Drivers want cockpit covers by 2017 “at the latest”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One drivers call on the FIA to prioritise cockpit protection and want higher-performing tyres.

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Comment of the day

Are Manor’s recent hirings about something other than their immediate performance on the track?

I’m not going to get high hopes for Manors transformation this year. Staff rarely make a day one impact, it’s more likely the real pay off if any will be for 2017 with their current signings. Also while the Mercedes power unit and Williams gearbox and suspension is undoubtedly going to provide a step up from the 2015 running, it’s not like they’ve been hammering the aero development like Haas have this year.

And with the rumour that Honda have found 230 horsepower during the Winter I can’t help but think business as usual for Manor with no one to really fight with at the back.

And the cynic in me is still thinking Stephen Fitzpatrick being a business man is trying to increase the value of Manor ready to offload it. I wonder what kind of stock options the new signings have had because they are pretty big names to be joining a back marker?
Philip (@Philipgb)

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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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121 comments on “Drivers want cockpit covers by 2017 “at the latest””

  1. does anyone else feels that the F1 site and all related are too uk focused? they don’t put subtitles on their videos, nor offer other languages for it. For me, it isn’t a big problem, but not everyone understands english and it’s a world championship…

    1. There you see, Bernie was right, he is not getting paid 1 penny for the F1 website and all he gets are complaints, tsk, tsk, poor Bernie.

    2. For me, that focus expresses itself in a different annoyance: they keep trying to paint Nigel Mansell as a legend when having him as a legend stretches the meaning of this world quite a bit.

      1. Mansel is a legend. The end.

        1. Legend: “a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated.”

          I look forward to the documentaries in 50 years’ time featuring intrepid explorers braving the flooded vales of darkest Worcestershire in search of the truth about Nigel Mansell.

    3. @matiascasali I wouldn’t say ‘UK’ focused is the word. The fact content is mostly in English hinges on the fact that it’s as close to a universal language as the world currently has, spoken in some degree by most first-world countries (and many third-world countries).

      Don’t underestimate the time needed to adequately translate and write subtitles for content – running stuff through Google Translate doesn’t cut it any more.

      1. You think that a global brand with all the money it have, cant afford a trilingual site? And itsnt just in english its british english…

        1. That is because England is in Britain, so the only real English is British English, anything else is not true English.

          1. The world tends to speak United States English not England English.

          2. @Andre Furtado – not true. India, Pakistan and Nigeria have more English speakers when combined than the United States and they all speak dialects that are more closely related to British English than US English.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        26th January 2016, 15:59

        @optimaximal Yeah but don’t underestimate the time and effort that goes into arranging 21 Grand Prix, designing 10 cars, moving tons and tons of equipment all over the world… All very time consuming but also necessary.

        In the grand scheme of things and considering how much money F1 makes (although how much gets past Bernie is up for debate), you really think they couldn’t hire someone who can speak a few languages to translate?

        Just did a quick check: NFL? Multi-languages. UFC? Multi-languages. FIFA? Multi-languages. In fact, pick any major website (sporting or not) and you’ll find it’s in multi-languages.

        I only speak English so I can’t say it’s something I’ve paid much attention to in the past but how on Earth can a sport that considers itself “international” not at least translate their page into some of the languages it races in!? The American sports are primarily national ones and even they translate into multiple languages!

        F1 – always finding new and exciting ways to exclude people!

        1. @petebaldwin I’m not disagreeing. I’m just saying it’s more work than just automagically translating the site. Most foreign language sites employ dedicated staff and as we’ve discovered, FOM doesn’t like investing in anything apart from it’s own pockets.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            26th January 2016, 16:32

            @optimaximal – I think that’s the issue – it’s fine talking about why F1 is becoming less popular and less popular with every year but in truth, almost everything F1 does/fails to do is a contributing factor. Things like:

            Making F1 as expensive as possible for fans.
            Making F1 sound as exciting as my Ford Focus.
            Moving F1 races to parts of the world where people aren’t interested in F1.
            Refusing to do anything simple (such as translation) to help build interest in said areas.
            Refusing to have any sort of social media presence in a world currently dominated by that media.
            Openly stating you do not care if children are interested in F1 despite most of us becoming F1 fans as children.
            Ignoring any suggestions or requests from drivers or fans.
            Sticking with unpopular concepts to save having to solve real problems.
            Highly controlling what teams and drivers are allowed to say to the press.
            Paying teams unfairly and not based on their finishing positions.
            Allowing some teams unfair political advantages over other teams.

