Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016

FIA ‘should equalise engines if Mercedes aren’t caught’

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In the round-up: Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says the FIA should rein Mercedes in if they aren’t caught next year.

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  • 89 comments on “FIA ‘should equalise engines if Mercedes aren’t caught’”

    1. don’t change anything unless hamilton wins a race, i can’t stand see him winning

      1. Fortunately, some people actually applaud talent and skill.

        I hated putting up with 4 years of the finger from Vettel, but I never felt the rules should be changed to stop him.

        1. Jonathan Parkin
          23rd December 2016, 15:17

          And he keeps on doing that!!!. He keeps on doing that doesn’t he!! It would be alright if it was STRAIGHT, but it’s like that for some reason I don’t know why that is – Jenson Button on Vettel’s finger

      2. The headline was “equalise engines” not “equalise talent”

      3. @nelson piquet If somebody is better than the rest, nobble him or change the rules? Why not just role dice to decide who wins? I suggest you stick to snakes and ladders.

      4. @nelson piquet I take your chosen name and each word in your post literally and do not detect a scintilla of sarcasm, like all the other commenters, and so I must earnestly disagree with your post. Good day, sir!

    2. Go do GP2 Franz. Or alternatively get Ferrari to give you an up to date engine.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        23rd December 2016, 4:31

        He makes a lot of sense; but to understand that you have to read the whole (original) interview (link).

        1. Ok, @coldfly, I will hold back on sighing about it until I read the article (original) then!

            1. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

        2. Well, that was a good warning/reminder to read the article first @coldfly. Quite a solid read and yeah, when Tost is asked what one would have to do to achieve a better “show” he mentions that IF the merc still is clearly ahead after this season and they want to equalize things, they should let the others catch up. Now, I may not think it is a good idea to even want that, but if, then yeah.

          Very good points from Tost about the cost capping too, and how to go about it. Read that everyone who believes the big spenders when they say it cannot be policed.

          1. That goes for the German original though. The english thing is far from a good article though, only citing the somewhat controversial part about the engine, and leaving out the context and the far more important part about containing cost beign the best way to increase the level of competition.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              23rd December 2016, 7:58

              Thanks @bascb
              Initially I thought of translating the German version for my Non-German speaking friends here. But there is quite some good stuff in it besides the equalised engine bit, that I decided to leave the translation to my mates at Google Translate.

            2. @coldfly Thanks for the link. A bit difficult to read in google translate but it’s got indeed another tone than the shortened version.

    3. Are you kidding me??? Equalize engines? To get to this level of dominance, it took Merc a lot of hard work, and why should they give it up just because “they could be caught”??? Ridiculous!

      1. I applaud what Mercedes has done. They have made the most dominant car in F1 history.

        But for the sake of the sport there needs to be some sort of competition… Or else there won’t be much of a sport left for Mercedes to enjoy

        1. One can only hope that one of the several hundred-billion-USD businesses competing with Mercedes can muster the talent and energy to execute at their level some day. Or they could just hobble the sport. Whichever their boards who don’t watch or care about F1 decide.

        2. The fuel blends and engine management software are unique for the top teams and a reason for the weakness of customer teams.

          Rather than artificially stopping Mercedes from developing I would suggest:
          1) a standard fuel blend. No more unique team fuel profiles
          2) Force engine manufacturers to provide software as part of engine

          Of course all this is a fantasy, because almost nobody with influence has the sport as their highest priority.

          1. I have two completely serious questions:
            1. If a Mercedes engine customer wanted to also buy Petronas fuel blends, could they, or does Mercedes have exclusivity? My understanding was that it was mostly sponsor comittments that forced teams to run worse (as in less-optimized) fuels: Williams has Petrobras, Force India has Quaker State (?), etc.
            I thought if any team wanted to turn down the sponsorship dollars and pay to use Petronas’ optimized fuel, they could.

            2. Do the engines run on a separate computer outside of the McLaren-supplied standard ECU?

            1. @kmccauley, as Armchair Expert notes, the standard engine supply deal from Mercedes does include a supply deal for the use of the same fuel and lubricant mixtures as the works team (I believe that Force India have also confirmed that this is the case and that they are using the Petronas fuel and oil mixtures).

