F1 urged to delay 2017 changes by a year

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In the round-up: Williams technical chief Pat Symonds argues for F1’s technical overhaul in 2017 to be put back a year amid disagreement over the plans.

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With Raffaele Marciello out, Ferrari’s Driver Academy now consists of Antonio Fuoco and Guan Yu Zhou:

So Marciello is officially out of the FDA after much speculation, but Charles Leclerc isn’t in? As if their young driver program wasn’t weak enough, Ferrari have sacked the only F1-eligible of their drivers.

Of course that isn’t a problem when you can snatch drivers like Vettel from other teams once they’ve grown them up… though if they could do that before those same drivers have won four championships for others, that’d be great!

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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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36 comments on “F1 urged to delay 2017 changes by a year”

  1. I’d be quite happy for that to be the case if it means that sensible decisions are taken. The revisions based upon Pirelli’s statement to abandon changes to the underbody but retain performance gains from the wings didn’t give me much hope for the rules being a positive progression.

    1. Don’t be surprised to see Pirelli announce they have 2 yr contract to fit all Mercedes production vehicles.

      1. That would rather tread on Bridgestone’s toes who in August?? last year announced a new partnership with merc.

    2. A big “if” Max, all their ideas seem to directed to their own strengths and weaknesses without any real thought about how they will affect the actual racing except in such superficial areas as noise levels and ultimate lap times.
      It seems Bernie doesn’t have to try very hard to sow dissention and disharmony amongst the teams and have them running around like headless chickens instead of working together to get the CVC monkey of their collective backs and reclaim ownership of F1.

    3. In other news, Hembery said that the wider tyres will account for 1,5-2 seconds laptime improvement out of the planned 4-6 seconds alone.

      That’s just a side note, I also concur that more downforce should come from the underbody and the diffuser (I’m not against more ground effect, more of a ‘wing car’, if you like, with properly regulated ride height rules.) That’s the way to go if we also want to retain the number of overtakings we saw in 2011-13, it’s all about dirty air, it’s unbelieveable that the powers-that-be still don’t seem to recognise the importance of this. (Based on the cutbacks on the diffuser, it seems like they don’t.)

      1. I’m certainly not confident that another year for them to ‘get it right’ would actually result in them getting it right. They are obviously dysfunctional to have even gone to this current chapter to begin with, that is so rife with concerns at least in the way they have gone about it, and even if they had to go to these PU’s, which meant complete and wholesale changes.

        There are too many cooks in the kitchen. They may all have a general idea of what they need to do…they must…they are the ones living it… yet cannot agree on the actual means to the end.

        I’m no fan of dictatorships but I don’t mind a democratically elected leader actually leading but putting his/her foot down once in a while.

        But anyway, amongst the hundreds of things one can say about the current issues at hand and 2017/18, much might change if even just one team like Ferrari can be Mercedes’ near equal in 2016 and give them a real challenge…or…as real as it will ever be given Ferrari’s veto power and extra millions from F1.

        I have no issue with Merc’s dominance because they save the day by allowing a real rivalry on the team. But for others who do care and want to see someone else challenge, I think much of the debate of F1’s direction would subside or alter if Merc could be challenged this year. F1 has always taken measures to alter a period of dominance when said period has gone on ‘too long’. Symonds thinks it is not too long yet I suppose, but admits his opinion likely won’t guarantee him his postponement, and for many, a stop to Merc’s dominance couldn’t come soon enough. No matter what they do and when they make changes, there is no guarantee another team won’t dominate in the same way…even Mercedes could…still.

        So how about just making the racing close, huh? Reduce the dirty air effect so that no matter the other stuff surrounding it, we have several drivers that could win on any given day, and suddenly all the other drama might take a back seat to the drivers creating the story on the track with their currently under-utilized skills at racing cars, and without their over-utilized skills at monitoring systems while handcuffed to race in the pinnacle of racing by dirty air and conservation. Surely they could all agree to at least the very achievable and necessary goal of simplifying and getting back to basics amidst such convoluted turmoil. Time to take a step back and zero the scales by firstly and mainly creating a greater ratio of mechanical grip to aero, and then let the story on the track settle things. That doesn’t have to take sweeping and expensive changes to implement, and once done might find them wondering why they were considering more sweeping changes, already.

