Horner calls on FIA and FOM to lead driver-focused 2017 rules push

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Christian Horner wants firm leadership from F1’s regulatory and commercial bodies to push through new rules for next season which will make the driver’s role more significant.

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Ferrari will become the first team to launch their new Formula One car later today. Just three days later we will have seen all bar one of the 11 different cars which make up this year’s grid. The first day of testing begins on Monday as the 2016 season finally sparks into life.

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Comment of the day

David gives a different justification for Rio Haryanto’s promotion to F1:

I’m not trying to defend Haryanto in this matter, but let’s take our opinion at Manor’s perspective.

Formula One is always about sport and business. Like a coin, there is always two side in each of them. So what’s Manor business with Haryanto, anyway? Well, as far as I know, with Eurozone is in deep economic crisis and North America is not even better, Asia is big and lucrative market for F1. Did we see any Asian driver in F1 recently? Nope. So, how we could attract new viewers from Asia (South East Asia, for instance)? Easiest answer, is to put any Asian driver on the cockpit.

But why choose Haryanto, instead of other driver? First, he is Asian, second, he has the budget, and third, he has decent achievement (no need to be flashy, but OK). Manor knew that Haryanto meets this specification, and would be perfect (for business) if they named him for their driver. In time, if Haryanto finally could prove himself worthy, It’s a great bonus for Manor reputation.
David Adrian

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On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Stephen South who is 64 today. South made a single entry into the world championship at Long Beach in 1980, substituting for the injured Alain Prost, but failed to qualify.

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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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21 comments on “Horner calls on FIA and FOM to lead driver-focused 2017 rules push”

  1. What makes an exceptional driver ? I believe it’s an innate sensitivity to the balance and grip the car has and the fast reflexes needed to adjust the throttle (power delivery pedal), brakes and steering immediately to keep the car on-line at the fastest possible speed. If you agree with me please accept my observation on 2 of the above stories,
    1; Even with bigger tyres, more power and more downforce in 2017 the drivers will not be able to utilise all of their skill unless the tyres can withstand some “slip” without rapidly wearing out.
    2; Re COTD, with these current tyres a driver 99% as fast as the top drivers is probably all a team like Manor need as the cars can not succeed by being driven above 99% of their grip level so as Horner points out even the very best driver cannot compensate for a less than perfect car with this tyre regime.

    1. @hohum I don’t think it’s necessarily reflexes, but more the skill of knowing what’s going to happen or predict it in advance – coupled with ‘processing speed’, or the ability to really slow down the perceived speed of travel, to concentrate on every last millimetre, which obviously gets more difficult the faster you go.

      Physical peak will be around age 25, e.g. Raikkonen in the 2005 McLaren, but Schumacher or Alonso for example can hold their peaks much longer as they gain experience, which compensates for diminishing reflexes, well into the mid-30s. Tyre management depends on the type needed – with Pirelli it is thermal deg. They’ve hinted at abandoning that for 2017.

      1. @fastiesty, What you are describing is more or less what I mean by “reflexes”, it has to happen too fast for conscious thought or the driver will be merely mediocre.
        @drycrust, Yes those are needed skills but they can be learned.

        1. @hohum I once read the Royal Marines believed it was easier to build up brawn than it was to build up brains, so yes, the ability to manage the car during the race is learnt, but it requires intelligence to administer it.
          One of the skills expected in F1 is the ability to manage the tyres. If you can’t manage tyres then you simply won’t last in F1. Whether having that sort of tyre is right for F1 is another matter, the fact is that is the tyre that is going to be used this year, so drivers have to learn how to get the best out of them or they will have a long and slow season. Yes, having tyres that need managing means you can’t drive at 100% of the cars potential, but you also have fuel flow restrictions, and KERS restrictions, and MGU-H restrictions, and aerodynamic restrictions, and brake duct restrictions, and “manual” gear changes, etc, all of which mean the car can’t be just driven to 100% of what it is capable of. Those restrictions simply make it more difficult for those with less than the necessary skills to last in F1.

          1. @drycrust, I would agree that focussing solely on the physical act of driving alone is a narrow way of viewing ability – reducing it down to just that aspect effectively reduces the drivers into a mindless automaton.

            As you say, a fairer assessment would take into account a wider set of factors that extend into technical abilities and leadership qualities as well. That driver depends on the expertise of a much larger team, and the driver has to work with them in order to extract the maximum potential from their car and from themselves.