              The two exceptions that I am aware of would be Williams and McLaren. Although Williams were supplied by Petronas in 2014 (since the Petrobras sponsorship deal was signed only shortly before the 2014 season), Petrobras did state back in 2014 that they would be developing a bespoke fuel for Williams from 2015 onwards.

              Back in March 2015, Symonds also stated that Petrobras were going to be developing a fuel blend specifically for Williams, hoping that Williams could even possibly gain from such an arrangement:
              Asked by AUTOSPORT if there was a danger that Mercedes would naturally make its engine more suited to Petronas, Symonds replied: “We’re working on developing the fuel. Naturally we want the fuel to be good.

              “There’s no reason theoretically why Petrobras can’t develop a better fuel than Petronas, so it can be a positive, an advantage.

              “We’re not there yet, but that’s what we’re working towards.”
              http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117986

              As for McLaren, they stated that under their agreement with Exxon, they used their fuel and oil products for the 2014 season (I believe that they claimed it caused a slight loss in performance as a result).

              With regards to your question about the engines and the standard ECU, the regulations state the following:
              8.2.1: All components of the power unit, gearbox, clutch and differential, in addition to all associated actuators, must be controlled by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) which has been manufactured by an FIA designated supplier to a specification determined by the FIA.

              However, in the appendices to the regulations, they state that the motor generator unit (MGU) can have a separate control unit in order to smooth out the regenerative braking effects and to control how energy is transmitted to and from the various energy storage units in the car (though I think that the wording of the regulations means that the MGU control unit ultimately has to come under the control of the standard ECU).

          2. Great information guys.

            I’ll note that identical hardware does not preclude different software, unless the rule say so. Certainly we know the cars have different functions, engine maps, etc.

      2. Pretty simple that having such a power advantage for so long has allowed Mercedes to focus on the chassis and aero in lieu of developing the motor and made the package stronger.

        Being able to turn up the juice when pressured by Ferrari/RB just exaggerates the overall lap time advantage that Mercedes has.

        Last two seasons have been great racing when you remove the two silver cars from consideration, but closer racing for top of the podium is so sorely needed.

        2017 is not necessarily going to be better but I hope it is, or else this struggling Aussie will have to get behind women’s rugby sevens or netball…. sigh

    4. Urgh. I wish they’d stop it with this ‘Mercedes engines are too strong’ garbage. I keep saying it, but no other Mercedes powered car has won a race in the new era, while Renault and Ferrari powered cars have. They’ve rarely even been on the podium. Mercedes (the team) are the whole integrated package and that’s why they dominate.

      1. Stuart Becktell
        23rd December 2016, 0:34

        It has to be remembered that Mercedes decides who gets their engines, so this is part of the reasons others haven’t won. And if you take out Red Bull, the rest of the grid had the same number of podiums as Lewis did! When there are 63 podiums, and 33 are taken by the two Merecedes drivers, and then Riccardo gets a further 8, there aren’t many podiums available!

      2. @selbbin I”m sorry, but how could you reasonably expect small teams like Williams, Force India, Manor etc. to win races despite the Mercedes engine. May I remind you how Williams was the 2nd fastest car for large parts of 2014 simply due to having the Mercedes engine, and the 5th best chassis. If Red Bull for instance, a real direct competitor had those Mercedes engines and didn’t manage to win, that would be a different story.

        1. You’re forgetting McLaren had Merc engines as well. If Mercedes didn’t have a factory team, there would be no evidence of Mercedes engine dominance. Mercedes were on an upward trend before 2014, their dominance is not solely down to having the best engine. Even with engine equalisation I would still expect Mercedes to dominate.

      3. Ferrari wouldn’t win with Mercedes engine, Red Bull probably would win a few races…

    5. Stuart Becktell
      23rd December 2016, 0:29

      We’re past the point of engine equalization. If it was going to happen, it should have happened two years ago.