            In fairness, it’s easier to look at what changes F1 has made over the last 5 years to try and reverse the trend of people switching off. So far, they have…… ummm….. err…. Oh, they made sure there was a clash with Le Mans to stop F1 drivers being involved and realising how much they are missing pushing a car to their limits. They’ve also….. no I’m out.

    4. Because English is sort of world official language. It is used for maritime navigation, airline navigation. For international trade purpose.
      World has too many languages to begin with.

      1. That may be true, but remember that spanish is the second language in the world, in terms of native speakers, and even if english is the de facto universal language, it doesnt mean f1 site should be so british biased

        1. Purely by that argument of number of speakers we should have everything in Chinese.
          Where in did you find the British bias? Only thing I have noticed in commercial point of view rather than fan point of view. But then it is the official website and for fans we have fan based website.
          If you are talking about I will disagree but even if it did have British bias then “…” should give the hint.

    5. @matiascasali English is the de facto global lungua franca though.

      I mean, I’m pretty sure more people would understand if I write “english” rather than “engels”.

      1. Exactly, also if one looks at only the native speakers then English will be third, but English is used extensively in many parts of the world as official language even if no one is native speaker.
        If accounted for non-native speakers who use English extensively it will also be the most spoken language.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        26th January 2016, 16:07

        @davidnotcoulthard – Yeah but English being the most popular language is an awful excuse for not bothering to pay a tiny amount of money out to have the website translate.

        If you run a business, you want customers… Without customers, there is no business! You go to every affordable effort to attract customers so they spend money on your product. That is why every single big company that sells things, has a website in multiple languages. They also have a big social media presence and attempt to design products that people want to buy….

        I wonder why F1 is slowly becoming irrelevant?

        1. And every worthwhile company has a sales department,.. But not FOM

          f1 page is a joke. Cannot hold a candle to unofficial pages.

    6. When F1 starts becoming bothered about marketing itself, having translators of the official site for each major market should be high on the list of priorities. After all, it’s a lot easier to find out about a sport if it is in a language you can read directly, rather than one which must be translated by a third party (or, indeed, third party software).

    7. Complete nonsense, this is a website for English speaking readers, if and when Keith has the time to translate it into other languages I am sure he will, but there are plenty of spanish websites out there covering F1 which aren’t in English. The same applies to german websites. If I want a say German focus website I would go to a website which is run from Germany etc.

      1. Actually everytime i visit a german F1 discussion i want to leave the planet. That’s why I’m here. Much easier to deal with a little Hammy-overapreciation than with your run of the mill german RTL-viewer :D Also i think F1 would do well to remember it pretty much IS a british sport. Would rather see them race a (not tielked) knockhill or Throuxton than Abu Dhabi…

      2. @james
        He’s writing about the official website, not an unofficial fan site like this.
        I personally feel they should be multilingual and also support the fan sites some way, maybe access to archives or permission to post official articles.

      3. I took the original comment to be about the official F1 website, not F1 Fanatic.

      4. Did you notice i wasnt talking about this site, but about f1 official site

    8. doesn’t bother me at all and i’m not from, nor living in the UK.

  2. F1 drivers are not paid lots of money to have fun ! They are paid to drive slowly and not wear out their tyres, who do they think they are ? F1 is all about preventing tyre wear and has always been so, I know this because F1 fanatics have been telling me so ever since Pirelli tyres became mandatory, and I thank them for setting me straight.

      1. @mashiat @anon (of course – there’s DRS that sadly removes all that…..)

    1. @hohum, rather than an ossified sport that tries to cater for an audience of middle aged European fans who will persistently nevertheless attack the sport for failing to live up to a romanticised and fictionalised version of what they imagine the sport used to be like?

      1. That’s what I love about F1. I love when I’m watching the race, and they pull up the graphics showing which tire compounds each driver used. This year they had a sweet new graphic showing me who was able to burn LESS fuel. Racing is a complex sport, not some basic crap. It’s not NASCAR where you just put your foot down and hold on! Managing your assets, like in a video game, is much harder and more impressive. That’s why it’s F1, the most complex racing in the world, and that’s why it the best!!!!!