  2. They have no plans, ideas, results. Never, nothing.

    1. Yup, they are all completely clueless. And they are apparently all highly intelligent (and well-paid) people. How can such a popular, money-rich and advanced sport be so poorly run?

      If you put a bottle of milk down on a table in front of the people who run F1 and it had a price tag on it, you’d probably get a nine hour discussion on how much it costs until the person bringing in the biscuits points out that there is a price tag on the bottle.

  3. Well. Reminds me of engine rules, Bernie trying to postpone them “Forever”.

    Williams is in good place right now, they could make due with some rule stability. So could all well off mercedes teams, money is rolling in, rules are stable, competition from other engined teams low. In stable regs making up 2s gap on aero is very very hard.

    But then lets be honest, rules are a big change. Last time something like this changed chasis side was 2009,… One can only imagine awesome loopholes engineers will find, if rules are not writen well, and enough time is given.

    Which brings me to Symonds suggestion, postpone, think it throu, prepare well. Imagine 2017 rules backfire and racing is hurt even more?

    Only time will tell. We will see during the year where things are going. But come first tests, if Mercedes is anywhere near dominant, everyone will cry for new aero in 2017.

    1. I agree, why change the rules unless there is actually a need to change the rules? I think it is still too early to be talking about rule changes. By keeping the rules stable you allow the other teams to catch Mercedes, and you allow teams and manufacturers to develop the technology that lowers lap times.
      It may be there is less incentive for teams to try and catch Mercedes this year when there are rule changes ahead, because they can get better results in 2017 by concentrating their efforts in technologies that they will need for 2017, which may result in a less competitive car this season than they would otherwise have produced. What is the point is Renault-Illmore and Honda developing a new racing engines if all the technology is going into the bin at the end of this year?
      The question that Mercedes domination of the 2015 season raised is maybe technology is advancing so fast that when one team starts to become dominant then the other teams will never be able to catch up. As far as I know that isn’t the case.
      We should be thankful the team dominating is Mercedes and not Ferrari because they have a veto, and if they dominated they could challenge any rule changes that inhibited their dominance.

  4. ” We are working very hard to reduce costs, to that effect we have decided to change the cars and engines completely next year, just like we did last year, and if that does not work fear not, we will do it again the following year and the year after that until we get it right”.

    “We hear the complaints from the fans and to that effect we are working tirelessly to find ways to increase the number of pit-stops and thinking of ways to install amplifiers in the exhaust pipes.”

    1. Is that an official quote?

      1. More reading between the lines, or a synopsis, if you will.

      2. It’s satire.

    2. ” We are working very hard to reduce costs, to that effect we have decided to change the cars and engines completely next year, just like we did last year, and if that does not work fear not, we will do it again the following year and the year after that until we get it right”.

      Nailed it..

  5. DK (@seijakessen)
    17th January 2016, 2:05

    The racing since the introduction of high degradation tires has been dreadful. The past few season have been even worse. I don’t know if the 2017 rules would have fixed much outside of perhaps us finally having the opportunity to see the drivers pushing the cars in a way that more resembles what we see in many other race series. F1 has become the antithesis of seeing drivers actually driving at a level that makes you impressed.

    The worse aspect of all of this though for me, is the continuation of letting the teams dictate what should or should not happen with the rules. This to me has been insane to watch over time; the teams having more and more input, to the point that nothing much ever changes because one, or a few teams decide it will hurt whatever advantage they believe to have.

    Jean Todt’s entire tenure has been marked by a total absence of leadership and a complete unwillingness to actually tell the teams what the rules will be. My interest in F1 is getting less and less because the whole thing has turned into a farce from the engine rules, to the tire construction, and the endless crying from the teams about how they might find themselves at a disadvantage should anything change. There’s so many race series that have an absence of all of this silliness, and they are fun to watch. F1’s become about as exciting as an appointment at the proctologist.

