Start, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

US GP “will happen” – Ecclestone

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone expects this year’s Untied States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas to go ahead despite financial worries over the race.

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This weekend’s Caption Competition was won by McF1:

Lewis Hamilton, 2016

Nico virtually hit me!
McF1 (@Mccosmic)

Thanks to everyone who joined in this weekend and special shout-outs to Jayfreese Knight, Reganamer and Steve Rogers who also came up with great captions.

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On this day in F1

It’s leap year day! The only F1 driver born on February 29th was Masten Gregory, who finished second in the 1959 Portuguese Grand Prix driving a Cooper and won the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ferrari shared with Jochen Rindt (and allegedly Ed Hugus, though that is a matter of dispute).

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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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  • 39 comments on “US GP “will happen” – Ecclestone”

    1. This country does feel a bit like the Untied States at times (ref typo above).
      I hope Bernie’s right for once. (Bernie E., that is). I’m hoping to go to COTA this year.

    2. I’m curious now, what happened with Ed Hugus?! Who is he?

    3. Different country, same story. Isn’t this why the Indian Grand Prix was cancelled too ? Except they had an even more extreme version of this episode.

      This is the genius side of Bernie. He’ll take absolutely no position about the end product and its financial performance in a business, but he’ll seek to make money from the overall process . Akin to how Apple doesn’t make a lot of apps by its own, but it makes risk less profit by allowing developers to produce and release on its platform for which they have to pay a yearly developer fee, not to mention Apple gets a cut from every application bought.

      A shrewd INVESTOR would probably buy a stake into the company that owns Formula One. I believe that’s where the steady profits are in F1. Everyone else is pretty much just awe-struck due to the glitz and glam so they’re “investing” in the areas where the sun don’t shine and never will.

      I suspect Azerbaijan will see something like this too in the future if oil prices are relevant to their state budget and some state funding cut forces fiscal discipline implementers to kick out F1.

      1. Oil price is highly relevant to their state budget.

      2. thing is, profits in F1 with the current business model are even less sustainable than oil profits are long term!

    4. Some information on Ferrari’s current performance:

      – Car looks better on track then SF15T and very neutral, but still not as good as Mercedes.
      – Vettel and Kimi couldn’t take line as tight as Mercedes drivers because it appears that front of the car is still not quite good enough.
      – Two reasons for that: front suspension geometry and amount of downforce at the rear of the car because of much bigger space in coke bottle area and shorter nose. This means the car is not aero balanced since rear gets more downforce, and front end doesn’t follow.
      – This can be fixed through the suspension, new front wing (since this one probably doesn’t deliver enough front DF) and skinnier RW (for now)
      – Vettel did his lap with 50 kg of fuel and wasn’t running 100%. PU didn’t run 100% (thats why top speed was poor) in any practice session, still has some reliability problems but they will run 100% next week.
      – 50 kg of fuel would make you 1.35 seconds slower than 5 kg of fuel on a qualifying lap. This itself puts Ferrari’s lap on the ultra soft down to a 1’21.500, unsure of how much time the SF-16H lost through lack of engine power.
      – Tires warming up faster than the SF15T
      – Tires suffer from blistering despite low track temps (Merc has graining as well)
      – According to their info, current gap would be around 4 tenths, down from 8 tenth at Bercelona last year.
      – Barcelona last year was Ferrari’s worst circuit relative to Mercedes, this is something that should be taken into account when reading into testing times, IMO.
      – From here to Australia no major PU changes unless some big reliability problems appear
      – Felipe Massa says he couldn’t follow Ferrari, especially in fast corners.

      1. Thanks, that’s great stuff.

      2. @kingshark Thanks for the Coles notes. Here’s hoping they close the gap to Mercedes

      3. Liam McShane (@)
        29th February 2016, 10:00

        What a load of rubbish. No team would ever release any of this information. Nothing can really be taken from the first test at all other than reliability.

    5. Talking about the USGP, what happen to the GP of America race in New York that was suppose to appear on the 2013 calendar?

      1. Unlikely ever to happen, just as Bernie doubtless knew all along (but I’m sure he pocketed a nice sum stringing everyone along on his latest nonsensical idea):

        1. @gweilo8888, if anybody pocketed a nice sum of money, it is far more likely to be the developers behind the proposal – they appear to have effectively used the circuit proposal to circumvent part of the planning regulations to develop new housing.

    6. The quote from the Haas NASCAR v F1 article really should be this one I think:

      “But in NASCAR the structure is clear, in F1 you have Bernie and you have got the FIA and I don’t know how that all works yet, (a mischievous voice from the sidelines interjects – “nor do they” – the culprit will remain nameless) but that is what it is”.