        1. It’s not NASCAR where you just put your foot down and hold on!

          I get the point you’re trying to make, but NASCAR isn’t like that anymore either… Those cars are actually quite high-tech under the surface.

          1. Don’t they still run with carburettors and iron engine blocks?

          2. @geemac They’ve been fuel injected for the past few years but yes, they’re still compacted iron blocks.

      2. @anon No matter what has happened in the past, which was fine for some people yet debated as no better by others, there’s nothing wrong with the notion for the future of closer racing and an audience that feels the drivers are pushed to their limits while being able to push their cars thus too. The drivers have just finished saying they are not taxed enough and want to go racing. What more do we need to hear about the current state of F1? Or is this just pure romanticism from the drivers? If they’re dreaming and we’ll never get to improving the current format, then F1 will only continue to auger itself into the ground as not only audience falls away, but drivers do too.

        1. @robbie, the romanticised fictions that I referred to were more in line with the usual mythologies that are dragged out by older fans, such as the way that certain pieces of technology, from wind tunnel testing to computerised telemetry systems, are often written out of the history of the sport to create a more primal image of the past, which is then used to play up the “machismo” of those who participated in it and create a false idyll.

          It is the fact that, whatever is done to alter the sport, it will never satisfy those who always project an airbrushed image of the sport . No grid can ever be as equal enough for them, no driver can ever push hard enough, no engine can ever be powerful enough – always there will be something wrong with the competition, or the cars, or the circuits and so on, because no sport can ever compete with the perfect ideal that they have in their mind.

          Just as an example, there are those who nostalgically reminisce back to the mid 2000’s as being an idea, but did people at the time hail it as a golden age of racing? No – people complained about the reintroduction of driver aids (such as traction control) that made the cars easier to drive, people complained about cost inflation due to technical changes and unequal revenue payments that drove small teams to bankruptcy, about small teams resorting to employing inexperienced pay drivers, about customer teams being sold inferior engines at inflated prices and about manufacturer teams using their musclepower to bend the regulations of the sport to their advantage – all complaints that sound rather familiar to us now, but increasingly seem to be forgotten about now that people want to present it as a somehow “purer” age.

      3. petebaldwin (@)
        26th January 2016, 16:39

        @anon- you forgot to mention the drivers who must also have a “romanticised and fictionalised version of what they imagine the sport used to be like” when they say they’d like tyres that allow them to “race” as opposed to “drive.” Someone needs to have a word with them!

    2. F1 is all about preventing tyre wear and has always been so, I know this because F1 fanatics have been telling me so ever since Pirelli tyres became mandatory, and I thank them for setting me straight.

      LOL, I think what you mean is that F1 fanatics have been telling you that looking after tyres, as well as many other components (engine/fuel/etc.), has always been a part of F1. There have been few times in history that a driver could race flat out flag to flag in F1.

      That’s not to say that F1 in it’s current form does not have serious problems…

    3. HA! LOVE IT!!!!

  3. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    26th January 2016, 0:53

    Being a big Williams fan I tend to cut Maldonado a bit too much slack as his Spanish Grand Prix win in 2012 gave me the most enjoyment of any race in the modern era. However, for Webber to say Pastor is the worst driver he raced against is very harsh, especially coming from someone who had Alex Yoong as a teammate!

    1. and EVEN having Alex Yoong as a teamate he STILL thinks Maldonado is the worst! quite a statement

    2. What an unwarranted overstatement from a not so good driver.

      1. Over 200GPs worth of experience. Has driven alongside Maldonado. Webber is rated highly buy his peers as an excellent wheel to wheel racer and has fought his way back through the pack many, many times without causing carnage… (due mostly to his bad starts)

        Answering honestly to a question he is being asked…
        What do you want him to do? Lie? Just for you?
        I think he is entitled to his opinion.

        I think his opinion is probably accurate.

    3. @jackthestig And was also on track at the same time as Yuji Ide!

      1. Did Mark even notice Yuji was there? I’m not sure they were on the same bit of track at the same time, Yuji was so far back… (Pastor, on the other hand, is kind of hard to miss due to his antics generally being in the midfield!)

    4. Basically, Webber said who is the worst driver in activity. Not in history, and I can only agree with him.

    5. I truly believe Maldonado would get about the same score as Raikkonen if he was in the Ferrari last couple of years.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        26th January 2016, 16:42

        I think you’re right but the difference is that Kimi is clearly winding down now – he doesn’t have the hunger or desire he used to have when he was winning Championships. Maldonado should still be on the way up.

