as they can manage. And yes, then McLaren will have to go cap in hand to Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes (or try their luck with VW/Toyota/GM or have a custom made engine).

        Oh, and the mounting points for ALL engines are the same – they are in the rules. Its “just” the things around the main block that are significantly different. And those are different enough that you would want to change your car around anyway with a different engine.

        1. @bascb Thanks, I didn’t know the mounting points for the engine was standard. The way it comes across in the media is the size zero is more important than producing a competitive engine, which I find annoying. The messages coming from McLaren-Honda should all be consistent with producing a winning package, and part of that could well be “size zero” aerodynamics, but I think it is of less importance than the competitive engine.

    4. @alexanderfin Williams, a very pro team, needed quite some years to even come back to the podium. Thanks to Honda and another shake up in 2017 I’m expecting McLaren to take longer, even if they have a bigger budget (for now).

    5. What Honda have to do is run two programmes: one is practical, with a car body in the dyno, that they KNOW, from data, can be cooled, finish races and harvest enough mguh to make it down the straight without running out of battery and going all GP2 on 650 bhp; the other is blue-sky and plays around with a turbine and mgu in the vee, or whatever, that might be brilliant or might not work. When they have to choose for homologation, they choose one that works.

      Honda is big enough for this, surely. But they started out with the wrong mindset, it seems to me, that they could sail in and show everyone.

      1. @lockup, from those who have connections with Honda, they are reporting that Honda are already running parallel development programs for different variations of certain components: however, given that there is generally one optimum development path, there is only so much variation in development which can occur.

        Equally, there is another major issue for Honda with regards to the design, and that is the fact that Prodromou is utterly unyielding with his design criteria (and Ron Dennis is similarly uncompromising with his support for Prodromou). They can play around with the position of the MGU-H and the turbine all they want but, if Prodromou rejects it because it does not fit within his packaging requirements, it is no good for Honda.

        1. Yeah I did read about a skunkworks outfit pursuing a big-turbo design, unofficially. It’s not a small variation though, it’s the proven Mercedes/Ferrari way versus the blue sky way. I really hope they’re not going to stick another under-developed concept in for 2016.

          I can’t buy the idea Honda can’t just say ‘no’ to an unworkable design anyway. Prodromou and Dennis demand, Honda say ‘no’… who wins? It’s not as if McLaren have any options other than what Honda agree to supply. It’s Honda’s way or no way, surely.

          1. Their contracts will absolutely state clearly and in painstaking detail who’s way it is

  6. I wonder how hard is Ferrari going to try to make “the next Ecclestone” their own puppet. I hope the next guy is fully independent and his goal is to make F1 better and not to get as much money as possible or to please the rich teams. Probably a utopia.

    1. I agree with you. However, I would be among happiest people on Earth if Ferrari had exit plan as well. Their political involvement has contributed hugely in shaping contemporary state of modern Formula 1. They behaved and still behave like malignant tumor. Pushing expansion until causing death of their habitant. I hope Bernie will prevent that. I’m also hoping that Bernie has enough wisdom to prepare FOM for post Ecclestone era end preserve F1 from influence of Ferrari likes.

      1. So you’re saying that Ferrari, who need F1 in order to remain relevant, are trying to kill the very sport that gives them relevance?

    2. Yep. The time for change was when Vatanen ran for FiA president but Todt walked it. I’m afraid with the current FiA structure, a fully independent successor in F1 is highly unlikely.

      1. LDM will be the man that replaces Bernie.

  7. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    3rd January 2016, 9:38

    Happy birthday Schumi, here’s hoping for significant health improvement in 2016. Keep fighting.

  8. Happy Birthday Michael Schumacher!

  9. I think Nissan’s WEC efforts have proven that it isn’t always worth taking the risk with an innovative design.

    Over ambitious? I think it is too early to say it is

    That’s true, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t either.

  10. Merit of Bernie: he has created a monster that doesn’t need him anymore. The monster has become more intelligent than he expected, because it developed its own brain.
    Exit strategy: pen, paper, sign, goodbye

    1. I don’t think he can retire. He thinks all decision-making power is his, unrealistic demands clouded in humor and rumors, subtle forms of discipline and punishment, allows questions about decisions but ignores them, pretends to be your friend only to get his way. Dictators do not retire.

      ‘For me, to retire means to die.’
      ‘I have not thought about retirement really and I don’t think I will ever come to that stage. I am here for as long as I can be.’

    2. Frankenstein

  11. AJ (@ascar2000us)
    3rd January 2016, 17:31

    Agree partially with COTD.

    Reliability though strong in modern F1 cars, doesn’t necessarily play out evenly. I do not remember much about who retired when in the Senna era, but in recent memory Alonso seems to have gained the most in terms of race victories when the leaders retired. I can count about ten or so, most notably in 2010 and 2005 when he inherited race wins from Vettel and Kimi, his main title rivals. That does not take away the victories from Alonso, he had to be there at the right place to take those wins. Vettel and Hamilton have won a few races after the race leader retired too but maybe not as many as Alonso.

    At the end of the day, it is easy to see that Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso have consistently been the top drivers of the last decade. We can argue about reliability, fastest car etc… but that is to justify support for our favorite driver and possibly hate towards the other.

