Maurizio Arrivabene, Shanghai, Ferrari, 2016

Ferrari’s Arrivabene calls for simpler rules

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One’s rules need to be simplified, says Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.

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Philip agrees with Arrivabene:

The thing is are the spirit of the rules in keeping with the spirit of the sport?

Pinnacle of motor racing, that’s what it’s branded as. So why are flexible aero devices prohibited? The way Red Bull designed it’s wings to pass deflection tests but still permit flex to optimise aero is to me in keeping with the spirit of innovation. But complex rules have been bolstered to prevent it.

The spirit of the rules has created an environment whereby one team has stolen a huge performance march, and the rules are so restrictive that other teams can barely gain on them as fast as they make further progress.

I’ve been watching F1 so long now that a new rule is fairly easy to digest (though the tyre thing took a while) but sitting a new fan down and trying to tell them how it works from scratch is just insane. Someone asked me recently why Mercedes are so much better, and it would have taken a race weekend to fully brief them on the details of it.
@Philipgb

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  • 66 comments on “Ferrari’s Arrivabene calls for simpler rules”

    1. I would love to see F1 with very relaxed rules on the car designs, it would be fascinating to see the variety…

      Unfortunately I think in reality we might get a few early wins from creativity but soon the big teams would spend a fortune on developing every element of their cars and the grid would be spread out further than ever.

      The rules might be complicated but that’s usually because more have to be constantly added to keep the teams in check.

      1. I don’t think that we would get a hugely varied field. by now everyone sort of knows what works and can simulate it’s effects up front. You’d get 2-3 design ideas and the top teams would converge on one (redoing most of thei cars) in a race or 4-6, next year the smaller teams woul start to catch up too.

      2. I have to think teams can take as much risk as they want. One problem people keep bringing up over and over again is that the bigger teams can outspend/take more risks than the smaller teams. This has always been the case, pretty much every where, and it will continue to be the case till the end of time. You can’t deny reality. You shouldn’t either.

        The real problem, and I really hate to harp on it, is that the rules preclude the smaller teams from taking real risks which might yield more gains. In effect, money becomes (like fuel w/ the fuel constraints being currently imposed) a larger key determinant in determining who wins, because the liberties the smaller teams can take are sooooo limited (design). Money allows you to build more, but real talent can make up for a lack of money in terms of competent design and sufficient differentiation.

        There are two rules that really need examining, for the sake of real competition, the 100kg fuel limit, which in reality seems more like a political bone used to hold back the non engine manufacturer teams, and unrestricted turbo boost, which seems to contradict the supposed interest in trying to save teams (manufacturers) money. Lets not forget that not all engines are created equally, ever, you can push a specification, but at the end of the day, there will never be parity, because the manufacturing process is not perfect, and the guys making the motors can choose to give which ever engine they want, and keep which ever one they want.

        1. * so I would agree for the most part, the rules need to be made more simpler (more loopholes). But that 100 kg fuel imposition is the most destructive rule in the whole book. I would almost guarantee you, that if the FIA ditched the 100kg fuel limit and limited turbo boost, that Mercedes would have a difficult time winning races. Overnight. And all Ferrari would have to do is get in front of the Merc cars, and save their engines.

        2. *nature is a much much more honest judge/arbiter of justice than a bunch of career politicians. You don’t need “rules” to keep things honest, there are already naturally imposed limits. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” B. Franklin. Look at where those non factory teams are now…

          1. “The real problem, and I really hate to harp on it, is that the rules preclude the smaller teams from taking real risks which might yield more gains …… Money allows you to build more, but real talent can make up for a lack of money in terms of competent design and sufficient differentiation.”

            But the real talent is usually going to end up at whoever can pay more, so in general it is not going to work like that.
            Regardless the rules don’t stop small teams taking risks, money does. if you have more money you can take more risks by investigating more than one design philosophy, no matter what the rule situation is. You can also throw resources at copying any other teams innovations.

            “But that 100 kg fuel imposition is the most destructive rule in the whole book.”

            Huh? why? My understanding is that cars regularly start the race with less that 100kg anyway so at that point the limit has no effect.

            “I would almost guarantee you, that if the FIA ditched the 100kg fuel limit and limited turbo boost, that Mercedes would have a difficult time winning races. ”

            Why? Merc have the most efficient engine so why would getting rid of the limit hinder them? What are you basing that on?