      1. equalization is code for politics as usual.

        the sport does not need more lies, all it needs to do is throw out the rule in the SPORTING REGULATIONS (harr harr harr) that stipulates cars cannot have more than 100kg (105kg) per race. That is the rule that is killing the rest of the major manufactures, Mercedes fuel efficiency is unrivaled in F1, and because it is, it can run far more down force, and can lead from the front with ease, just as Vettel did at RBR during the end of the V8 days. You don’t need equalization, you don’t need more LIES. You need unlimited fuel capacity (regulated by natural laws, not artificial constructs governed by bs politics).

        the unbounding of fuel capacity while adding a weight penalty allows the cars to come much closer to Mercedes as they will be able to race for pole position, and effectively end Merc’s run of form from the front. Of course, Merc will still have their advantage, and it is a strong one, but allowing teams to design their cars, not hobbled by fuel constraints, will allow a much wider degree of optimization in terms of aero/strategy.

        Further more, if you want to see real competition you will allow manufactures to build power trains closer to what WEC allows, further diversifying the field in terms of performance and potential. And even further more, ditch the control tire, and lets see some real racing, get rid of the ban on refuelling and the satellite teams/non big name manufactures have a much better shot at podiums/winning.

        But I really doubt you will see anyone allowed to challenge the status quo in F1, it’s morally bankrupt and quite obvious too. Forcing teams to lose so it can promote politics and big money interests kinda sucks.

        1. Mercedes fuel efficiency is unrivaled in F1, and because it is, it can run far more down force

          I don’t understand this. Can you explain?

          1. More down force, more grip
            More grip, faster around corners
            More down force, more drag
            More drag, higher fuel consumption

          2. @mike, pcxmac seems to be assuming that downforce is generated only by the bodywork of the car – a quite erroneous assumption right from the start that rather undermines his argument. It also ignores the issue of aerodynamic efficiency – in other words, he also seems to be assuming that, if two teams have the same front wing setting, they must be producing the same amount of downforce and the same amount of drag.

            If anything, there have been a number of races this season where Mercedes have been visibly running with lower wing angles than their rivals, directly contradicting pcxmac’s hypothesis. Silverstone was a particularly marked example, where Red Bull was quite clearly running with noticeably larger wing angles than Mercedes (which contributed to their competitiveness in the opening stages of the race when the conditions were wetter).

            Given his previous comments, though, I think that you will find that what he really wants is for Red Bull to start dominating the sport again and is therefore casting about for any mechanism – however erroneous it actually is – to push them to the front of the grid.

            1. hate to break it to you but the ‘controllable surfaces’ that are called wings are not the only instruments Merc can use to achieve drag/down force. While efficiency in aero is very important, it is less important if your competition has a broken Renault power unit, powered by pride and ignorance.

              Renault and Honda have nothing for Mercedes, and Mercedes with out Lewis Hamilton is Mercedes before he showed up, especially if he were to leave before next year.

              Mercedes have no competition because F1 has devised a rules format that punishes poorer teams and teams that do not have it in them to understand a technical innovation whose heart lies with a corporation that has billions and billions of dollars and decades of research in ‘lean burn’ systems.

              Wing angle is the the key determinant in an aero solution, it’s a tunable component that is centered around a much bigger problem/solution.

              The only way to allow real competition is to stop writing rules that favor big money factories. The fuel fraud didn’t work in MotoGP, and it’s not working in F1. The control tires are a joke in F1, just like they are in MotoGP. The strings are so obviously deployed and hooked in to the ‘actors’ participating in the show. The real spectacle is allowing yourself to see past the cheap magic tricks and figuring what really interests the ‘fans’ and the people bank rolling the show.

            2. Wing angle is NOT the the key determinant …

            3. @xsavior

              Mercedes have no competition because F1 has devised a rules format that punishes poorer teams

              Like Ferrari.

          3. Downforce = drag = cost in fuel. If you are more efficient you can run more down for for the same cost. F1 is all about cornering speed and braking, downforce is key to achieving this.