    7. The Motorport article is fascinating read. FIA should publish lot of articles like that, highlighting the advanced technology F1 helped to develop and how it will apply to general masses in the future. So instead of people mocking about the engine sound, they can awe about the efficiency instead. Afterall it’s all about perspective and marketing.

      1. @sonicslv I was just thinking exactly the same thing. A genuine F1 and associated technology article lost in a torrent of politics and Ecclestone jibes.

        F1F the Daily Mail of F1?

        1. @psynrg I’m disappointed to read that given that just last week F1 Fanatic published more technical articles in a six-day period than ever before in the history of the site, precisely because readers such as yourself had expressed an interest in it. And it’s not as if the story you’re referring to isn’t in the round-up, is it?

          1. @keithcollantine My apologies Keith, a moment of frustration spilled out into the comment. Unnecessary and unwarranted.

            F1F is always the first place I visit for up to date F1 news, technical and political, in-depth or concise.

            It frustrates me that there’s often more political jibing than discussion about actual F1. Talk about implicating myself indeed. Guilty as charged.

        2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
          29th February 2016, 11:48

          @psynrg that’s extremely harsh. This is the best all round F1 site on the net, with a number of technical articles on the 2016 cars published for FREE unlike Autosport!

          The Daily Mail of F1 is Planet F1.

          1. Nah, Planet F1 is The Sun of F1 sites, given it’s Sky/News Corp links.

          2. Crash dot net wins the comparison award for being f1’s answer to the daily mail. Just read the comments section on any article about any topic and see how fast they come on to start bashing hamiliton. It’s cringe worthy.

            Still, my dislike of that site drove to f1fanatic where i have been surprised how nice commenters are to each other.

      2. @sonicslv

        I think to be fair most people who are appalled by the sound of current F1 also are able to appreciate the cleverness of the technology.

        It is quite simple I think, many still feel that F1 should be viscerally mind blowing and it is most certainly not anymore. Perhaps it never will be again, and that may be something folks like me will have to accept.

        We still have Goodwood, thankfully!

        1. F1 can be a spectacle and technological, but at the moment it is technological but less technological then WEC, so the spectacle of f1 is lost to many fans

        2. @paulguitar I hope so because judging from comments around here it seems there still lot of people who think current V6 is rubbish compared to old glory days of V8 and V10s. As someone already pointed out before, louder sound itself is just waste of energy. When people say they want (unnecessary) loud sounds, I can’t help but think they can’t appreciate the level of efficiency we have now.

          1. @sonicslv

            I think it is possible to be impressed with the efficiency without liking it…….I imagine most people understand the need, on a worldwide scale, to eke out ever more from our finite supplies of fossil fuels, but I think there are many who think this should have nothing to do with Grand Prix racing.

            Also, with the cars getting heavier and heavier, the efficiency argument can be seen as a little tenuous. I suspect if the rules specified normally aspirated engines, and a fixed maximum amount of fuel per car, per race, the teams would be able to build something at least as efficient as what we have now simply by lopping 150 kilos off the weight of the car.

    8. @keithcollantine Thank you so much for the ‘Comment of the day’. It has particular personal significance for me as my father passed away just 4 days ago. He was a massive F1 fan and took me to the BRDC International Trophy in 1976 at Silverstone. The first F1 race I attended with him was the 1982 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, an experience deeply etched in my memory, a cracking and eventful race in the days where you could wander around the pit lane, walk the track and see the likes of Frank Williams energetically running around the back of the pit garages. I will miss the F1 banter we always engaged in when we spoke together. The sport has lost a true dedicated fan. Rest in peace Alan McCormick.

      1. *Brands Hatch in 1982 I believe!!

        1. *And of course it’s not comment of the day it’s the cation competition. Not thinking so straight these days.

      2. condolences

    9. Completely off topic…. But don’t know where else to put this…
      I’m very interested (but baffled by) Honda’s approach to the current engine rules.
      I’m almost certain that Honda are using “hot blowing” to drive their turbine when their drivers are off throttle. Due to the turbine being inside the V of the engine, the turbine has to be of reduced size. The only way they can harvest comparable energy to the other teams is to effectively run “anti-lag” in the form of some fuel being injected off throttle with massively retarded ignition to create combustion in the exhaust. (This can be done reasonably frugally these days with direct injection… As not all cylinders need to be utilised for this process)
      This in turn will do 2 things… Drive the MGU-H off throttle for energy harvesting as well as maintain a head of boost pressure ready for the next throttle opening. Another factor to consider is that with this “Honda style setup”, the motor part of the MGU-H is not required to electrically spin up the compressor in the method used by other teams as this is being done by the hot blowing instead… No electrical energy being used in this area, leaves more energy to be diverted to the MGU-K. Could it even be possible that their MGU-H doesn’t even have the “M” and is in fact just a GU-H in order to simplify? Just a thought.
      Regardless of all this. I feel that size zero has hurt them in one area so bad (compressor size) that it cannot be recovered by their “anti-lag” and “off throttle energy recovery”. Their compressor is so small and inefficient compared to the Mercedes design, that they will forever be down on outright horsepower. Compressor is king…. and theirs is a baby. Ferrari and Renault have both increased compressor size. If Honda once again decided to house their compressor within the “V” they either know something the others (and just about every serious modified turbo car owner in the world) doesn’t… Or they are in a world of hurt. Rumours that they were using an axial flow compressor were being kicked around… but as far as I am aware the rules state that there must only be a “single stage” of compressor in the turbocharger system?
      I want to know so bad.

