Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Alonso will quit F1 if 2017 rules don’t let drivers ‘push’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says he won’t look to extend his F1 career beyond 2017 if next year’s rules changes don’t allow drivers to drive at the limit more often.

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David likes the idea of continuing with the current engine format:

Having recently heard a 2.4-litre V8 in a Red Bull RB7, I’ll keep the current engines thank you very much.

The V8 is loud, yes, but it doesn’t actually sound that nice. Quantity doesn’t equal quality.

I love watching the drivers having to deal with the torque the hybrids produce, no longer can they just floor the throttle and get away with it.
David (@Nvherman)

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  • 57 comments on “Alonso will quit F1 if 2017 rules don’t let drivers ‘push’”

    1. I agree with the COTD. The 2009-2013 V8 never sounded particularly interesting to me. In my opinion, it was quite boring. It’s loud, but that’s pretty much it. The V8 in 2006 sounded brilliant though with no rev-limiter, and the 2007-2008 V8 still sounded quite good with the 19000 RPM limit. However, the 18000 RPM limit in 2009 just took the thrill out of the sound. V12s and V10s are my favourite. The current V6 sounds similarly boring in my opinion. It doesn’t give me a thrill. I really want these engines to rev higher. 11000-12000 RPM is just too low for an F1 car. I reckon that these current engines would sound great if they revved at least 5000 revs higher.

      1. i think they would blow up or something but sound isn’t the problem, they sounded the same in the late 80s and nobody complained. don’t forget thst they are the most efficient engines f1 ever had. a v8 could do nothing against them, they’re technically amazing. if i could choose an engine sound it would still be a v12 tbh

        1. The current engines wouldn’t ‘blow up’ if rev’d higher – hitting 15k RPM would just be wasting fuel for no real gain, better to shift up and get more torque, as turbo engines produce the majority of their torque lower down the rev band. Adversely, the previous naturally aspirated engines developed all their torque around the higher rev’s, hence why they had to scream to their rev limiters in every gear to get the benefit.

          1. turbo engines do not produce the majority of their torque down low. Most cars have something called turbo lag where the low rpms don’t generate enough exhaust pressure to spool up the turbine. Secondly, turbos are designed for different applications, some like the torque up top and massive HP some like it in the mid range, some run two turbos, in series or parallel. It is not cut and dry as you say.

            Where torque is produced has to do with the design of the motor, it’s head/valves and intake+exhaust, fuel delivery, maps, etc…

            HP ~= Torque x RPMs, thats why Power is developed at high rpms, not because they are naturally aspirated. The torque curve is defined by the design of the motor, how it breathes, fuel/mapping, etc… Turbos vs N/A motors is bull when people use F1, because of how stupidly rigid the engine rules are and how even there really is no direct comparison.

        2. @911

          It is a complete fallacy that people did not complain about the sound of the 80’s turbos, I think it must come from the fact that there was no internet then, (so we can’t go back and check written comments) and also that many people now making these comments were not attending races then, or even born!

          I remember very well hearing a lot of complaining about the lack of sound when I went to the British GP in 1987. The following year I went again and there was a mix of turbos and N/A cars. The turbos were of course quicker, but the sounds of the N/A cars was on a totally different level.

      2. I also agree with the COTD (surprise!!) and I’ll say it again, F1 engines have not had a good sound ever since the aero guys figured out they could use the exhaust gas for downforce, I’d rather listen to a multicylinder motorbike blasting through the gears.

        1. @hohum, so that would be since 1982 then?

      3. I hated all versions of the V8, the noise was too high pitched. It was interesting for 5 minutes before it started to be uncomfortable, towards the end of the race it was just downright irritating/unpleasant, even with ear plugs.
        I liked the V10’s, but you can’t beat the V12’s circa 1995. So nice.

        1. By 1995 even Ferrari had realised that V12 engines were a useless and outdated concept and they were working on a V10. There were far more V8 engines on the grid than V12s. V12 engines might sound good, but unfortunately it was about all they were good for.