          2. There are two rules that really need examining, for the sake of real competition, the 100kg fuel limit, which in reality seems more like a political bone used to hold back the non engine manufacturer teams

            Yes, it is a political move, trying to force manufacturers to develope efficient engines. However, as the mfrs supply the same engine to the customer teams, it has no effect on that. Every team is under the same rules. Also, as Martin points out, the teams regularly start with less than 100kg of fuel.

            I would actually take it a stage further, and say all teams must start the race with at least 100kg of fuel. This would stop, in most races, the drivers from having to save fuel, and give more flat-out racing (especially if coupled with tyres which would allow it).

            and unrestricted turbo boost, which seems to contradict the supposed interest in trying to save teams (manufacturers) money.

            True, the rules do not directly limit turbo boost, but they do indirectly. The fuel flow is limited to 100kg/hr above 10k RPM, and a straight slope leading up to that bellow. As fuel/air ratio is limited by chemistry to a certain range, this limits the boost. It’s just that it’s much easier to accurately measure fuel flow than air flow (by mass).

      3. The variety… Like tyrrell P34 or walrus nose on BMW.. Fairly interresting :D

    2. Funny that Dillmann is commenting on the standard of driving in GP2, when he was dropped from 4 teams in 4 years and now races against teenagers in 3.5

      1. Dillman is a driver who has struggled for funds, not talent. The guy is the real deal, and it’s not really accurate to say that he has been “dropped by teams.

        Canamasas, on the other hand, is a blight on the GP2 series. It’s only his cheque book which has kept him around for this long.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        25th June 2016, 1:51

        GP2 costs so much it’s become a rich kid/sponsor bunny’s playground. If you don’t have a generous sponsor or wealthy family, you’re screwed – even if you’re an exceptional talent.

        Fortunately, truly exceptional talents like Vandoorne (or guys who might be decent if they ever sort themselves out, like Gasly) tend to be acquired by F1 YDPs and get funded that way, which is nice… but the cost is still a problem for some.

        1. Ever since 2008 2009 that’s been the case. You see rich kids dad’s writing the cheques for a ride in the truck series or xfinity series (nascar) but the Cup series is ALL talent top to bottom. I wish F1 were like that but the bottom grid teams need kids bringing in sponsor ship dollars. I don’t think I ll see the day where it’s ALL about talent. Those days are over. The top teams have the real talent but the diamond in the rough might be racing sports cars or watching raves on his couch.

          1. josh, I think you’re under the mistaken impression that money never played its part, because right from the very start of F1, when we had wealthy privateers buying their own cars to race, through to now, there has never been an era where talent was the only factor.

            As for sportscar racing, that is a series where you have an entire class – the GT Am class – which was set up specifically to cater to wealthy amateurs who wanted to race. Moving further up the grid, you’ll find quite a few drivers in the LMP2 class who have been accused of only being there because of their money, and a few of the drivers in the privateer LMP1 cars are, even if they are talented, also bringing in sponsorship to help pay for their seat.

            Even the short lived Nissan factory LMP1 team hired Max Chilton, a driver who was dismissed as a mere pay driver in F1, so even factory sportscar teams have been accused of hiring pay drivers on occasion.

            1. “Anon” writes “…very start of F1, when we had wealthy privateers buying their own cars to race…” Part true, mostly irrelevant. The true part is that a few wealthy young men bought their *own* cars, and raced them *themselves* — sometimes tagging along on the marques’ coat-tails, but they were independents. The Peter Collins, Mike Hawthorns, Stirling Mosses, Fangios, Jimmy Clarks, Johnnie Surtees and Graham Hills of this world were not born with silver spoons in their mouths, they were the regular kids of farmers, garage owners … good people, I knew them.

              But so what? The difference today is that no “individual” can possibly get into an F1 seat without paying commercial (rarely private) money into a team that is most likely close to bankruptcy without it. Various flavours of “young driver programs” (thank goodness) do try and look for “talent” at a very young age rather than “money”, but I’m having a problem trying to think back to the last driver that succeeded in F1 in his twenties on pure talent alone — you’ve probably got to go back to the Prost and Senna period, maybe as far as Jackie Ickx, Jackie Stewart or even Bruce Maclaren.

              The problem is the “rules” which require more lawyers than engineers, and prevent anyone less than billionaire Gene Haas to get in. Where’s Peter Sauber? Will Mallya go to jail? RB are an exception (and fans complain when RB complain.) Wiiliams and Maclaren knocked out by Brexit? Do you want just four teams — alphabetically Ferrari, Honda, Merc and Renault? Eight drivers?