            1. Are they producing the most down force?

          4. @mike Merc’s fuel efficiency is unrivalled because they very quickly found the sweet spot where all components of the PU are generating the maximum performance for the given fuel provided and the energy generated by both MGU devices.

            I do believe the famed ‘split turbo’ design is one reason, allowing them to run a relatively large compressor compared to rivals and also allows the MGU-H to extract a large amount of constant heat energy from the gases moving through to the turbo (there’s no limit on the amount of energy that can be harvested from the MGU-H), meaning their battery is constantly charged for deployment through the MGU-K. This is why they can almost always turn up the wick for qualifying or if a rival gets close.

            They mastered this relatively early in the 2014 season, meaning it’s been all about reliability and chassis performance, knowing full well they could just crank up wing angles to regain downforce trimmed from the car by the 2014 aero changes, knowing the sheer grunt of the engine could drive the car through the air, even with essentially barn doors attached to the front and rear of the car.

            1. @optimaximal, again, why is it that everybody seems to assume that Mercedes are always running with more wing angle than other teams? Sometimes they would and sometimes they would not – they have not been consistently running with increased wing angles compared to other teams.

        2. @xsavior So your solution is to take a car which is already slower and then add some extra weight to beat Mercedes? Teams already have the option to run with more fuel as they don’t always fill the cars at the start because it’s not the fastest way to race – so allowing them to make their cars even heavier doesn’t seem to me to solve any problems other than on fuel critical races. If putting more fuel in was the solution then teams would always be hitting the current limit. I also don’t get how it affects qualifying since the cars aren’t full in qualifying anyway so the fuel capacity has no bearing on qualifying performance.

          1. @jerseyf1, it is certainly true that the teams will always try to reduce the fuel load as much as possible, since quite often that is the fastest way around the track in race trim.

            We heard in races like the Brazilian GP how some drivers were asking the team to help them burn off fuel during red flag periods (I recall Hulkenberg asking the team if they could fire up the engine through a number of cycles to burn fuel in the first red flag period), or what engine maps to use during extended safety car periods to get rid of fuel because there was more of an advantage from having a lighter car than from having more fuel to use.

            Overall, I think that the main reason why he is obsessed with that particular suggestion is, quite simply, a major misunderstanding of the regulations.

            1. rain has a way of taking away the need for full on power.

              the next question is why are other cars not as close to Merc when it rains, well, RBR are certainly closer, Ferrari have and continue to have issues with designing a car that handles like a RBR, Mercedes might fall back to 2012 if they lose Lewis.

              Why are the cars, generally not as good as Merc in the wet, well they design their car with more down force, available to them, thus their optimization/solutions are not as divergent, less money has to be spent looking for a ‘rain setup’ for their car, they don’t have to build and test a completely separate ‘rain car’, their solution is already that much better for and a more capable rain contender.

              If the FIA ended the Fuel restrictions, the poorer teams would have a much better chance at finishing higher up the order (remember when WIlliams won a race with Pastor?) and the drivers with more skill would be able to offeset more weight in terms of fuel with their own skill. But, seriously, the FIA doesn’t care about promoting skilled drivers, or allowing poor teams to compete, in effect and in reality, the FIA only cares about promoting Mercedes Benz. Fact.

          2. Just cause some guy online says it’s a fact, doesn’t make it so.

            FACT

    6. They should never even think about engine equalization or any other such nonsense.

      Everyone should be left to do the best they can withing the regulations & if somebody does a better job than the rest then it should be left up to the others to catch up rather than the team that found the advantage been held back. If the other manufacturer’s/team’s are unable to find the gains to match or beat them then tough luck.

      1. The Jim Clark trophy was a work of genius compared to double points.

      2. I don’t think you give Mercedes enough credit. They partnered up with Ilmour in ’95 then bought the operation so as an engine manufacturer they are pretty new which gives your question even more credence.

        As far as Ferrari goes I think complacency had a part to play. They underestimated the lead time and didn’t expect not to nail it first time. With Renault their heads weren’t in the game. Coming from the V8 era where they had a special dispensation to equalise power and still ended up slightly down they weren’t sure they wanted to commit the resources. Honda didn’t have the right people and refused to recruit externally.