  4. “Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alexander Wurz said drivers unanimously agreed on the “swift implementation” of head protection.” What does that actually mean? Which drivers? Actually unanimously? What “head protection”, the concept of making things safer?

    My vote is for drivers who want to race and who are willing to accept the risks associated with open wheel racing. If they can find some ways to protect them here and there, that’s great, but the halo concepts are an abomination so far.

    1. so to play that back, let me know if i got this right…

      you vote for drivers to die because you dont like the look of a “quick design exploration”?


    2. @chaddy I believe that all the drivers are a part of the GPDA, apart from Hamilton and Raikkonen. Unless that has changed in recent years. Personally, I think they should implement a 1967 Protos F2 bubble cockpit or a 50s style windscreen between the two mirrors. Both concepts are 50 years old. Eventually, we’ll have an integrated LMP1 type solution.

    3. Translation: all the drivers in the GPDA* voted for the current head protection research to be hurried up, and want the resulting advances on the car for next year at the latest.

      These drivers accept the risks. They also want those risks to be gradually reduced as methods of doing so without spoiling the racing are discovered.

      * – which is to say, about 13 current F1 racers and a handful of experienced test/reserve drivers, given that the 2016 rookies won’t have had time to join, 2 seats are still open and Raikkonen is unlikely ever to join any sort of meeting-orientated group)

    4. I want to know which drivers are stating they are in favor of it??!!!!

      So far the only one speaking publicly that I’ve seen is JB and while I like and respect him I totally disagree and think if he wants a car with a roof then he should leave F1.

      It’s utterly preposterous to think ANYTHING could have prevented the Bianchi tragedy.

  5. What’s wrong with just having a wrap-around windscreen that extends to the guards on either side of the driver’s head? The McLaren M23 springs to mind. It would look a lot better than this ‘halo’ concept (in my mind, anyways).

    1. “What’s wrong with just having a wrap-around windscreen that extends to the guards on either side of the driver’s head?”

      do you want the long list or the really long list?

      1. Please list the disadvantages, the long list please.

        1. I’ll have an attempt at this:

          – Finding something strong enough to be of help in a crash (i.e. staying in one piece and securely attached to the monocoque in even severe crashes, as opposed to turning into more debris through shattering) – this has been the main historical limitation on windshields being used this way in open-cockpit cars, though recent advances in materials are making this at least plausible. (Closed-cockpit series tend to have lower accident speeds than the type of F1 crash that is currently vexing the head protection researchers)

          – If it attaches to the guards on either side of the driver’s head, it will be too low and also interfere with vision (the line of the shield would be at the lower edge of the driver’s central field of vision)

          – Getting people to not abuse the windshield for aero purposes, with possible accidental subversion of the safety purpose resulting, and without standardising even more of the car than is currently standardised

          – Rain becomes more hazardous, especially if the windshield is angled in an effort to fit in with current long-and-narrow open-cockpit design (thus making shield tear-offs much more difficult to implement and making rain have a greater effect on vision)

          – Those “guards” are designed to deform in a substantial crash. So making the windscreen wrap round to them would require a hard mounting point at the transition to keep the windshield in place in an accident, possibly reducing the effectiveness of the headrest in an accident.

          – Possible impediment to getting out of the car in a hurry (probably more of a factor when the driver is doing this unassisted or there are complications such as the car not landing on its wheels or engine cover. Configuring a low windshield to be extrication-compatible would be rather easier than doing so with a high windshield)

          – Also, it does little for energy deflection, which is one of the two halves of head protection that is being attempted. The energy going into the windshield would go directly into the headrest (that’s what the guard on the side of the driver is) and from there directly into the driver’s helmet. Not only is this only slightly less direct than the usual monocoque-to-helmet energy route, it also alters the direction into lateral energy instead of longitudinal. In a head-first or rear-first crash (combined, more common than the side-first type) this leads to a particularly problematic combination of longitudinal (main direction of energy transfer through the monocoque/engine bay) and lateral (the windshield-influenced bit). This is one method of creating rotational forces, which cause head injury more readily than either longitudinal or lateral energy alone. So although it could reduce one type of head injury, it would aggravate another

          I think that is a suitable starting point.

        2. The windscreen described by @Stig Semper Fi is basically already in F1, it’s called the drivers helmet.

          Drivers want real protection, not some made up solution by arm chair engineers.