            2. @paul-a, I was under the impression that some of those figures came from more privileged backgrounds than that – for example, I was under the impression that Moss’s family, by the standards of the time, was fairly wealthy, hence why he was able to afford to purchase a brand new Maserati 250F as soon as the car was launched and could afford to fund a team of mechanics.

              Looking at some of your other examples, Fangio’s early career was underwritten by the Argentinian government, who bought his car and paid his expenses whilst he raced in Europe. As for Clark, although his family made a living from farming, I understood that his family had relatively substantial land holdings – I’m not saying that they were astoundingly wealthy, but I had the impression that they were wealthier than average.

              As for later figures, it’s somewhat ironic to mention Senna given that Ron Dennis has previously stated that Senna paid for his seat at Toleman – talent alone wasn’t enough for Senna to get a seat in F1.

              On a wider note, I’m not sure why you’ve suddenly veered into accusing me of only wanting just four teams when my post contained no assertion of that kind. Incidently, you’ve also rather overestimated Haas’s net worth (estimated at around $250 million, or only around a quarter of what you thought it was), whilst at the same time slightly underestimating Peter Sauber’s personal fortune (Peter’s family owns a quite successful engineering firm, with Peter himself worth around $100 million).

            3. In WEC, LMP2 is also a class designed for “gentlemen drivers”, albeit with rules giving somewhat more emphasis to drivers hired primarily for speed. However, Max Chilton wasn’t paying for his LMP1 seat – even Nissan, who were backmarkers in that series, realise that LMP1 (and GTE-Pro) are too competitive to allow for drivers who are paying their way in. Pay drivers don’t have to stay pay drivers their whole careers if they can find a place in which someone is happy to pay for their services.

              Mika Hakkinen was probably the last driver to get a world championship without ever being in a position of either being a pay driver at F1 level (Alonso was a pay driver at Minardi, albeit on a “peppercorn rent” – minimal charge – due to his talent being recognised) or joining F1 as part of a driver scheme (Hamilton with McLaren, Button with Williams, Vettel with Red Bull and BMW). In the junior series, nearly everyone has been a pay driver for at least part of their careers, with the remainder being those lucky enough to get into some sort of team “training scheme” before embarking on that phase of their careers.

            4. If Hamilton was a pay driver because Mclaren helped with his bills then Hakkinen was too for getting a salary from Mclaren. You can’t call a driver that is in a team young program as a pay driver because the team isn’t his family or friend and they aren’t funding him because they want to support him. Mclaren was funding Hamilton because they expect results. So he was no different than Hakkinen that was getting millions because they expect him to bring them results every weekend.

        2. Thats where we disagree Tyler. Other than being German F3 champ in 2010, he’s never won another title, or even come close to winning another title. To me, his racing record isn’t anything special.

    3. Rules are complicated to some extent. Imagine a Q&A with a F1 noob while watching a race:

      Q: Why is the guy that qualified 2nd starting 7th?
      A: Because he was penalized for changing his gearbox.
      Q: Why??
      A: Because they used to take 3 or more gearboxes to every race, one for practice, one for qualy, and one for the race and so on and they’d only last 1 race, so to save money, they are now forced to use the same gearbox during 4 weekends.
      Q: Ah, that makes sense.

      Q: Why can’t Hamilton get instructions from the pitwall?
      A: Because the drivers were like puppets in the past, constantly reminded to switch on this, and turn off that, and don’t race this guy because he’s on a different strategy or save fuel and whatever, and now they want the drivers to have full control of their car and race without any assistance.
      Q: Ah, that makes sense, kinda.

      Q: How did that guy managed to overtake that one so easily?! What happened?
      A: He used DRS.
      Q: What? What the heck is that?
      A: Drag Reduction System
      Q: Why didn’t he use it before?
      A: Because he couldn’t, he had to be 1 second behind the other guy.
      Q: What? Why? Why didn’t the guy in front use it as well? Can’t he defend??
      A: Yeah, it’s complicated…
      Q: That looked too easy and look, now that guy is using DRS again but he’s ahead!
      A: Because there was only 1 detection point but two DRS zones.
      Q: …
      A: Let’s watch Le Mans instead.