        But that was 2014. You’re correct. The token system is why we are still in the same place today. Let them play! They’re selling the engines at a loss anyway so no harm unless you’re Sauber and don’t want to redesign your chassis for a different engine layout!

      3. Absolutely, that’s how sports work.

      4. I’ve said similar elsewhere. My Technical Regulations would be quite simple.
        Rule #1: Your car must fit inside a box this big.
        Rule #2: Your car must pass the standard FIA crash tests.
        End rules.

    7. Yes bring in engine equalisation and then follow it up with aero equalisation, driver equalisation, mechanic equalisation, pit crew equalisation, catering equalisation, livery equalisation. Equality for everyone!

      1. Robots should drive the 22 exact same cars too.

      2. … Would the sky fall in if I pointed out that many things on the cars are already the same or regulated to be the equal?

      3. don’t worry, the FIA will find a way to make all teams equal more sooner than later, and after that it will no longer be F1, but PC1.

    8. I like COTD. On lobbying, I think Tost has no excuse to lobby, he’s working for RB so his job and the team’s welfare is not on his hands. JEV, was not unprepared for f1, JEV was unprepared for life without RB.

    9. I think engine equalization worked well the last time it was used. It would lead to closer better racing. Everybody knows f1 all about who has the most money and best resources. If you want mercedes to easily win everything all the time then sure. Let’s keep going like this. So exciting to watch merc p1-p2 every race… But mercedes has earned it by doing better job! Or have they? I don’t think so. Merc has done the best job in the backrooms and politics. They have made sure the rules make it difficult for others to catch up.

      Merc has used every trick in the book to make sure they are not challenged by anyone who is running a merc engine. Engine equalization would be good for f1. The engine manufacturer’s only interest is their factory team. The closer the non-factory teams’ engines are to the factory teams the better the racing. It is very simple fact.

      And it is not a knee jerk reaction. It is the job of the rules to enable good racing and equal chances for all teams. It is a failure of the engine rules when the engine manufacturers get too powerful and make the racing uncompetitive and uninteresting. If the rules fail as they have failed then it needs to be fixed.

      1. Yeah, when the V8’s were “equalized”, Renault engines went on to win something like 2 out of every 3 races. If Mercedes hadn’t had the best KERS system, it would have been a much higher percentage.

        I’d like to know exactly what tricks Mercedes has used to keep Williams and Force India from being competitive– not just conjecture, but actual hard information. I suspect the FIA would be interested in learning about this, since it would be a violation of the sporting regulations.

        1. Thank you… someone else who’s memory works. Red Bull & their puppets always cry equalization when they’re not winning. The only area they’ve not championed equalization for is aero. Hmmmm… I wonder why?…..

        2. I’m not sure that Merc have prevented FI and Williams from being competitive as much as FI and Williams don’t have the resources to be competitive with Mercedes with it’s 1500 person headcount. While the engines are the same between the teams, they all have to do their own mapping and figure out how to best utilize the engines pretty much themselves. As a result, they aren’t able to utilize it as well as Mercedes have since they developed the engine and also have access to the Petronas fuel and lubricants that were designed in conjunction with the engine to maximize energy density (the fuel’s measured in weight, not volume). Having the edge on development through being able to blow as many of them as they’d like on the dyno and knowing the intricacies of the fuel have allowed them to use engine modes in qualifying that are rumored to be reaching the 1000 hp level. You can see this whenever anyone’s a threat to Mercedes. They just turn up the engine and get an extra few tenths. This is also why the gap in qualifying is often greater than in the race.

        3. Disregard the comments section underneath and this is a decent read.

          https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2016/04/insight-how-mercedes-supplies-its-customer-formula-1-teams-with-engines/

          I hope linking is allowed. If not, apologies.

      2. engine equalization does not address the problem, it’s about as useful as the Halo in distracting people from what is causing the ‘disparity’.