          Now if @Stig Semper Fi knows of some magical clear material thats stronger than the steel alloy beam along the centerline of the mercedes concept, I’d really love to hear about it… so would the rest of the world.

        3. Your three main components of said lift…

          1) A canopy can fog up during bad weather, increasing the likelihood of an accident. A system of ventilation would have to be designed to avoid this. I don’t can’t possibly know your engineering prowess, but this isn’t as easy to design as you might first assume. An F1 car doesn’t have the cockpit room. And what if this fails? Potentially, that might force a car to retire on grounds of safety.

          2) A driver must be able to leave the cockpit within a certain time. These times are tested and checked. Let’s hypothesise that an F1 car with a canopy catches fire at 170mph. The driver must be able to stop the vehicle and open the canopy before he can escape to safety.

          3) added complications to the already delicate operation of driver extracation after an accident…

          The list continues…

          I want to see drivers race in open wheeled, open cockpit cars, I really enjoy it! I really don’t enjoy seeing drivers get injured, or worse. This kind of change would take a lot of careful research before it can be implemented so any potential implications can be understood.

    2. Brilliant idea and I have always thought this as head is protected and it covers the counter argument of extraction in a fire.

      1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        26th January 2016, 10:26

        And still leaves F1 as an open cockpit formula.

        There must be aerospace standard transparent compounds that would either withstand great impacts or deform in a safe manner surely. Even if it shatters but absorbs the majority of impact that surely would have saved Massa from a coma in 2009?

        Please enlighten us Mr. X

        1. With the amount of energy involved, shards would likely have left Massa dead, let alone comatose. Of course, a windshield with strong enough energy to deflect the spring without shattering would have left Massa with nothing worse than the frustration of a P10 start position in next day’s race…

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            26th January 2016, 18:09

            I’m normally an advocate of closed cockpits but I really hate this halo design, it’s ugly, obtrusive, and wouldn’t have helped Justin Wilson.

            A much more elegant solution is to adopt the aerospace polycarbonate jet fighter canopy as demonstrated here

            The extraction argument is a valid one, but much like a jet fighter, the chassis could be rigged with small amounts of explosives to pop the canopy off in emergency situations.

            Technology is far along enough now that a car can be programmed to know when its stopped and on fire, or when its come to a stop after rapid decceleration, and this is F1, the home of driving new technology.

          2. @fullcoursecaution

            the chassis could be rigged with small amounts of explosives to pop the canopy off


            Explosives and a busy racetrack littered with flying/discarded canopies isn’t likely to make anything safer…

          3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            26th January 2016, 20:00

            @andybantam It only has break the catches to make the canopy detach from the chassis so it can fall to the ground in the cases of possible entrapment in a flipped car, or be manipulated by a Marshall in the case of entrapment under another car. Your vision of littered racetracks and flying canopies wouldn’t materialise given that it would only been needed in these rare circumstances

        2. A quick google search would answer all your questions wouldn’t it @Fudge Ahmed?

  6. how were the drivers allowed to speak out against the tires without reprimand?

    popcorn ready for BE’s reaction.

    1. @ Mr. X the drivers, individually, didn’t. It was the GPDA, which represents the drivers, which has spoken out. BE doesn’t have control over the GPDA.

      1. BE not having control of something… good one mate!

    2. I’m not sure they spoke out against the current tires in too insulting a way, but rather spoke on what they would prefer going forward. They know this is about F1’s mandate, not Pirelli’s literal ability to make better tires.

      I just don’t think F1 cares what the drivers want. For them to have the tires they want would require a complete reversal of F1’s current culture, or a second tire maker to come in and create a proper competition. I don’t see either of these things happening anytime soon, unfortunately.

      1. @robbie, More to the point it would require Bernie to admit having made an(other) error, like the Pope Bernie is infallible.

  7. I’ve said Webber’s exact words. Maldonado shows signs of being absolutely out of his depth, I commend Pastor for his dedication and bravery, because that’s all that allows him to be a competent average driver if everything goes to plan.

    1. @peartree I don’t agree that Maldonaldo is out of his depth.

      To be out of your depth, you have to be aware of your surroundings and understand the limits of your ability – Maldonaldo has proven, time and time again, that he has no awareness of either. He’s so self-assured of his position in the sport because of the Bolivar tap in his wallet that he doesn’t care how much carnage he causes, how much carbon fibre he shatters or injuries he inflicts.