      1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        25th June 2016, 3:17

        Yes, Lemans:
        Q: Why are some cars so fast they lap everyone over and over again?
        A: They are LMP1 cars
        Q: what?
        A: There are 3 categories running.
        Q: why don’t they run different races.
        A: Because nobody wants to see grids of 6 or 8 cars, so they mix 3 categories at once.
        Q: And how many laps do they have to race?
        A: Not laps. Hours, this is a short race so it’s only 6 hours?
        Q: and what do you call a long race so?
        A: 24 hours.
        Q: You’re kidding right?

        The morale is, if you love racing, you need to know WEC and F1 are 2 different beasts. And I think that the fact that 2 average Joes such as Webber and Hulkenberg succeeded so fast going to WEC speaks volumes about how trully good an F1 champion is.

      2. Hahahaha of course, Lemans regulations are very simple.

        1. Document length comparison (in pages, only including regulations not shared between both series):

          WEC: 164.5 pages, comprising:
          6 (General Prescriptions – applicable to all series except F1)
          51 (Sporting Regulations – halving as these regulations are written in both French and English)
          17 (GTE-Am Technical Regulations – halved due to 2 languages)
          26 (GTE-Pro Technical Regulations – halved due to 2 languages)
          39.5 (LMP1 Technical Regulations – halved due to 2 languages)
          25 (LMP2 Technical Regulations – halved due to 2 languages)

          Le Mans 24 H: 189 pages, comprising:
          29.5 – These are all in the Specific Regulations – Le Mans document, and are again halved due to being in both French and English.
          (plus all WEC regulations that don’t clash, which admittedly excludes most of the General Prescriptions due to WEC’s unique race structure. So that would be WEC -5).

          F1: 160 pages, comprising:
          56 (Sporting Regulations)
          90 (Technical Regulations)
          12 (Practise Directions)
          2 (License Appendix that is Superlicence-specific: halved due to 2 languages)

          Add to this that there are at least some regulations that are not recorded in F1 documents, but function in an unwritten way – for example, the alternate interpretations of certain flags.

      3. @fer-no65 I highly doubt anyone would ask a question like “How did he overtake so easily?” He was quicker, had added straightline speed with a device known as DRS which is active at a certain point of the track for the car behind and simple as. When I had F1 noobs, I needed no more

        1. @fer-no65 Oh and I forgot to mention, I’ve watched 2 hours of Le Mans last year and 1 hour this year with a Le Mans noob as well. Still absolutely no clue what’s happening. I mean, I hear the commentators saying the car behind’s close when the gap is 45 seconds or so…

      4. @fer-no65, I note you left out the fact that the WEC has exactly the same restrictions on gearbox and engine use over a season and also operates a penalty system (AF Corse were given a penalty in the 6 Hours race at Spa earlier this year for an unscheduled engine change). In their case, though, teams have to take a three minute stop-go penalty in the pit lane under green flag racing conditions.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          25th June 2016, 10:38

          “WEC also operates a penalty system”

          Like disqualifying a car which races more laps in less time than almost all other cars, for being ‘too slow’.

          1. @coldfly F1 actually used to run to that as well, many years ago!

        2. The three-minute penalty for AF Corse was at Spa, and the gearbox/engine regulations are more “you must use the same gearbox and engine all weekend unless it’s Le Mans, in which case changes are permitted before the race” (i.e. like F1 in 2004) rather than “you must use the same gearbox/engine for loads of races in a season”.

          F1 still has a version of the rule that declassified the #5 Toyota; only the F1 version (Article 30.14) bans driving unnecessarily slowly in general, without specifying a time. Rest assured that if ever a team was ever so foolish as to attempt a many-minute final lap, that would change (this was, after all, why Le Mans introduced the rule. Note the rest of the WEC does not have such a rule).

      5. A: “Cars that are close to each other can use drag reduction systems to boost its speed on straights where its safe. They use that since cars cant follow each other closely like before becouse the turbulence from the wings so it would be to hard to overtake without it.”

        Its not harder to explain DRS than anything else in your q and a.

        1. Sadly the explanation only works if the rookie viewer thinks what they saw was an overtake and does not mistake it for team orders, a technical problem on the part of the slower car or push-button racing (all of which I’ve seen happen).

      6. I love Le Mans as much as the next guy, and had a blast watching it all this year, but the WEC rulebook is also not one you’d want to explain to an outsider – if he or she is even willing to listen after you’ve addressed that 24h part of the name.