    1. The racing with high degradation tires a couple years ago is the only thing that made f1 watchable at times

    2. Are tyres the problem or a symptom of the problem?

  6. I just wanna say I reckon that caption competition is already the best we’ve had for a long time. Most of them are hilarious. I was going to comment on a few but there were too many great ones! COTD is also spot on.

    And honestly, how was double points the only thing that the Strategy Group unanimously agreed on? Obviously 6 hours trapped in a room will make you say yes to anything.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th January 2016, 12:08

      Good point on the Caption Competition @mickey18.
      Suggest all to read them before Keith announces the winner.

  7. Regarding the idea of re-introducing refueling, I’m not sure if it improves the show but I don’t think it would sends a negative message, like “gas-guzzling”, to the public.
    WEC has refueling but they don’t have a “gas-guzzling” image, at least to me.
    And I happen to know that there is something called Super Formula single seater race in Japan and they have refueling, too. Interesting thing is that they introduced a new engine in 2014 to replace a 3.2 litter normally aspirated V8 engine with a 2.0 litter turbo charged engine with the fuel flow rate restricted to 100kg/h like Formula1 but crucially without the limit on fuel usage during a race and made refueling during a race available (you can choose not to refuel). As far as I know the reasons behind this is a) Event organizer didn’t want drivers to be forced to manege fuel consumption but wanted them to race hard, hence removal of the limit on the amount of fuel available for a race (250km). b) Car makers wanted green engines, hence the fuel flow rate limitation. (100kg/h in 2014, 95kg/h in 2015)

    According to Super Formula’s web site their cars can do 2.3km/litter with 100kg/h FFR around Suzuka. If my calculation is correct:
    90 litter = 70 kg (1litter = 0.778kg)
    @100kg/h 2.3km/litter (2.3km/0.778kg = 2.956km/kg)

    With 100kg of fuel they can do 295.6km. A bit short of F1’s official distance of 300km(normally 300+km like 308km at Suzuka). I think it’s not bad at all and they archive this number with flat-out racing (at least without too much of lift-and-coast).

    The cars are not slow.
    Qualifying at Suzuka:
    Super Formula car 1’36.996 (100kg/h, ’14) 1’37.963 (95kg/h, ’15)
    F1 Manor (’15) 1’38.783
    F1 Sauber (’15) 1’35.673
    F1 McLaren (’15) 1’35.664 (JB with wrong engine mapping)

    At the end of Lap 46 (10 more laps to go for F1)
    The race winer at the Suzuka event would be 11th in the 2015 F1 Japanese GP (according to @JPdeOliveira who races in SF)

    Note: The Super Formula car weighs 660kg (inc. driver), start a race with about 70kg of fuel, so 80kg liter than F1 cars at the start. Maybe good race pace and good fuel consumption is due to this factor.
    The refueling is not super pressurized so the more you refuel the longer it takes and lose time.

    Any way, to me if F1 archive that impressive fuel consumption with flat-out racing, it would carry more convincing massages to the public and we wouldn’t need to hear engineers giving drivers too much instructions which spoils the show.

    1. WEC has refueling but they don’t have a “gas-guzzling” image, at least to me.

      Their races are also all at least six hours long :)

    2. I’m with Symonds on this (official quote):

      I think what it leads to is deterministic racing. What I mean by that is that at the moment we can determine a strategy, and then we take a more tactical view as we get into the race. In other words, we determine our pit stops based on what our tires are doing, which won’t necessarily be what we’ve predicted, and what’s happening with our competitors around us.

      The minute you’ve got refueling, it becomes deterministic. If you put in fuel to get to lap 24, you stop on lap 24. You obviously can’t go further than that, and if you stop earlier than that, the penalty is way too high. So you tend to get these races when you’re stopping when you don’t really want to.

      If we think back a few years to when we had refueling, or perhaps to when we got rid of refueling, we saw much better racing afterwards.

  8. F1 changes should be delayed to 2018. They clearly have no clue what’s the right thing to do.

    Ross Brawn is the best person I can think of to design the set of rules F1 needs. His engineering knowledge is undoubted, and the guys a racer. A proper racer.