    Unfortunately I can’t argue much for Kimi (my favourite). He was a monster in the McLaren but I have struggled to see him as good even in his championship winning year :(. I don’t think he knows what he is doing anymore.

    1. @ascar2000us @kingshark
      I just spent a bit of time going through the maths, and in my opinion your chance of winning a race is always best by having reliable cars.

      I will take you through my thinking.

      Assume as a driver your fundamental chance of winning a race is ‘w’, and your chance of finishing the race is ‘F’.

      Lets simply assume you can win a race in two ways

      Fastest driver = w*F
      Second fastest driver, but first driver fails = (1-w)*w*F*(1-F)

      So the total chance of winning is P(1st)= w*F + (1-w)*w*F*(1-F)
      I have to ignore all other possibilities (3rd fastest and 2 cars fail etc etc)

      Now for some calculus: how to the probability of finishing first vary with probability of finishing:

      dP/dF = w + (1-w)*w*(1-2F)
      and in the valid ranges 0<F,w<1 this is always positive, so your probability of wining is always improved by having a car with a highest chance of finishing, even when that is also the case for the other cars.

      However, the original comment was right that you gain back a significant number of results. Putting in values of w=0.3 and F=0.9, you see that about half probability of losing a win through car failure, are gained back by the fastest car failing when you are second fastest.

      So how how many wins would Senna for example expect to get by the fastest car retiring?
      Senna's cars averaged about F=0.8 and he actually won 25% of all races started.
      Based on this, his base win ratio is 0.273 . Out of the 25% of races he actually won, it is broken down into 22% won by finishing as the fastest driver, and 3% finishing as the second fastest driver and the fastest driver failing to finish. From his w value, if he had perfect reliability, this would equate to 27% of course.

      For comparison, Vettel has a w value of 0.3 .

      1. @tricky, I suppose that it could be argued that you should continue to include additional cases – perhaps where a driver was only the third fastest, but then proceeded to win due to the drivers in front retiring. You could argue that it could be reasonably stretched down to 4th fastest, since there have been a small, but I think still statistically significant, number of winners from that far down the grid.

        Given the general trend in reliability, I would expect that it might not have a significant impact on drivers from the mid to late 1980’s onwards, such as your example with Senna. It might, however, have a measurable impact on drivers from the 1950’s and 1960’s given that the retirement rates were often higher (for example, Clark won the 1964 Belgian GP, despite being only around 4th fastest, because Brabham and McLaren ran out of fuel and Hill’s fuel pump failed in the closing laps).

  12. I do wonder for how long we can expect the Spanish Grand Prix to survive. The success of the race seems to be dependent on Alonso. The crowds were notably thin pre-Alonso; the grandstands were rammed at the peak of his success, and now crowds are thinning once again with Alonso no longer fighting for championships. He will surely retire within the next few years, and I can’t imagine the race drawing a lot of support without him, particularly when there is a cheaper (and arguably more entertaining) alternative in the form of MotoGP, with plenty of Spanish stars to headline. The cut in government funding is, I fear, the beginning of the end of the Spanish Grand Prix.

    1. That’s quite an interesting insight.

      I do not think, correct me if I am wrong, that the Spaniards have historically been known for their Formula One enthusiasm until Alonso appeared on the scene. Seeing their own son storm unto the scene of a global sport like Formula 1 with back to back titles was something to be proud of. And so they could relate to the sport. Over time, Alonso’s stellar career in F1 has given us the likes of Roberto Merhi and Carlos Sainz Jr, all promising F1 drivers from Spain and if I may add to that list, Sergio Canamasas currently driving for Hilmer Motorsport in GP2.

      Seeing Spain’s favourite Motorsports son and quite arguably the best of his generation being lapped by faster cars race weekend after race weekend isn’t funny and simply unencouraging.

      Now, if the Germans whose son (MS) is the greatest of all time in the sport and currently have another (SV) who is on his way to being a great, could steadily continue to tune off F1, stop attending races and eventually stop hosting an F1 race altogether, what stops the Spaniards?

      Formula One’s future in Spain certainly doesn’t look bright. And this subsidy withdrawal (partly though it may be), is another gaping hole in the hull of the ship called Formula 1.

  13. I don’t agree with this. He can controll this sport.

  14. Happy birthday MSC!

    Agreed on Lewis Vettel, being on Sen Pro level.. For sure they are better in most ways. Now Senna made car dance. Vet and Ham do little of that. But cars dont dance anymore. Other than that, they are on their way to match MSC now, whom I hold as greatest ever.

    Both Ham and Vettel look set to have a firm chance in reaching 90 victories and several more titles. Perhaps greatest threat to their achievements are eachother.

  15. Unfortunately COTD whilst seemingly astute fails to grasp the reality of the situation. You can argue this with any given number of example races but here is the maths…

    Assuming the cars have equal reliability, if a driver is running in the midfield and another car breaks down he has a 50% chance of gaining a place, running in the top 4 a 0-15% chance of gaining a place. The higher you run the less you gain by other cars breaking down. This is the SAME now as in Prost’s and Senna’s day but the crucial difference is whilst the chances of gaining places whilst running in the top four were only 4% or 5% greater than now the chances of a car breaking down were probably 25-30% higher. Therefore (even taking into account they has slightly more reliable cars than their peers) Prost and Senna probably had at best a 20% less chance of winning.