          Going back to a technology which was already well past its sell by date over 20 years ago just because it sounds better would be much worse than many of the ridiculous ideas F1 has come up with in the past decade (I know you didn’t actually suggest that but going back to old technology based on sound is a common request from F1 fans).

      4. I love the torque of the hybrids, but they sound absolutely pathetic. Swings and roundabouts I suppose……..

        I certainly agree that the last rev-limited V8’s were not a patch on the V10’s and V12’s, but I am still astonished anyone could prefer the current sound.

        This current engine situation saves me a lot of money though, I don’t see much point attending live races now, as with the visceral thrill removed, it is not really a whole lot different to watching on TV.

        1. Of course because sound is the ONLY reason to go to watch a live race…….

          1. @ju88sy

            NO, of course it’s not. It makes a massive contribution to the live experience though.

            1. I have to confess I don’t mind the noise of the new engines, they are better now than 2014 and you can still just about hear the tyres spin up when they break traction.

        2. I really like the sound of the current engines. Certainly live. With the V8s you just couldn’t listen without ear plugs. In other words, you are paying for the thrill of not really hearing anything @paulguitar.

          Sure, it did feel impressive that you could hear them faraway on the other side of the track when you pulled out your earplugs to see if you could have a conversation with the guy sitting next to you or hear the track comment. But I hugely prefer the more interesting tones of the current engines where you can just watch and enjoy it without having to use earplugs. You even have a chance of following what’s going on through the comments and discussing things during the race.

          1. @bascb @ju88sy

            All complete fair points, we just see (or hear) it differently. F1 is not remotely the same to me anymore, but others prefer the quiet engines. As I said, it saves me forking out to see the races live, so every cloud….:)

            1. Yeah there’s no right or wrong answer as it is up to the individual as to how they have reacted to the removal of the scream. For me, at the Montreal GP pre hybrid turbos, my right ear particularly crackled, even with ear protection. Haven’t been there in this current gen to compare, but I think I’d prefer the quieter sound knowing that has not diminished the power they have at their hands.

    2. All praise to Alonso, I hope he gets to race in the manner he wants to and Alan Jones and I would like to see, if not I will probably retire my interest in F1 as well.

      1. Let’s hope the 2017 tyres perform as Pirelli are stating they will, tyre management needs to be present but not front stage most of the time.

      2. @hohum Alonso knows perfectly well that he’s going to have to save fuel in 2017 and every future year (unless they bring back refuelling). That’s because it’s not there just because the rules require it, but because the teams have worked out that it’s the fastest way to complete a Grand Prix. The teams are not going to unlearn what they have worked out so fuel saving is here to stay. I think he is playing up to his role as the people’s champion and giving himself an exit route should the Honda/McLaren not perform next year.

        As for tyres that’s certainly one area where we can hope for improvement on that front.

      3. It will depend on whether the high downforce cars make it easier to overtake a car in front or not.

    3. Yes Alonso, please go home! You are the worst sportsman ever race in formula 1. Remember Singapore 2008? You are a bad joke…

      1. You really need to calm down. Seriously, I’m not an Alonso fan but your constant bashing of him is undeserved. If you talk about cheating, then it’s quite unfair that you do not also mention Briatore, Schumacher, Senna and Prost as they also cheated.

        1. Prost, Bri and schu yes. When did Senna cheat lol.

          1. Senna was pretty aggresive and has lied/cheated at least once, when he took Prost out in 1990, and said he was “going for a gap”.

            Don’t get me wrong, he was the greatest driver we had, but he is no saint.

            1. Very few ‘top drivers’ were, or are, saints ! These guys are used to light-speed
              decisions on track and, given the opportunity, in the literal blink of an eye, they will
              decide to…… block the track at Tabac, ….or perhaps make a small error near Casino Square ( then take to the escape road, thereby preventing their team-mate directly
              behind them from setting a faster time )…or running their opponent off the road, or, in one case getting into a spin immediately ahead of a rival and thereby ruining his qualifying time. As a perceptive commentator once said…’if you are looking for saints and angels you are watching the wrong sport !’