      1. he can still be out of his depth even if he isn’t aware of it.

  8. @philipgb I both agree and disagree with your COTD. Agree because staff indeed cannot make an immediate impression. They’re the long term part. However since we both agree that Fizpatrick is a shrewd businessman there must be a short term part too and there is, in the shape of the Merc engine, Williams gearbox, and some stuff who have arrived earlier. There are much better prospect for improvement than some wild rumors about fantastical Honda power increases. And as I said above, they must be, since, as lots of people forget that, we’re now back to 11 teams and the team that finishes last gets diddly squat of the prize money. so if Manor is last again, and even worse if they’re not competitive with the other back end teams the value will decrease dramatically. So, either Fizpatrick is a shrewd businessman or he’s stupid. One or another, you decide, but he can’t be both

    1. @montreal95 @philipgb Given how Manor is getting some serious input whilst Sauber continues to stagnate, I think there’s a good chance of them being leapfrogged. Poor Monisha…

      1. @montreal95 @optimaximal

        Even if Sauber stagnate I don’t see how Manor can close the existing gap. At the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Manor were 3.4 seconds off Sauber’s qualifying time. It’s hard to estimate how much of that was the ’14 spec power unit but looking at the difference between Ferrari in 2015 and 2014 even if you gave all of the credit to the power unit for the performance increase, it’s only a 1-2 second improvement. Even if you predict the Mercedes power unit will be better, realistically we’re looking at less than 3 seconds gained from that upgrade alone.

        The 2016 Ferrari power unit is going to be improved, and Sauber will likely have a better chassis even if those gains are modest. Manor may close the gap, but it’s still going to be there unless they’ve made gains in the region of 2-3 seconds from aero.

        1. @philipgb It’s pretty easy to at least estimate. Ferrari moved from 4th place strugglers into 2014 to Mercedes persistent challengers. Sauber & Lotus went from scoring nothing to at least troubling the points, despite no noticable aero development on either of their cars. Manor, stuck on the 2014 unit, made no progress what-so-ever.

          It’s safe to say that they won’t be mega points scorers or even regularly challenging for points beyond 10th, but there’s a good opportunity for them to finally have an impact on tracks that aren’t Monaco or Singapore.

          1. @optimaximal

            Those team improvements though where they leapfrogged other teams were only possible because the relative performance gaps were smaller. Ferrari say being 1 second behind Red Bull, very realistic to overcome by both power unit and aero.

            Manor being 3-4 seconds off the closest team Sauber, realistically the Mercedes power unit is going to deliver less than 3 seconds, and aero less than 2 seconds. With the step forward Sauber will predictably make through the new Ferrari power unit and even modest aero and chassis gains it’s still going to place Manor behind them though maybe only to the degree it was in 2014. If they get a promising talent in the car like they had in Bianchi then possibly we could see a points grab to sneak 10th place.

        2. @philipgb 2 seconds/lap from aero is a very reasonable amount to expect. Because the 2015 Manor was essentially the 2014 car with some safety updates required by the FIA. So 2 seconds in 2 years-very much possible for a backend team. Top team can make farther progress than that even in 1 year

          1. @montreal95

            I guess we can only put a pin in it until March :)

            I’m predicting 2 seconds behind Sauber, right at the back.

          2. @philipgb You may well be correct come March about Manor being 2sec off anyone at the back. That still won’t make the part of your COTD that I disagreed with, true. Because if Fizpatrick wants to offload the team to the highest bidder then he doesn’t need the expense of those hirings that can only help with the 2017 car. In fact, he should sell the team immediately because the value of Manor will only plummet in 2016 if they’re last and outside the points prize money getting top 10. Surely such a successful businessman as him can see this?

            So the only logical conclusion to this problem is that the cynic in you is wrong, and maybe Fitzpatrick is really passionate about this, and really wants to improve the team for the long term. Whether that’s true or not, it nevertheless means that our dispute will not be resolved in March but much further down the line ;)

    2. It is necessary to be top-10 for two out of the previous three years in order to get any sort of payout from FOM. So Manor is safe until the end of 2017. However, Haas’ funds mean that Manor’s job can be expected to get progressively more difficult (continued participation of other teams permitting) as time goes on. So now is the time to be getting good people into the right places, because this is the best chance they will have of integrating into the squad in time to protect Manor’s position in 2017 and beyond.