    I’ll flesh this out some more and post in a few weeks time. I want it to be irrefutable.

  16. @tricky and Sean Newman
    Formula 1 is not an absolute science. Not all F1 cars are equally reliable, and that itself nullifies any mathematical approach.

    I’ve recalled all the races where Senna gained victory because of the reliability or misfortune of an opponent:
    Monaco 1993, Monaco 1992, Hungary 1992, Italy 1992, Brazil 1991, San Marino 1991, Belgium 1991, Hungary 1988, Japan 1988, Detroit 1987, Monaco 1987. That is eleven races. He lost about that many races because of unreliability, it evens out.

    Vettel has gained exactly one. That is Singapore 2012. However, he has lost plenty, including Bahrain 2010, Australia 2010, Korea 2010, Abu Dhabi 2011, Europe 2012, and arguably Silverstone 2010, 2011 and 2013.

    1. Absolute rubbish.

      You can never nullify a mathematical approach. This is probability which is a well understood branch of maths. Even the odds of roulette can be analysed this way so don’t knock it.

      Reliability IS a factor when comparing current drivers to those of yesteryear. As I said in my previous post, you can quote all the examples you like and it doesn’t change the probabilities, also I acknowledged a variance in reliability.

      The simple fact of the matter is (and this is really basic high school maths) if you finish less races you have less chances to win period.

      Look at like this, if Vettel finishes 19 out of 20 races in a year he could in theory win 19. That’s 95%. If Senna finishes 15 out of 20 races in one year he could win 15, that’s 75%.

      I realise the other drivers have roughly equally reliable cars at their time but in a hypothetical year of 20 races if both drivers performed equally against their peers and they won 50% of the races their cars finished. Vettel would win 9.5 races and Senna 7.5 but you would have to rate them equally all other things being equal.

      I rest my case.

      1. You can never nullify a mathematical approach. This is probability which is a well understood branch of maths. Even the odds of roulette can be analysed this way so don’t knock it.

        And yet despite that, your mathematical approach continuously fails to confirm the real life evidence we have right in front of us.

        Senna lost about 15 races because of the unreliability of his car, the bulk of these races come from 1985 and 1989, although there are also several from other seasons. He gained 11 races because of the unreliability of drivers in front of him. That makes his net loss equal to 4 victories. His tally should have in theory been 45 wins in 161 starts.

        Vettel has lost six races because of misfortune when he was leading at the time. He has gained only one (Singapore 2012). That makes Vettel’s net loss 5 wins. His tally should in theory have been be 47 wins out of 158 starts.

        Vettel inherited 10 less wins from his competitors misfortunes than Senna did. That is the price you pay for driving in a much more reliable era.

        Nevertheless, even if we adjust for reliability, Vettel would still have won more races than Senna in a shorter career span.

        Where’s the nonsense excuse about reliability now? A mathematical approach is worthless when you are dealing with a very inprecise science and the evidence is right in front of us. We know how many races both Vettel and Senna gained and lost because of reliability. We know that Vettel has not benefitted more than Senna did.

        1. Ok I’ll have one more try! hehe

          You are correct, my mathematical approach does not confirm what actually happened because it cannot. BUT I am not trying to!!!. I am trying to prove that winning races was harder in days gone by because of reliability. Probability does definitely prove this. I am not trying to compare Senna to Vettel. I am trying to prove that you have to take into account reliability when you do. Actually comparing their results and how they got them does not address this.

          Do you understand the laws of probability? Just answer yes or no…

          Do you understand that if you have a car that finishes 20/20 races it is theoretically possible to win 20 races?

          Do you understand that if you have a car that finishes 10/20 races it is theoretically possible to win only 10 races?

          I am not trying to say what will happen, but what are the CHANCES of it happening.

          More mechanical breakdowns means more different drivers win. More winners mean the wins are spread more thinly, less per driver for the same effort/skill.

          Incidentally I am not just using

          my mathematics

          . I am referring to the universal laws of probability that are fundamental and unalterable. This is high school maths.

          Also you are missing my point. As I’ve said before we KNOW what has already happened. You have listed lots of examples of results of historic races. I am not arguing with you analysis of previous races but what were the ODDS or chances that these things happened? Do you know?

          Was it harder to wins races in years gone by than now? The ODDS say YES. Therefore a win in years gone by is worth more than a win now.

          Simply quoting what actually happened does not change the odds of it happening. It does not give any indication as to whether it was harder to win in years gone by or not.

          My case is still rested.

          1. I’ll simplify it for you.

            Theoretically, take two drivers,

            Driver A does a 20 races season in 2016. His car is the class of the field, he is a brilliant driver, his car never breaks down and he wins 20 races.

            Driver B does a 20 race season in 1985. His car is the class of the field, he is even more brilliant than driver A, but his car breaks down 50% of the time and he wins only 10 races.

            Which is the better driver?

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