              When you consider what is at stake in terms of money, glory, survival, failure, success,
              practically everyone involved in F1 will take every regulation to the limit and, if they are really desperate, beyond any limit.

          2. @shrieker, Senna was not above malicious acts against other drivers – there was one incident, sadly only caught by French broadcasters, where during the qualifying session for the 1985 Monaco GP, Senna went out and deliberately blocked Alboreto from completing a qualifying lap that could have knocked Senna off pole.

    4. I was a bit disappointed by that Alan Jones interview. I am sure there are others but I would have liked to have heard more about his career… I was hoping to hear about his drives in 1980 at Buenos Aires and Watkins Glen, and about his career after F1.

    5. I certainly hope Fred Alonso has something lined up in 2017 to keep himself busy.

      1. Probably WEC.

    6. I’ve always like these engines, in particular due to the v8’s noise, that was not a sound, also the v8’s were somewhat underpowered. I think we all would like to see all PU’s at a competitive level and we all would like to focus on something other than costs, but that’s nothing to do with what engine we like the best. In my view I would keep these engines but lift the refuelling ban, it’s the purist way to look at racing even if that may not actually contribute to racing. Alonso is eager to win, I think that’s Alonso so that means he’s still the driver we know. Alonso has had an almost flawless career, these cars though do not exert the drivers hence some of the sheer talent is not seen. These past 5 seasons have been about who’s more candid, hopefully we’ll reinstate sheer skill into f1 again.

    7. Just a thought, what if the engineers called the fuel saving mode (limited RPM and whatever) as the default mode instead and anything above that as “risky mode” i.e. wearing the components faster, use only when there’s a real chance to finish ahead of what the car normally capable of. Give the illusion of maximum racing to the drivers and spectators who never know better anyway. Maybe they can made the engine last for 6 races easily this way too. Win-win in my view.

      1. “Default mode” is already associated with broken cars that are being told to limp back to the pits. The association would therefore make a bad situation worse – instead of having the illusion of being raced at 90% most of the time, people will have the illusion that the cars are semi-permanently malfunctioning.

        1. @alianora-la-canta They don’t need to actually call it “default mode”. Call it “Performance mode 1”, “Race mode (so they also have Qualy mode)” or anything with positive sounding, just keep the details out of anybody not in engineering.

          1. @sonicslv @alianora-la-canta What do you think ‘Mix 1,2,3’ etc were before the radio comms were gimped?

          2. All the ones you have suggested already have negative connotations from how they have previously been used, and any future description would quickly gain such a connotation if used in a context like this, where there’s several seconds a lap between the typical racing mode and the fastest one used in a race. The impression is mainly obtained through observation (which these days is so obvious that many first-time viewers with no previous motorsport experience can see it), especially of the difference between (say) a Mercedes being pushed for the lead and the same Mercedes in an unchallenged lead, or of the difference between DRS mode and standard mode. All calling it a name over the radio does is give the feeling a descriptor.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        21st August 2016, 14:50

        I think the drivers are too smart for that. If they didn’t notice straight away (I expect they would), I’m sure they’d pick up on it when there was a safety car, saving them lots of fuel, and their engineers told them to be in ‘risky mode’ (or whatever it was called) all the way to the end.

        That, and F1’s too leaky for that kind of secret.

        1. @neilosjames The driver obviously will know, and “rumours” will be spoken, but the main objective is not making it general knowledge, which is the true problem. Like “driver coaching”, fuel saving and tire saving is as old as motorsport, not exclusively a product from hybrid V6 or Pirelli. However people only made an issue of it because the phrase thrown a lot and suddenly everyone is becoming armchair expert.