      1. I’m concerned about this too @drone. I saw Honda quoted saying their new turbine is ‘about’ the same size as Mercedes’ 2015 one, and they’re turning it slower, but it’s still in the vee. Like you I’m struggling to see how they could manage this, when nobody else has. Now the top speed data from the test isn’t looking good. Hard not to suspect that Jenson’s kind words about ERS lasting all down the straight were achieved by releasing the same limited energy more slowly!

        I don’t know. I get the feeling national pride ‘philosophy’ makes them say anything, and also stops them bringing in a gaijin who knows what to do.

        1. Absolutely. Bringing in an ousider would be admitting defeat and “losing face” which is a big deal for them. Listen to the Mclaren Honda on lift-off overrun and tell me they aren’t using some form of post combustion chamber turbine trickery. It won’t be enough though… Mercedes got it right.

    10. Interesting that these days being 15km/hour slower in the speed traps is considered really significant.

      RBR was consistently slower by a big margin during its Championship years but we’re able to go round corners so much faster that the others so it made no difference.

      With the new PU’s I suspect it’s not so much top speed but how the power is being delivered that really makes the difference and has altered the dynamic from entry and mid corner speed to exit speed.

      That would be killing even the best aero designers and likely all down to software. Top speed isn’t the measure – how quicky you get there out of a corner certainly matters.

      1. @dbradock The speed with which you can exit a corner is of no advantage if you are stuck behind a car that breezed past you on your way to the turn.

      2. The scary thought is that Merc are 15km per hour faster whilst using less fuel! Therefore they can carry less for the race and we all know how much effect fuel weight has on lap time! An efficiently compressed cool inlet charge from a nice big compressor wheel… Whilst Honda are using a tiny inefficient compressor which superheats the inlet charge… requiring greater interccoling capacity and no doubt a richer fuel map with retarded ignition to avoid detonation.

        1. Honda probably turned the engine up too… Whilst Merc were probably at 7/10 engine wise. Scary!

    11. There seems to be a very familiar story developing around the paddock with regards to sponsors. Haas have now come out saying that none of their potential sponsors have offered enough and this comes on the back of Ron Dennis also saying something similar regarding Mclaren’s title sponsor. Maybe teams need to realise just how little F1 is valued as a marketing tool nowadays.

      With the move away from free to air tv and the addition of so many complex rules and regulations, firstly you cut the exposure time for sponsors in half (maybe once every 3 weeks for a few minutes every weekend on national TV) and then you take away over half of the viewership that comes from casual viewers who tune in on a sunday lunchtime because they just happened to come across it while having their lunch. I can’t imagine as a casual viewer with not much to do on a sunday, that you’d burden yourself with trying to understand why Lewis Hamilton started on red tires and then had to change to yellow tires because he didn’t have any purple tires… These also happen to be the people who are going to want to buy (in the past anyway) phone contracts from vodafone, TV’s from panasonic etc etc, while now you’re left relying on viewers to tune in once every 2/3 weeks and after 5 minutes, be convinced into buying a rolex.

      1. @naz3012 I don’t think you can really blame this on the teams. F1’s commercial power has been ruthlessly stripped back and exploited by the CRH to the point where now it’s almost impossible for teams to give decent exposure for their sponsors. This includes the allocation of paddock passes for hospitality, as well as the banner and board advertising at tracks. If it doesn’t make money for Bernie, it’s not on the agenda.

        It’s a shame because I think these naff ‘old man’ brands that permeate F1 these days really is hurting the potential to attract younger fans. Red Bull are about the only interesting brand to get any kind of exposure in F1, and look at how much it’s costing them for that!

        1. Bernie likes it that way because the more the team rely on the commercial money the more he controls them. This is also a big reason he hates manufactures since they have their own money from their big car companies and they do not depend on him for survival.

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