    2. While those skills are essential, there are more skills than those that are essential to be an F1 Drivers Champion. For example, being aware of how the engine is behaving, knowing when something isn’t right by the way the car is behaving, knowing when to change gear so as to get the most power without using the most “RPMs” (I noticed this when watching Lewis Hamilton driving), being able to come up with contingency plans to cover minor problems so you can finish the race, etc.

  2. Max Chilton wasn’t spectacular either (far from it), but it sorta helped the team move forward. Without his money and Jules’ result at Monaco, Manor wouldn’t be here today. Who says that can’t happen again? They needed the money, not just to survive, but to be competitive in their fight with the newcomers. Well done to them.

    I don’t like the idea of pay drivers but more often than not they are a necessity. He’s not filling a competitive seat, he helps the team a lot more this way than having 2 Pascal Wehrleins.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      19th February 2016, 10:51

      Yeah I agree – I don’t like the idea of pay drivers either but it’s not something the teams can resolve. Whilst teams aren’t paid their fair share, they will always be forced to find money from elsewhere and sadly, that’s often to the detriment of F1.

  3. On Celis Jr – I remember seeing somewhere at the time of signing how many millions his FP1 year was at Force India, be it on here or Reddit – I have a feeling that it was comparable to Palmer’s year at Lotus. Certainly very eager to get it in now!

  4. So if the Manor drivers have a combined 36 points, how are they able to race in 2016?

    I don’t like the distribution of points but the rules are there….

    1. Rio Haryanto got his Super License in 2012 by completing 300km in a F1 car for Marussia in the in season testing. He did not need to qualify for a license because he already has one.

    2. They can race because they have previously held a superlicence.

      1. That makes sense, knew I was missing something. Thanks

  5. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    19th February 2016, 3:42

    @keithcollantine I noticed there is or there will be a new “likes” option here at F1F? I clicked it but there’s something loading forever. Will you announce it soon?

  6. Although I’m no structural engineer, I thought Mercedes’ solution wouldn’t be particularly effective in avoiding Felipe Massa’s spring to the head accident. Debris hitting the driver on the head seems like the most frequent of accidents, and a solution to solve something like that should be addressed first.

    I have a feeling Red Bull’s canopy approach should be more effective in prevent debris accidents. From an aesthetic point of view a canopy might actually look better than the Halo approach as well.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      19th February 2016, 11:07

      @todfod – I think there has to be some compromise here though. Whilst the halo idea may not have helped Massa, it would have helped with most of the other similar incidents.

      A canopy would have helped Massa but what other problems could it create? If a car flipped over and caught fire, how would a driver escape? What if the canopy was damaged and wouldn’t open? That’s ignoring potential visibility problems – how would the canopy be kept clean? What about in the rain or if it fogs up?

      F1 will always have an element of danger and this should be controlled and reduced as much as possible but you have to be careful not to introduce a bunch of new issues.

      The chance of a driver being hit by a small object like Massa was is very small. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of another situation where a drive has been struck by something that a halo would have missed but a canopy would have stopped.

      Aesthetically, the canopy is miles better but F1 seems intent on making F1 look/sound as bad as possible so I don’t think that would even be a consideration.

    2. I agree, I believe a canopy is safer overall. Yes, there are questions like how do you deal with the squashed bugs on it. When you look at the debris flying around during a collision or when a tyre explodes, the only really safe way option is something like a canopy, although something similar to a motorcycle windshield might be a good alternative.

  7. Wow! This just keeps getting better and better. I’m a new follower of F1, started in 2012. And I have to admit, my bulk of F1 knowledge has come from this site. Thanks for that Keith. And can’t wait to see what you have in store for us.

    1. @brianfrank302 Thanks Brian, you’re welcome!

  8. Horner is the man! Red Bull is the benchmark in delivering new and exciting talent to the sport and while I know any technical regulations they push for will be selfishly aimed at their own team, they at least have a leg to stand on when they say equalization will bring driver talent back into focus. You know who agrees with them?

    and every other driver…

    1. Yes of course the drivers are very important, but who pays the bill to put them in the car? Extraordinary amounts of money are spent by companies with their own particular interests, which brings almost complete control over the drivers. It is unlikely that these companies will allow their control to be diminished. Money spent=control. The accountants control most forms of business and when they don’t unfortunately it often ends in disaster.

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