    When Pirelli came into F1, he said “we don’t want to be faster in the corners,” in the context of aerodynamic grip. Which is of course spot-on. This is the kind of thinking we need at the top of Formula 1.

    An F1 car should be low-downforce, high mechanical grip. The End.

    I’m in the pro-refuelling camp (cue the boo’s). Refuelling does not make for boring races as most of F1 would have you believe. Endless pre-race simulations, facilitating a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, Plan E until you pretty much run out of alphabet, that’s what makes for boring racing.

    I believe Pat likes to call this “deterministic racing,” and he’s right. Once you’re committed to a fuel strategy, it’s very difficult to change it, and this is EXACTLY the point. Getting your fuel strategy “wrong” allows for another team getting it “right” to challenge and maybe even beat you.

    Objections to refuelling are not about safety, not about cost, and any analysis they pull out is nonsense because it’s not comparing apples with apples. More like sausages with ice cream. It’s the same as everything else in F1 where the teams have a say, it’s about maintaining the status quo, protecting any competitive advantage. Nothing more.

    Jean and Bernie would be wise to implement an independent TWG ASAP, preferably headed by Ross, to draft a set of technical regulations and then hand them over to Max to translate into “legal speak.”

    Make refuelling non-mandatory (teams can make a gentleman’s agreement not to refuel if they like), with a total limit you can use for the race distance of (ie: 120kg), give the teams proper performance tyres with grip:durability ratio’s relative between the compounds (with free choice on which they run), and have a big red “OFF” switch on all computers/sensors/simulations (during the race and qualifying), and that will give you close, fast, varied and strategic racing.

    To be fair, just shutting down the data streams outside of practice and testing, reducing teams to effectively a pen and pad type scenario, would be highly successful all on it’s own. Paired with a “no communications concerning technical issues may be carried out throughout the race or qualifying” type regulation, and you’re really getting somewhere.

    The drivers have a digital display in their steering wheels, all “serviceable” car info could be put on there, together with a traffic light warning system (ie: green – good, amber – caution, red – danger), and it should then be a part of the drivers skill-set to solve or drive around the problem accordingly.

    Basically, in qualifying and the race, cut the umbilical cord.

    1. Great ideas. But seems to be going the other way.

    2. Jonathan Parkin
      17th January 2016, 11:35

      I do understand the point about endless race simulations. What has happened over the years is more and more thinking about what can go wrong hence we leave nothing to chance. The final round in Abu Dhabi last year is a case in point. There was literally nothing left for Mercedes to go for, they had both championships, Nico was in second, but they still went all out for a 1-2 finish. Result boring race

    3. Make refuelling non-mandatory (teams can make a gentleman’s agreement not to refuel if they like)

      Its often forgotten that when we last had refueling from 1994-2009 it actually started out as non-mandatory but as I describe the performance benefits of running half tanks or less are such that if 1 team decides to built a refueling car then they would all feel the need to in order to remain competitive.
      Just look at what happened in the early 1980’s. Brabham built a car designed around refueling & as soon as the performance benefits really started to become apparent all the other top teams quickly came up with refueling cars of their own.

    4. Refuelling does not make for boring races as most of F1 would have you believe.

      @thef1engineer I disagree, I watched the last refueling era in F1 & those races were a lot more boring than what came before & after because when we had bore-fueling all of the action, interest, excitement & passing was done in the pits.

      I don’t need any data or comment from the teams telling me that because i saw it with my own eye’s & all whatever data or comment has come out since has just confirmed the view I already had.

      Refueling does nothing for the racing but hurt it as watching 90% of all position changes done in the pits with good battles for position occurring via time trial sprints rather than actually fighting it out in a close on-track duel with a real incentive to try & overtake on the track is simply not interesting or exciting to watch.

      I would also point out that when we last had bore-fueling 90% of the fans complained about these very things every race & at the time a vast majority of f1’s fans were constantly saying refueling should be banned because the negative effect it had on the racing was clear as day to anyone watching those races.