          Also, with all these fuel savings issue, we never know how much slower the car is. It could be 1kph or 20kph slower but no one actually asks about that, and even then do people really can notice that difference? What we know is the engineers filled the fuel according to their calculation to finishing the race in fastest time, which means it actually couldn’t be that slow.

    8. Really appreciate getting COTD @keithcollantine

    9. I always hated these engines. They are boring. You don’t want to pay up to $500 to get pass to a track and hear the same thing I can hear in my city.
      V8 aren’t the best, but you can at least feel that this is F1 racing, not Vacuum Cleaner racing.


      And here is another comparison.

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        21st August 2016, 12:01

        To my ears, I prefer in this order: V10, V12, V6 (1988), V8, V6 (2015). The current engines sound awful.

        1. @peppermint-lemon, are you basing that purely on TV transmissions or from attending races in person?

          As others have noted, the quality of the broadcast audio feed over the years has varied, whilst track side comparisons are very fickle given the differences in recording capabilities of your average camera.

          Sviat has posted some comparisons, but there have also been other comparisons – I recall seeing one clip from Silverstone where the current spec turbo engines sounded completely different and much more like the 1980’s turbo cars. The comparison clip that features the 2015 Honda engine being dyno tested is also an unfair comparison, as there is evidence that the audio stream of the engine had been intentionally distorted prior to being released (most probably to prevent an audio back analysis of the engine behaviour).

          1. Yeah, most clips are posted by, and listened to, people who don’t appreciate the variations in audio recording and playback. I liked the V8s live but don’t mind the V6 hybrids. Although the Honda sounds like it’s about to fall apart.

      2. @Sviat

        You don’t want to pay up to $500 to get pass to a track and hear the same thing I can hear in my city.

        You’d be surprised how many naturally aspirated V8 engines were around several years ago (Rover, BMW & Mercedes used them all over the shop). None of them rev’d to 18,000 RPM though, but then there are no turbo V6’s on the road that rev to 11k+ RPM either, so I don’t know what your point is.

    10. I so agree with Alonso. And it’s horrible to watch too. It’s my biggest wish that there will be no more tyre saving and no fuel flow limit. It would be like X-mas .

    11. Good for Alonso … If I was him, I would quit too. He has nothing to prove, nothing to win, and if now the cars are a management game not a driving sport… To hell with it.

    12. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      21st August 2016, 11:01

      My favourite engine of recent years was the 3l V10. Sounded epic. The V8s were neutered V10 after just having two cylinders less and they sounded worse. Todays engines are impressive technically but sound awful I think.

    13. I’m always surprised when old drivers like Alan Jones start talking about fuel/tyre saving not being a part of F1. Are they forgetting the periods F1 didn’t have pitstops? Drivers used to run out of fuel near the end of the race because of faulty gauges, bad planning or bad sensors. It’s only natural that with the advancements in technology, teams will do their best to prevent running out of fuel and run as light as possible, the latter also being a part of racing as long as anyone can remember.

      Do people really think incidents like San Marino 1985 would have happened had they had the information/technology they had today? Do people think drivers in the 90s never had to nurse their tyres?

      I lament the low probability of car failures these days and I guess running out of fuel or tyres could also mix up the race result. But frankly, I’m more bothered that just 20 years ago, we had races with only 8 finishers without any major crashes, and we regularly get 18+ cars to finish now. The cars have become nigh bulletproof, why wouldn’t the way they handle their fuel and tyres be too? They are not isolated, yet everyone rages at fuel and tyre saving, while virtually nobody talks about ‘I want engines that are built to expire 1 meter after the finish line again’.

      Then again, F1 fans are a selective bunch..