        The rules are killing the competition, just like they did in the former soviet union. F1 needs to embrace a far more liberal mindset and become much more interested in true diversification. Monocrops are bad, in so many ways. The one party (Merc) rule is not good for the spectators/populace. End the tyranny by ditching the rules that protect Mercedes financial interests.

      3. And the biggest failure of those is the token system which has been fixed so let’s slow down and see how that pans out first.

    10. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      23rd December 2016, 5:03

      Or, you know… they could just do a better job.

      1. It’s not that easy. Just ask Honda

        1. In spite of having at least anecdotal information on the performance of the Mercedes ERS system, Honda somehow showed up with not only an unreliable engine, but one that was incapable of delivering the required level of ERS support to the ICE.

          It’s almost like someone screwed up, and they built an engine to be competitive with the 2.4L V8 + KERS specification.

    11. It seems to me as though people have forgotten the disastrous “token” system!
      Engine equalisation has been stymied up to this point by regulations. Ferrari knew very early on in 2014 that they had made a mistake with their engine but the design was locked in for 2014 due to the change being too large to achieve under the token system. Renault have suffered similar problems and Honda are on record as stating that they had many upgrades for 2015 but couldn’t implement them all due to the token system. They too suffered from a major design flaw restricting their turbo size, which again was too big to change in season due to, guess what? The token system!
      The token system is set to be abolished for 2017 (big cheer!) I think it is premature to talk about engine equalisation until we see how the engine manufacturers do on their own without restrictive regulations.

      1. @fullcoursecaution
        23rd December 2016, 15:43

        Spot on dave

      2. This! So much this! Many components such as the crankshaft have been frozen even regardless of the token system. Hopefully everyone takes a big step next year except Mercedes who are hopefully reaching the point where they’re seeking increasingly smaller returns.

      3. Ferrari and Red Bull (and to be fair, Honda) have made massive strides in improving their respective engines under the token system.

        Unfortunately, some of those improvements were just in catching up to the 2014 Mercedes engine– there’s a reason why that particular beast received the Dewar Award. Rumors of greater than 45% thermal efficiency continue, and that’s just INSANE. Most people don’t realize how low thermal efficiency is in a gasoline engine– 25% to 30% is usually considered “space age”. Claims of 45% (or more) is usually more associated with “perpetual motion” and “anti-gravity”.

        Mercedes was hitting around 40% with their initial engine, and between their fuel mixtures from Petronas, and their expenditures of tokens, they’ve made the engine more reliable, and more efficient (46% is the highest number I’ve heard).

      4. The token system didn’t do much at all actually. Maybe it would if it went full on with limiting tokens as years went on but in the end they agree to let the full token allocation every year so others can catch up with Merc.
        The idea that they will change the whole engine middle season is silly. To research a new engine philosophy and implemented it you will need lots of time. Renault themselves said that the token in 2015 matter not because they didn’t really know how to fix things. And a Renault engineer said in an interview that the token system is more than enough to change almost the whole engine.

        Truth is that tokens or not they would still have needed a good few years to catch the Merc engine anyway and that is what we saw. Things don’t magically get fixed in a day by throwing and changing things at random.

    12. I think Horner’s comments would have more emphasis if his team hadn’t tried to emulate Ferrari’s we’re taking our toys and going bit.

      1. Possibly but the days of gentleman racers are long since gone. Ron Dennis, the FIA in bed with Ferrari, Toto Wolff arguing to keep their advantage, Force India arguing for equality. That’s the playing field now. They’re all trying to get an advantage whatever way they can. Horner isn’t the exception, he’s the rule. Hell the biggest strategic bomb thrower is the Ecclestone himself!

    13. 2009 to 2010 had one of the craziest silly season ever, even by this years standards. BrawnGP became Mercedes, the world champion Button went to McLaren, Alonso to Ferrari, Barrichello to Williams, Kubica to Renault. Raikkonen left F1, while
      Hulkenberg debuted. 4 new teams gained spots as Toyota and BMW pulled out. And to make it more crazy, as ‘On This Day in F1’ points out, Michael Schumacher announced his comeback.