        The regulations of all these series need to be strict because the teams have shown themselves to be utterly irresponsible with spending and because technology is so advanced these days that real cutting-edge cars would be too dangerous to drive.

        1. @cashnotclass, there is also the rather bitter note that, during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ford were accused of using the rulebook to try to blackmail other teams into letting them win.

          According to the Daily Sportscar website, one of Ford’s senior managers walked into the Risi Competizione garage in the closing stages of the race with the now notorious protest against Risi’s car for having a non functional leader light.

          According to those present, he effectively told Guiseppe Risi that he had two choices – he could either stop racing Ford for victory, letting them take an unhindered win, or Ford would immediately lodge a protest with the stewards to have Risi’s car pulled into the pits to repair the leader light.

          As can probably be guessed from the fact that the protest was filed, Risi refused to bow to Ford’s threats – however, many felt that Ford’s attempt to bully their rivals into letting them win was pretty shameful.

          1. Good on Risi! Better to come second due to standing up to principle (and for a minor regulation breach that, although inconsistently followed this year, is genuinely in the rules) than to come second due to being told to give up by someone without the appropriate authority (i.e. a steward or Race Control armed with a rulebook).

            Of course, this may come back to bite Ford as it is still under investigation for BoP breaches (BoP is a device used to ensure that the very different cars offered in GT series are all able to compete with parity and is best understood by giving manufacturers sort-of-equal amounts of unfair advantage). If attempted (albeit failed) blackmail was involved, that may count against it as BoP is as much an art as a science, and those judging the art are human too. This BoP situation is one thing that F1, being an unashamedly pure-prototype class, does not have to worry about.

      7. Yes F1 is the only sport that is in any way at all complicated!

        … Wait how does offside work again?

        F1 may be difficult to follow for a new viewer but to be honest I’m pretty sure you would be hard pressed to find a sport (motor or otherwise) that you couldn’t make a n00b Q&A example for.

    4. @omarr-pepper Webber and Hulk succeeded because of the machine they got, same would happen if they were in the merc in f1

      1. Well, Webber drove a Red Bull for several years.

        1. He drove for a red bull team that was in love with a guy named vettel.

          1. Love or not Webber rarely got as much out of his identical car as his quadruple championship winning team mate.

      2. As long as they didn’t have Vettel or Pérez as teammates ;)

        1. Still many races to go this year.

      3. Not necessarily . webber dint win any championships in his red bull days.. he had the machinery just wasn’t good enough to beat his teammate

    5. I don’t understand this attitude from Honda. It is a fact that Mercedes is the benchmark not just for Honda, but for Ferrari and Renault as well. But the target should be clearly to do better than the benchmark. Until that is achieved, how can Honda say that it has achieved target?

      1. Honda have equal ERS, not long ago their ICE was said to be as good. McLaren say they have a top chassis. The drivers are top class…..who is lying as they are 2 seconds a lap slower than Merc?

        1. Clearly the only explanation is that race after race Pirelli supply them with specially designed McLaren only slow tyres.

          1. LOL – must be!

    6. F1 cars should be running Wankel engines!

    7. ColdFly F1 (@)
      25th June 2016, 8:50

      Only a BExit would make a difference to F1.

      1. @coldfly
        No wonder you won the caption competition!
        Like it.

    8. How is f1 complex for fans? i watched with beginners a couple of times and they understand it fine. The new qualifying was the hardest part i ever had to explain. People who want to watch a new sport are eager to learn and don’t mind the rules. They accept it as a part of the whole.

      1. @thetick

        ‘How is f1 complex for fans?’

        That’d take too long to answer.

        1. how so? you talk about tyres, pitstops, radio, safety car, yellow and speed limit. That’s all you need to know. And when an incident happens you can just explain a bit about defending, braking and racing lines. It takes about 10 minutes really. I agree that the technical side is very complex, but that’s just a bonus for hardcore fans. Almost all sport have layers of depth, but fans mostly need to know the basics to enjoy. I just hate it when they use “for the fans” as an excuse. Like we are some kind of idiots, who get confused when two things happen at the same time.

          1. It is not really about how long it takes it to explain it but how long it takes to figure it out when you are watching it. Not everyone has someone there to explain it. That being said I don’t think a sport needs to be simple. American football for example is complete mystery to me. I have no idea about the rules or what’s going on but that sport still has huge audience.