      1. You should be completely against ALL fuel stops then, because so many passes in f1 are now when tyre changes happen. For a dreadfully boring series with lack of overtaking, why not refuelling? A bit more interest to the fans, and every team has the same rules to play with so it doesn’t help anyone and disadvantage another.

        1. For a dreadfully boring series with lack of overtaking, why not refuelling?

          The funny thing is that there is more than double the number of on-track overtakes today that an any point when we had refueling.

          The stats show a clear trend that as soon as refueling was brought in overtaking took a steep decline overnight & as soon as refueling was banned (2010) the overtaking figures immediately went back to where they had been before & that was before artificial nonsence like DRS & pirelli tyres came in for 2011.

          Refueling hurt far more races than it helped, It took great races where we had drivers battling it out on track & made them utterly boring by segmenting the race into what amounted to a series of time trials where as soon as strategy took over the drivers were nowhere close to each other on track.

          Look at races like the 2004 French Gp, Pre-refueling people use it as the definition of why refueling was so great, Ferrari going for a 4-stop strategy with Schumacher who put in qualifying laps through every stint. However from a purely racing point of view that race sucked because you had Schumacher & Alonso fighting it out for the lead despite been nowhere near one another on the track from the moment Schumacher went off strategy, There was no close racing, There was no good fight & there was no overtake because as refueling did with every race all of the focus was been put on the pit lane & the fuel strategy at the expense of the on-track product which should always be the primary focus.

          Refueling took races that should have been exciting & should have featured close racing & potential overtaking & simply moved everything into the pit lane to the point where watching what wasn’t going on out on the track was almost pointless because that wasn’t where any of the action was happening.

          For all the whining about what F1 is like now the racing is way better than it was when we had refueling, There is a lot more close racing, A lot more overtaking (Even discounting DRS moves) & a lot more of the action is been conducted on the track rather than in the pits.
          And also unlike refueling when its just down to tyre strategy at least the drivers actually have some input, Fuel strategy was determined purely by the team engineer’s with no input from the driver. The drivers have much more input & much more of a say in tyre strategy because they can affect how the tyres wear & when they will need to stop which is something they couldn’t do with refueling.

  9. The 2010 season (the first season after the ban of refuelling, and the last before the introduction of DRS) provides the reason refuelling shouldn’t return to F1.

    1. That is NOT why that was a great season, it would have been just as great with refuelling, and perhaps even better

  10. Re pastors bio: showed up with loads of petro dollars, eventually won gp2, went to williams, won a grand prix, crashed A LOT!!! Done!

  11. Defenitely makes sense to refrain from making a change now. Clearly there is no longer a clear view of what these new rules should achieve (if there ever was), so introducing “something” is just plain stupid.

    Changing things now, and then maybe again the next year, and the next etc would just bring enormous cost, it would be bearable only for the richest of teams and it would not sove anything without a clear objective.

    Also, if we postpone the rules, they could integrate findings about the closed/better protected cockpit right away, making the whole concept fit in with the cars. That would at least be one clear and sensible objective (better safety) these new rules could be focussed upon.
    And it would allow more time to see where the engines will be (probably close enough to those hyped up 1000 bhp that we can just leave them be, let the laggards catch up and lower prices) and we could give time to allow convergence to play its role towards the grids getting closer together.

    Although when we think about it like that, it would be better to just postpone it altogether towards the 2020 season. Then it would be the same time for new commercial agreements to be in place, and that would open up some of the things that are currently blocking any progress – the skewed funding and the way the FIA have handed Bernie and the teams the prim in sitting around and endlessly discussing rules to weed them down to nothing.

  12. ColdFly F1 (@)
    17th January 2016, 12:39

    it would be better to just postpone it altogether towards the 2020 season

    You’ve got a good point there @bascb.
    As much as I was looking forward to the faster/wider/lower-winged cars in 2017, it got watered down so much that I prefer some stability in which teams can evolve and get closer. With some simple PU rules during these years I can wait until 2020 for the big shake-up.

  13. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    17th January 2016, 23:03

    Same old story with F1. No one has the guts to take a decision for good the sport. Always delays, ideas being vetoed or watered down. Self interest is no1 in the F1 rule book. It’s so frustrating!

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