    14. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      23rd December 2016, 9:22

      I’m at a complete loss as to what F1 should do. If you level engine performance then Adrian Newey will run amok again, (probably why Tost is so keen), if you don’t Merc may dominante for longer. Tiff Needell has tweeted some good ideas recently about how to make the series more driver orientated and leaving technological advancement/Road relevance to the likes of WEC. I can’t see any team other than RB or Merc winning a championship for the foreseeable future.

      1. @rdotquestionmark, I presume that Needell has missed the fact that the ACO is talking about possibly standardising they hybrid systems in their cars, or even eliminating the hybrid systems altogether, in the next few years.

      2. Well F1 needs to decide. It keeps changing its mind.

        It seems to me that closer racing is what we need. More different winners. Things need to be more equal performance wise on track.

        Very simply F1 car performance is decided mainly by three things. Power, down-force and mechanical grip.

        Mechanical grip is pretty well equalised because they all have the same tyres. Obviously there are other factors but ultimately the contact patches are the same for everyone.

        Down-force needs to reduced to an absolute minimum. The less there is, the less difference there can be between cars.

        Power is tricky. It’s much more difficult to legislate for equalisation, both from a technical and sporting viewpoint. The answer of course is to allow engines to produce much more power. More power than grip. We all know that rain is a big equaliser because power advantages cannot be so easily used. So to make power more equal make the engines so powerful so that the useable power is more equal. In a given situation if all it takes is 500bhp to make the wheels spin it doesn’t matter if two engines produce 800 and 900 bhp respectively, the 900 wont have an advantage.

        Ok I’ve over simplified a little, but this will level the playing field and reduce the advantage of the wealthy teams.

        Put me in charge Liberty!

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          23rd December 2016, 17:14

          I very much agree. I want it to be a drivers championship and much more variable.

    15. I admittedly was not the least bit a Schumacher fan all through the Ferrari years, he seemed an arrogant prat.
      But I was absolutely a fan when he was with Merc. He seemed a completely different person. He was having fun, and it showed in interviews, and in his attention to fans. At that point in his career he may not have been a complete driver anymore but he was a complete human being.
      It makes his devastating brain injury all the more sad for me. Especially around Christmas.

    16. I’m all for cost/resource capping and I think that saying it can’t be policed is just a poor excuse from those who stand to lose an advantage. Equalising in the sense of letting others catch up is not a terrible idea, but if you want to sincerely think in terms of establishing a competitive, sustainable future for the sport, then equalising the potential of teams to field competitive cars is the way to go methinks. Doesn’t mean everybody has to function on a pittance, just that if smaller teams would be relatively in the same universe as the big boys we’d simply have a better sport.

      Or, maybe the new stewardship will make the series so irresistibly attractive to big time manufacturers that we’ll end up with nothing but teams with unlimited budgets, which would be cool in its own way too.

      Either way, neither will happen, but since it’s time for end of year wishful thinking, I’ve really been a good boy this year, Dear Santa.

    17. I’m not a fan of the idea that F1 should equalize engines to improve the sport. The fundamental problem with F1 is that the fastest car SHOULD win almost every race if the tracks are similar. Everyone is together at the start, then the fastest car pulls ahead of the pack, the 2nd fastest car pulls ahead of everyone else, and so on until the field is spread out and no-one passes anyone except to lap them. Qualifying redux. For many years the approach to solving this problem has been to fiddle with the cars. I think this is entirely the wrong approach. Instead, IMO, we should fiddle with the tracks.

      Golfers often refer to courses as tracks, and so here is my simple analogy: Some golfers excel at the power game, others are shot-makers who bend the ball flight left or right with skill and ease, and others are excellent putters, etc. Different courses place different priorities on each skill, and each golfer tends to like or dislike a particular course based on whether or not it suits his eye and rewards strengths vs. penalize weaknesses.

      Now imagine what would happen to golf if Tilke designed 80% of the golf courses in the world. Only one type of golfer would ever win championships.