            Apart from drs I don’t really see f1 having too many rules. And when you allow teams to build their own cars with hundreds of millions of dollars the rulebook is going to be a lot thicker than some other motorsports where everybody is using spec cars and engines.

          2. Ok well have fun with the hour or so of explaining you’ve actually just outlined there which barely scratches the surface of the number of things that can crop up in a race. I’ll be watching the race and leaving the uninformed as such.

        2. It would help if the commentators were better at explaining the basics of how the race is unfolding. There have been a fair number of times where my parents and I have found ourselves correcting commentators on both Sky and Channel 4 on such things as whether cars need to stop again (and hence need to overtake the car ahead) and the workings of qualifying. For experienced viewers like us, it’s irritating. For a newcomer, it would be terribly confusing. At least in football, the commentators are usually aware how to explain the most essential parts of the offside rule to people. So even though most viewers still don’t know the full working of offside rules afterwards, they at least have a vague sense of what is going on, enough to continue watching and see what happens next.

          “OK, this happened, so that will happen…”, when they happen, is a good basis for explaining most rules. At the beginning, that’s all that’s necessary – keep a newcomer watching from moment to moment, then phase to phase, then race to race and finally season to season.

          Some examples for concepts given above:

          5-place gearbox penalty: “The car’s gearbox is supposed to last 4 races and didn’t, so the car (therefore its driver) got a 5-place grid penalty”. Then, if met with the reply, “Why?!?”, say “It’s meant to last 4 races so that people don’t build fragile gearboxes that are unsportingly expensive”. Similar notions work for any other reliability-related penalty.

          Lack of pitwall instructions: “Drivers are required to drive the car unaided. Having an engineer quote the car’s manual to the driver is considered aid, so the driver must remember what the manual said about this problem (if anything)”.

          DRS: “The following driver got within a second of the driver ahead earlier this lap and pressed a button on a lap where this was allowed, so can now go faster on this part of the track.”

          Multi-class racing: “There are X types of cars to make it more difficult for everyone; everyone can expect to lap and/or be lapped during the race” (X is for the number of classes involved – many sportscar series have settled on 4, but Le Mans has 5, Blancpain Endurance has 3 and the 2012 WEC/ALMS round at Sebring had 9!)

          BoP: “People want to race several different cars together, so some cars are slowed down to make that happen”

          Leader lights: “People want to see who’s doing well in the race, so the cars must show if they’re in certain positions or not”

          Pitstops: “Tyres (and sometimes fuel) only last for part of the race, so must be changed” or “The car broke [insert part here] and needs to swap it” or “The next driver needs a turn”, depending on why that particular stop’s happening.

          Safety Car: “There’s a big problem on track, the car ensures the marshals know where the cars are likely to be and that they are not going faster than they should be… …usually”. Virtual Safety Cars are for when it’s a bit less serious but the marshals need cars to not be going at full speed everywhere.

          Yellow: “There’s a small problem on track, cars should slow down by 0.5 seconds for 200 metres/slow down and prepare to stop (depending on whether this is F1 or a different series)”.

          Speed limit: “The driver pressed a button and now can’t go faster than is allowed in the pit lane, so people in the pit lane can do their jobs”

          Tyres: Well… …depends which bit you want to explain. There’s a lot of elements here, only some of which are likely to be needed by a newcomer (which bits depend on how a given race plays out).

          Incidentally, this also acts as a handy way of seeing whether a rule might work in a sporting context – rules that don’t work tend to be very difficult to explain this way! (Of course, some stupid rules are easy to explain too, but rules that do work are rarely difficult to explain in this format).

          It is not necessary to explain all the hidden things, or the things that don’t happen often, to a newcomer, if the newcomer expresses no interest and they’re not blatantly affecting the race at that point*. Knowing why a rule exists is helpful, but often not necessary in the initial stages. And just hope you don’t have to explain to your newcomer anything like San Marino 1994, as my dad had to when I saw my first race start on TV…

          * – Of course, if you are a professional commentator, and you’ve got a spectacularly dull race on your hands, or an hour of pre-race show to fill, the rules change a bit – some pre-emptive explanation of an underlying rule in an interesting way can be a good way to fill time.

    9. Red bull’s flexing front wing is an example not just of why rules became so complicated, but why it has been necessary for them to become complicated.