      1. @alianora-la-canta Pretty much what I meant to say re:prize money, only much clearer. Thanks!

        What I read from this: it’s a long term project, and not a “sell ASAP” thing

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      26th January 2016, 16:48

      @montreal95 – Can’t be both?

      Are you honestly trying to say that despite the money he has made and the empire he has built that Bernie Ecclestone is not a shrewd businessman?

      1. @petebaldwin Are you suggesting BE is an idiot? ;)

        If you take into account only the last few years or so then I probably agree with you

    4. Oh dear, here I go again, the silly old-fart with the rose tinted glasses who thinks that history has some lessons to be learned. Once upon a time in a golden age long long ago some people decided they’d like to have a go at F1, usually they underestimated the challenge and dropped out, or they invested more money to hire talented people and buy better equipment, most of the teams racing today started this way. @montreal95,@philipgb,@alianora-la-canta,@optimaximal

      1. @hohum To be honest it’s way too early to say into which category will the Manor F1 project fit in the end. However, I’m willing to give Fitzpatrick the benefit of the doubt, since, apart from getting rid of Booth and Lowdon, he’s making all the right moves up to now

  9. Drivers should have some kind of transparent material covering the cockpit, and it closes like a fighter jet’s does, but the same time, you can still see the driver’s helmet.

    1. Closed cockpits have been investigated before, but they present real issues to extracting drivers during fires or rollover accidents. It’s not like F1 cars have the room for ejector seats…

      1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        26th January 2016, 10:28

        How many rollovers have we seen in modern times as opposed to actual or very close contact of objects and/or cars to a drivers head? Many more of the latter.

        1. @offdutyrockstar Just last year, Kvyat rolled into a gravel trap in Suzuka and Perez rolled in Hungary when his suspension failed. Maldonaldo tipped Gutierrez into a barrel roll in 2014 and Massa rolled in Germany.

          A thorough analysis of the Bianchi accident showed that if he had a cockpit, the forces involved would have still reduced his brain to mush and the result would have been the same. A cockpit may have saved Justin Wilson, but he may well be the exception that proves the rule. It’s also Indycar, not F1 – it’s easier to enforce something like this in a spec-series.

          1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
            26th January 2016, 11:17

            Well that told me! Haha.

            The incidents where a car didn’t fully roll and settle upside down didnt stick with me at all, but I see your point. :)

          2. A thorough analysis of the Bianchi accident showed that if he had a cockpit, the forces involved would have still reduced his brain to mush

            More FIA it-wasn’t-me whitewash than ‘thorough analysis’ @optimaximal. He lived for a long time after all, with no skull fracture. His head glanced off the crane.

            So logic suggests it only had to glance off with a bit less engagement for the contact to be survivable.

            And don’t forget a fire would be outside the cockpit. Outside a canopy.

          3. @lockup Could anyone really guarantee a fire would always be outside the cockpit? Outside a canopy? I don’t think so.

            I think the halo such as we saw depicted on a Merc last year, is brilliant. No screen in front that needs be cleaned, no enclosure such that air conditioning or condensation or entrapment or fire need be considered. Extra protection at minimal cost and redesign, and let’s go racing.

          4. The Halo is great as far as it goes @Robbie, totally agree, it’s just not effective against smaller objects, is all really. There’s still a driver egress issue too, though less of one. At the moment the whole driver’s seat can lift out, as long as the car is upright.

            With a sealed canopy if there are no tubes or cables in the interior I think that would be pretty fire-safe.

            But none of the options would come with a guarantee, it’s a juggling act to balance all the various risks. People forget that the open windscreen that FIA tested did successfully deflect the wheel clear over the driver. That option seems to have a lot going for it as well.

  10. Typical Webberism! No nonsense approach and I completely agree with him.

    1. Quizzed about who was the worst driver he’d ever shared a track with, Webber didn’t hesitate.

      Well, he should have listed half the grid of his current racing series before even thinking about the minor talents in F1.

      1. Webber only rubbishes F1. WEC is amazing and perfect in every single way and is waaaay better than F1 will ever be or has ever been according to him. And he definitely doesn’t miss it. Definitely.

        1. Did you even read the article? He listed many positive attributes about current drivers in answer to a question. The Maldonado statement, also an answer to a question, was a small part of the story.