      So my suggestion is to let the teams build whatever car they want, but make sure there is more variety in what the different races demand from the cars. Make some races longer and some shorter. Have a brake-killer track, and, hell, maybe even a glorified oval. We do have that to a certain degree but not nearly enough. Imagine all the races Pastor Maldonado could have won if the tracks all had soft bumpers on the aggressive walls that menaced him! It’s a game-changing idea!!!

      The only other approach I can imagine working is a salary cap scenario designed to break up successful teams quickly, and giving small teams dibs on hot new talent. Easier to implement quickly but still more artificial and, for me at least, less satisfying than more track variety.

      1. @leejo I don’t think it’s right to say that most of the tracks on the calendar are the same, there’s a significant difference between Monaco and Monza, between Singapore and Spa. I get your point that there is a bit of a Tilke template but that hasn’t (yet) resulted in all tracks being the same. The issue is that the biggest teams have resources to develop their cars to suit a variety of circuit types and environmental conditions and whilst there are still some relative strengths and weaknesses they aren’t often enough to have a big impact.

        One way to solve that would be to have more in-season freezing in car development (including aero and configuration) meaning that in effect the same car would have to tackle all circuit types from the first race to the last. This means that each team has to compromise on design and setup to optimize the season as a whole which could lead to some races being more difficult (low downforce at Monaco or high downforce at Monza?). This would also level the playing field between the big spenders and the smaller teams. The downside is that whoever does the best job will be accused by F1 fans of being assisted unfairly by the FIA who will be accused of somehow setting the rules to unfairly help that team (doesn’t matter who it is, whoever wins will be accused of being in bed with the FIA). It’s like the engine token rules – completely fair until your team doesn’t win and then suddenly completely unfair.

        1. You list 4 courses that provide variety (20ish% of the tracks on the calendar at the moment). How many tracks on the calendar are indistinguishable from each other in any way that’s meaningful to the designers and engineers?

          Freezing development, freezing testing, equalizing engines, regulating the minutiae on the cars…all of these are contrivances to reduce the rich teams’ advantages at the expense of building the best, fastest cars customized to the driver’s style as perfectly as possible. Why bother watching F1 in that world? What does F1 offer the racing world in that environment that differentiates it from Indycar or GP2?

          I like to imagine that F1 is the place where the world’s best compete at the highest level, not a place where the poor teams’ disadvantages are mitigated in order to produce the illusion of competition. If it’s truly critical that teams like Manor hobble along indefinitely, then I think the proper way to address that is with revenue sharing adjustments, not by dumbing down the sport.

        2. @jerseyf1
          I think this is a great alternative. Four Parc Ferme a year?

    18. F1 must limit horsepower if nothing else if they want to bring fans back into the fold.

      Why waste time watching a team that dominates by such a large margin that it wins all but one race which was only due to the drivers crashing each other out?

      How can a drivers talent be truly measured when he has such an advantage and his only competition is his team mate? Vettel is a perfect example – we now know he isn’t as talented as his time with Red Bull seemed to indicate.

      If Liberty keeps things status quo or thinks silly measures such as multiple restarts will save the sport, F1 will continue its downward spiral and die a slow death. Drastic actions are needed and soon.

    19. You cant bang on about equalising things when you change the rules every season. Stable rules mean convergence. Convergence is equalising. Once converged, drivers can make the difference. Leave the damn rules alone, let the teams converge, then we all get what we want. Except the teams…….

    20. I don’t believe that technical restrictions have ever saved anybody any money or helped to level the playing field.

      Look at what happend in GP2 this year. It’s a spec series but the team with the biggest budget was surpreme.
      Because the less opportunities you have to come up with a creative solution, the more it’s true that “money equalls lap time”.

    21. If I see 4 years of Mercedes dominance and that gap tooth clown winning everything I’m quitting F1.

    22. “The problem is that with the restrictions, we will end up working in very limited areas to make the car competitive.”

      Yes Marichonne, thats exactly why a budget cap WOULD work instead of the nonsensical “cost savings through technical regulations”we have now.

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