      By trying to design a physical structure that was rigid and secure “only to a certain point” they put a car on track that was unsafe, unstable and unpredictable, resulting in Vettel t-boning Button at Spa after his wing went suddenly crazy and he lost control. (We all remember the famous video)

      Car designers can’t always be trusted to make the trade-off between safety and speed.

      1. T-boning Button is speed according to you? If you think the cardesigners want an unstable car think again.

      2. @hairs

        Spa 2010 is a single incident across how many years of them trying to stay ahead of the ever tightening rules and is it conclusive that it was caused by wing flexing?

        Even road cars feature aero components which deform at speed to adjust their profile.

        1. @philipgb, the claim that the front wing was the leading cause of the crash was never conclusively proven in public. However, from Red Bull’s point of view, it probably would not be in their interests for an investigation to conclude it was the front wing, given it would almost certainly have resulted in a much harsher design clampdown on safety grounds, so there would be an incentive to push the blame elsewhere.

          In some senses, it is hard to say how many accidents might have been caused by flexing wings given that, in most circumstances, it would be in the interests of the team to try to shift the blame elsewhere.
          There were one or two accidents in the past where some wondered if that was the case – Kimi’s crash in the 2004 German GP comes to mind because, whilst the team claimed that the rear wing had been damaged when another car clipped Kimi at the start of the race, some rumours suggested that the crash happened because of a flexible rear wing that hadn’t been correctly designed and failed due to fatigue.

        2. It started out with several rear wing failures years ago. Those were seriously dangerous ad therefore led to the renewed crack down on flexing bodyparts.

          The rules include a provision that FIA can amend their tests without needing to change the actual rulues if flexible bodywork on the car is seen even when the car passed the current set of tests. So the rules haven;t changed since, but the tests have been updated to weed out new ways to circumvent these tests.

          Although by now FIA seem to have given up to some extent. Front wings are clearly flexing and after Red Bull was not halted in making their front wings flex for years, now everybody does it.

      3. Redbull did not have one single failure with wings if I remember correctly. It was not a safety risk. The way I look at it it simply goes against the spirit of the rules. If moving aero parts are forbidden then making parts flexible can be interpreted to be against the rules. But safety was not the issue

        1. @socksolid

          And that perfectly loops back to my question are the spirit of the rules in keeping with the spirit of sport. Road cars have flexible aero, it’s such a simple, effective and beautiful solution torpedoed by rules.

    10. It happens every year when Indy returns there, but WOW, Road America! That layout is just phenomenal and I wish I was able to watch more events at that track.

    11. I find it curious that Road America gets a lot of love while having a whole slew of 90 degree turns. And Baku gets slammed for the same quality. Road Am puts on good racing, don’t get me wrong. But whenever I drive it in iRacing I find myself getting bored unless I’m in a draft battle with someone. It just feels like a weird standard from race fans on which track layouts get praised and which ones get criticized.

      1. Ones in the USA the others in an oil funded state the West do not like with no motor racing history, track layout should be all they care about but people get holier than thow attitudes and take a perceived morale high ground to talk rubbish. If a track was in Syria and it is good then it is good nothing else matters.

      2. @joey-poey

        I’ve never driven iRacing so I don’t know how close the physics are to real life. RA is one of those tracks that have to be driven in the real world to appreciate its charms, preferably in a car with high power to weight and low downforce. It is an amazing driving and racing experience in say a vintage racer, Skip Barber car, or Formula 2000 (previously Formula Continental). With the long straights, a Spec Miata race is drafting madness.

        While the 90 degree corners make the track layout appear simple, the elevation changes and subtle topographical characteristics make it a surprisingly technical track with many corners requiring nuances of line, steering input, trail braking, or mid corner throttle to roll the most speed through and get the best exit. Any speed advantage you carry out of the corner stays with you all the way down the next straight, allowing you to immediately put pressure on a car ahead of you at the next corner. Correspondingly, if you make even a tiny mistake and your opponent behind you doesn’t, you’re a sitting duck at the next corner. The Carousel is just amazing to drive as all your tires are sliding differently. Maintaining max speed through the Kink without downforce requires old school cojones and car control as there is a dip on entry that the car skates across, and with the grass and concrete wall right there on exit, frequently a change of underwear between sessions.

        Unfortunately, lots of downforce negates the effect of these challenges and makes the track much easier and more boring to drive.

    12. I think Hasegawa and his entire Honda engineering staff are on drugs. Even delusion should have it’s limits

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