      2. It was a F1-orientated item, and I think Webber knew there was no point citing some obscure GTE-Am driver half the sportscar fans (let alone F1-specific ones) would struggle to recall…

        1. Yeh he needs to bash F1 if he wants to stay relevant.

  11. Driver head protection will make the cars look U-G-L-Y, but it makes sense so I’m in favour. My only concern is to get away with the look of the head protection the rest of the car will need to look awesome. At the moment it doesn’t.

  12. Having been in a bitter rivalry with a stronger person myself, I always thought that once Mark is away for a couple of years he would be more appreciative of Vettel. In all honesty even in the heat of their rivalry he was more admitting to Seb’s quality compared to the likes of Alonso and Hamilton that just associated Vettel success with good luck.

    1. @ifelix Obviously Mark was in the best position to say ‘Wait, guys, *I’ve* got that car and I’m not winning everything!’.

      1. @optimaximal: Well I think his comment still maintains the capability to rally the team behind himself in a Schumachereque style. But at the time it was hard for him to admit that Vettel is overall the better driver and deserves that position. I think the combination of feeling that Vettel has the team behind him (I am not a subscriber to any conspiracy on unequal machinery) and the difficulty of admission that your teammate is just better than you made him to be silent about it.
        As Coulthard also have mentioned he never admitted while racing that Mika and Kimi were just better than him and at times had also the doubt that their car was somehow better. It is after all the part and parcel of a competitive soul to see oneself as the best.

  13. Interesting little piece about Marussia cars being offered for sale on the BBC web site –

    “The morning commute may be a drag but the opportunity to turn a few heads may smooth out the journey.
    So if you have about £200,000 kicking around in your sock drawer, that image in your head of cruising along the M1 in a Formula One car can become reality.
    Seriously… it’s all down to the fact four F1 cars from the Marussia family are up for sale.
    And while you may need a hefty wallet to support the fuel costs involved in owning an F1 model, maybe the outlay is worth it?”

    1. I doubt they come with the Ferrari Engine though!

      1. I think the ones on sale are the cosworth powered ones. Iirc the first ferrari ones were ’14 and hass bought them.

    2. @nickwyatt That was in the round-up last month. I just had an email from them the other day asking for publicity (having not received anything the first time around).

      1. An email from whom, @keithcollantine? From the administrators of Marussia surely, not from the BBC.
        Nonetheless, it’s an sign of recognition of the clout of your blog site.

  14. Regarding the discussion about canopy’s & why they are not been considered for the closed cockpit.

    Aside from the concerns about driver extraction that have been discussed already their was also problems with visibility that they struggled to find a solution to. The cockpit of an F1 car is narrower than in other categories which use closed cockpits (LMP cars for example) & are narrower than fighter jets so the canopy has to be curved at a greater angle which was causing a lot of distortion.
    There is also the concern in the wet as their isn’t the room around an F1 cockpit to fit a wiper system that would work at the level it would need to & again with the curvature of the canopy they had problems getting a wiper to clear the screen adequately to maintain good levels of visibility not just out the front but also the sides.

    An additional concern that was raised after some test’s was that with a curved canopy they found that projectiles were launched into the air at angles that would make debris clearing the debris fences & entering spectator areas more likely.

    The FIA did a lot of testing with canopy’s (As has Indycar) & both reached many of the same conclusions regarding the additional problems that solution created & neither were able to find adequate solutions to fix those additional concerns which is why discussions moved to ideas like the halo system.

    1. The article isn’t about ‘canopies’.

      1. No, but the discussion has been, @ef1

  15. Suddenly the jet-fighter like canopy seems more appealing (and more elegant) than the “Halo”.

    1. No it doesn’t.

  16. I have to fully aggre with both GPDA and Mark Webber.

    Canopies? It would make cars faster, so + in my book.

    Tires to extract the maximum from pinacle of motosport.. I think we all agree this is good.

    And M.Webber, he is a fine pundit and Vettel is a fine #1 driver. I will believe Hamilton or Alonso are better when they beat him in a fair fight.

    Fair being, car that is about same in performance… So get to Work Ferrari, so we see this duel. Ham might be better, but he still has to prove it to me.

    And finally, F1 is UK centric, no doubt. Most F1 teams are situated there. When it comes to motoracing no country does it better.

    What else? Change them tires. Thank you Bernie.

    1. Yeah i mean Vet did it fair lol…

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