      Anyway, here’s a clip of that 1985 San Marino GP. https://youtu.be/UXuEvuyyy4k

      1. Not quite getting your point. Jones is lamenting an F1 that is too much about conservation. He of course would be the first one to acknowledge it has always been a part of the game, but just read Alonso’s problems with today’s format of F1 and you will understand that is how most people inside and outside F1 think. If they can’t ever push, if they have to be 90% all day and never have a chance for at least some part of a stint to push to the limit, then it’s not F1 as we know it or as it should be…it’s something more that belongs in WEC type racing. F1 needs to be more of a sprint and there is no need to take that to the opposite extreme and claim that those of us who say that think there should be no conservation whatsoever. There is and always will be some conservation…it just shouldn’t be the overwhelming name of the game when it comes to F1. The drivers plain and simply are not taxed enough, and even they want more challenge.

        1. @robbie, what is interesting is that the interview with Jones neglects to mention his later career at the Lola-Haas team.

          When he drove the THL2, he mocked the Ford backed Cosworth turbo V6, complaining that they were being far too conservative when they imposed limits on the boost pressure of the engines to reduce the risk of the failing, even though the design could take a higher pressure, because Ford did not want to have too many engine failures. He complained at the time that he was never able to truly push to the limits of what that engine and chassis package could do, so it’s not the first time that he has complained of drivers having their performance limited by outside factors.

    14. Williams then ready for a star driver? Only star they can afford is Button, a fading star for a fading team.

      They do need some change there… Same drivers for ages and neither seem to be shining out in star driver fashion.

      1. @jureo That’s after Claire Williams saying pretty much the same thing, so Button or Perez it is then. Symonds ready to keep Massa is so weird tbh. Seems smitten with Smedley’s manlove for the Brazilian.

    15. “I have to drive 90 per cent and I cannot push in any of the laps”
      Be careful what you wish for Fernando, you still managed to crash heavily in every of the v6 era season lol.

      1. @antoine-de-paris Imagine how silly he’ll feel if he moves to the WEC series and someone points out he only has to drive to 33 percent as he’s sharing the car with 2 other drivers!

        1. Lol nice 33% burn..

          But seriously, drivers talk. Webber is Alonsos friend, they exchange “data”, he is winning stuff age 39 in WEC, even a Championship…

          Nico Hulkenberg, explained full well the differences between WEC and F1. In WEC, if he made a slight error, tires would come back to him for the next corner. In F1, once you push over the limit tires take several corners to come back.

          Hence Alonso really cannot push, he is all about maximizing corner entry and exit, overdoing the way in and somehow not loosing time while driving over the limit it seems.

          But right now staying within 90% of maximum grip tire can give is the way to complete a race fastest. Imagine how furstrating it is for an impatient Spaniard…

          Schumacher wasnt to happy with that either… Nor was Hamilton, but atleast Hamilton is quiet when he is infront.

          If he is in F1 for fun… Then fun might not be there anymore…

    16. I agree with COTD. My last (and only so far) GP was Monza 2010.

      I remember the rush of hearing the engines for the first time as I walked to the circuit through Monza park after being held up on the bus to the circuit. FP1 had just started. You could hear the cars from miles away. So impressive…

      It was a raw, white noise. This was when some teams had started to experiment with the blown diffuser with ‘off throttle’ engine modes. I remember the TV commentary of the time mentioning how horrible the Mercedes (I think) sounded mid corner, but I promise you, the works Renault (not Red Bull, strangely) cars sounded much worse. The noise was metallic. It sounded like metal clanging on metal, five times a second, until the car was on throttle again. All at a million decibels.

      I sat at the entrance to Parabolica and by the end of the weekend, ears bleeding (even with protection), miserable, sun burned, I’d had enough! The GP2 cars sounded better!

      I haven’t heard the new engines, but I was lucky enough to see the March six wheeled F1 car competing at the Oulton Park Gold Cup a couple of years ago. That sucker was loud. Really, really loud. But, in a good way. It sounded like a proper engine on the cutting edge of tuning (Ford DFV, I think), not just a racket.

      That, I could cope with…

      1. To bad DFV doesnt make 1000hp.

        Whenever I watch V8 footage I remind myself why I dont miss old engines at all.

        But V10, those were whailing properly.

        New turbos only the Honda sounds good. Saddly they are least competitive…

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